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News Round-up: UK businesses keen for good EU trading terms, Sweden embarks on digital currency pilot, Metro Bank adds new service to SME offering

Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:

Businesses urge Prime Minister to negotiate good EU trading terms

The business community has welcomed the outcome of the General Election for bringing an end to the political paralysis that undermined business confidence and stifled economic growth. But the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has warned Boris Johnson’s new government that engineering the UK’s departure from the EU by the end of January 2020 will not bring an end to uncertainty. “While the UK is likely to leave the EU at the end of January, the terms of our future relationship with Europe are still to be decided. Securing good trading terms will help businesses and investors regain confidence and boost growth in the UK,” the organisation stated.

Sweden’s central bank to enlist Accenture for e-krona pilot

Riksbank, the Swedish central bank, is set to sign a deal with Accenture to develop a digital currency, dubbed the e-krona. With cash usage dwindling in Sweden, Riksbank began, in 2017, examining the creation of a digital currency that could ensure the general public will have access to a state-guaranteed means of digital payment. The bank now says it is ready to work with Accenture on a year-long pilot project to develop a technical platform with a user interface that enables e-krona payments from cards, mobile phones and wearables.

Metro Bank launches cash delivery services for SMEs

Metro Bank is now accepting registrations for its on-demand cash collection and delivery service for UK SMEs. MCash will operate through the bank’s mobile app, where business customers can log on and select a pick-up/drop-off time from 24 hours to a week in advance. With 4.2 million UK SMEs relying on cash for daily business operations should be well received by the bank’s customer base. Metro Bank’s customers currently make 250,000 trips annually to branches to deposit or withdraw cash, with SMEs depositing more than £360 million. The service will provide a significant productivity boost to SMEs, 46 per cent of which told Metro Bank that depositing cash is not a productive use of time.

Concern about foreign ownership proposals for payment intermediaries in Vietnam

A draft regulation proposed by the State Bank of Vietnam limiting foreign ownership in the payment intermediary service sector to 49 per cent has raised concerns at a Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry event in Hanoi. The draft also includes new policies on the legal synchronisation of cryptocurrencies, managing cross-border payment activities, providing non-account payment services, payment management, perfecting regulations for payment intermediary services, and foreign investment in payment intermediaries. “Foreign investment plays an important role in developing non-cash payments in Vietnam, as it is a risky industry that many domestic firms are not ready for,” said Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Vietnam E-commerce Association.

City of London Group plots £50m capital raise for SME bank

City of London Group, specialists in financing and alternative fund management, is planning a capital raise of up to £50 million early next year to develop its new UK SME bank. Once the bank has secured a licence for its SME bank ‘Recognise’, it is expected to start trading in the second half of next year.

QR code scams rise in China, putting e-payment security in spotlight

A recent spate of scams involving QR codes in China has raised concerns around mobile payment security with calls for the authorities to do more to protect consumers. In Guangdong province, about 90 million yuan ($18.2 million) was reportedly stolen via QR code scams, while in Foshan, a city in the same province, police recently arrested a man on suspicion of stealing 900,000 yuan through QR code frauds. The suspect replaced legitimate codes with fake ones embedded with a virus programmed to steal the personal information of consumers. Scammers have also been profiting from the bike-sharing industry, replacing the original QR codes used to unlock bikeshare bikes with a fake one that enables them to cheat users into transferring their money into the scammers’ bank accounts.

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News Round-up: UK businesses keen for good EU trading terms, Sweden embarks on digital currency pilot, Metro Bank adds new service to SME offering
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