Fintech enthusiasts, brace yourselves for a recap of the most significant payment stories that unfolded in the dynamic world of financial technology throughout January 2024. From HSBC’s bold entry into the global currency conversion market to Apple’s response to antitrust charges, here’s a roundup of the top five stories you might have missed.

  1. HSBC Launches Zing to Challenge Wise

In a surprising move, HSBC kicked off the new year by introducing its global currency conversion app, Zing, positioning itself as a direct competitor to the popular Wise. Zing comes equipped with an accompanying card and commenced its rollout in the UK, with plans for further expansion worldwide. Notably, Zing gained an early advantage by boasting a fee-free model, a feature that Wise found itself unable to match when renewing its criticism of high street banks later in the month.

  1. Apple Opens Up NFC Payments Amid Antitrust Charges

Responding to antitrust charges from the European Commission dating back to 2022, Apple made a significant concession by opening up its NFC payments for third-party providers. This move aimed to fend off potential billion-dollar fines. However, Apple’s troubles are far from over, as they now face an antitrust class action lawsuit in the US from card issuers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has also taken a stance against Apple’s NFC policy, adding another layer of complexity to the tech giant’s legal battles.

  1. Big Tech Firms Challenge CFPB’s Digital Wallets Regulation

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), representing the interests of major Big Tech firms, pushed back against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed rule. The rule suggested subjecting non-bank financial companies, including Google, Apple, PayPal, and Block (operator of CashApp), to the same regulations as large banks and credit unions. CCIA argued that the proposal lacked clarity in identifying specific risks and merely hinted at potential issues arising from new product offerings.

  1. X (Formerly Twitter) Plans Peer-to-Peer Payments

In an ambitious move, X (formerly Twitter) announced its intention to launch peer-to-peer (P2P) payments in 2024. Elon Musk, owner of the company, had previously expressed his vision for X to manage users’ entire financial lives to the extent that traditional bank accounts would become unnecessary. This announcement signifies X’s strategic expansion into the financial services sector, further diversifying its offerings.

  1. Revolut Introduces Mobile Wallets for Cross-Border Payments

Revolut, known for its innovative fintech solutions, launched its Mobile Wallets service, simplifying cross-border payments. Initially limited to UK and European customers sending money to Bangladesh (via bKash) and Kenya (through M-Pesa), the service is expected to expand further. Mobile Wallets users can send remittances efficiently, using recipient IDs such as names along with phone numbers or email addresses.

In the ever-evolving landscape of fintech, these stories highlight the ongoing competition, regulatory challenges, and strategic innovations shaping the industry as we dive into 2024. Stay tuned for more developments in the fast-paced world of digital payments.