We lead the news this week with announcements from both PayPal and Visa which will bring crypto closer to becoming a real payments tool. There are more digital banks launching, Plaid is close to a new round of financing and Affirm is getting into vacation financing. Here are what I consider to be the top 10 most important fintech news stories of the past week.
PayPal launches crypto checkout service from CNBC – The big knock on bitcoin has been that it never caught on as a form of payment. Now, PayPal is allowing its millions of U.S. consumers to use their crypto holdings to pay at any merchant that accepts PayPal.
Visa moves to allow payment settlements using cryptocurrency from Reuters – More good news for crypto enthusiasts as Visa said it will allow the use of cryptocurrency stable coin USD Coin to settle transactions on its network.
Where Goldman, Citi, JPMorgan are putting fintech investment dollars from American Banker – Interesting analysis from Penny Crosman that shows where the big banks are focusing their fintech equity investments.
Plaid Is Said Close to Financing at About $13 Billion Valuation from Bloomberg – We have heard this funding round was coming but there are more details on it now. It will be led by Altimeter Capital and will value Plaid at around $13 billion.
Walgreens to launch digital bank accounts this year from Banking Dive – Another big retailer is getting into digital banking with Walgreens announcing this week they will be launching bank accounts that will be available both online and in store through a partnership with MetaBank.
Laurel Road launches digital bank for doctors from Finextra – Laurel Road, now part of KeyBank, have launched a digital bank targeted at doctors as the verticalization of digital banking continues.
Fintech Uprising Will Define Post-Covid Banking from Bloomberg – The big fintech companies have been growing rapidly during the pandemic with quality mobile-first user experiences leaving banks in catch up mode.
Affirm Teams With Vacation Platform Vrbo from PYMNTS.com – Affirm is bringing its popular buy-now-pay-later model to vacations with a zero-interest financing offer valid for travel plans booked through April 11.
CFPB poised to reinstate tough stance on payday lenders from American Banker – We knew this was coming but even before a new CFPB chief is confirmed we see the acting Director saying they want to revert to the 2017 “ability to repay” rule for small dollar lenders.
2021 Google Search Trends in Digital Banking, Payments & Fintech from The Financial Brand – Fascinating research on trends in Google search. While it is no surprise that the term fintech is growing dramatically as a search term it was interesting that SoFi is the most searched for digital bank (ahead of Chime and Varo).