Briefing

European banks launch cross-border mobile payment system

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Seven providers—including Denmark’s MobilePay, owned by Danske Bank; and Portugal’s SIBS/MB WAY, owned by Portugese interbank network Multibanco—will allow 25 million users to conduct cross-border transactions through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Norway. In the announcement, the newly formed European Mobile Payment System Association (EMSA) said more countries and payment providers are expected to join in the coming months.(The Logic)

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Talking point: This is the first joint effort by traditional European lenders to launch a challenge to fintech firms in the mobile payments sector, an industry projected to reach US$1.47 trillion in Europe by 2025. Banks are also competing with tech giants like Apple, Google and Samsung, all of which have launched their own payment platforms. European fintechs raised US$3.3 billion in the first half of this year—including Stockholm-based Klarna, which reached a US$5.5-billion valuation in August, making it the largest fintech startup in Europe. Fintechs are generally smaller, more agile and technology-driven, but banks around the world are competing by drawing on their massive financial reserves and pouring billions into developing their own technology. Madrid-based Banco Santander alone spent US$5.6 billion on tech investment this year, dwarfing the total figure for VC investment in European fintech.