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Weekly News Roundup: 31/03

Welcome to our weekly news roundup, of headlines which we thought would be beneficial to our readers. We’ll bring you a weekly dose of some of the most interesting titles which have surfaced, with a particular focus on the topics of BNPL, closing bank branches, open banking and beyond.
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This week’s roundup will feature titles on digital currency, investment in stocks and cash protection. Join us and Unlimit BaaS’ Managing Director, Jovi Overo in the exploration of some of the biggest headlines of our industry.

  • Apple has launched its buy now, pay later service, “Apple Pay Later”, in the US. The payment plan allows users to split purchases into four equal payments, for a loan between the value of $50 to $1000. Repayments are spread over six weeks with no interest or fees. [source: Tech Crunch]

Buy now, pay later schemes are a popular choice among consumers, particularly given the cost of living crisis. The ability to pay at ease, with no fees is a favourable choice because it offers consumers autonomy over their spending and more room to manage their funds. The continued question is around the risk of BNPL products and the lack of mediation which results in users falling behind on payments, and thus creating bad credit for themselves. Only time will show how these providers will mitigate these risks. – Jovi

  • The UK’s open banking sector has been coined to ‘sink or swim’ by the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec). Despite having created 4800 jobs and being valued at £4.1 billion, Coadec wrote to the Financial Conduct Authority about concerns over future regulations. [source: Finextra]

Open banking is widely regarded as the future of banking because it brings access and inclusivity to all users who wish to move and manage their money. The interoperability brings convenience of a ‘market’ of banking and financial services, whilst being regulated by the FCA using Payment Services Regulations (PSRs). The concerns are warranted, particularly because of the growing cybercrimes against financial institutions and their users, however the sheer growth and acceptance of open banking is a clear indication of its success. Improved regulations are needed across the board of financial services, in efforts to evolve with changing behaviours. – Jovi

  • Barclays Bank has announced its continuation of closing more branches across the UK. Users will see the closure of 14 more branches, in addition to the 55 which are already set to close in 2023. By the end of year, the bank will have closed 1,029 branches since 2015 [source: This is Money]

In the continuation of brick-and-mortar banks closing, the adaption to creating better customer service through alternative means is key. We have been seeing the creation of financial hubs to offer a neutral space to manage money, and banking pods in areas of high footfall to still accommodate the needs of customers who prefer face-to-face contact. The decreasing demand of physical stores is a concern for some, however it is a testament to the innovations in finance which offer convenience . – Jovi

See you next week, back in the blog for your next weekly news roundup.

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