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Nigerians, Other Freelancers in Trouble as FCA Freezes Payoneer MasterCard

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Payoneer MasterCard Freezed by Financial Conduct Authority, UK

Payoneer, an online payment service provider for global freelancers, suffered a heavy blow to its service following the decision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom to freeze all the prepaid MasterCard issued by its subsidiary, Wirecard Card Solutions Limited (WCSL) based in the UK.

In a statement issued to Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard users across the world and received by one of its million users in Nigeria on Friday, the online payment service provider said “As you may have seen on the news, Wirecard AG filed for insolvency on Thursday. Your Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard® Card is issued by its subsidiary, Wirecard Card Solutions Limited (WCSL) in the UK.

“Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which regulates WCSL, issued requirements on WCSL, freezing all prepaid card activity for the time being. We believe that cardholder funds are properly safeguarded and that the freeze will be temporary.”

Payoneer explained that pending further action from the FCA Payoneer cardholders will not be able to withdraw funds on their Wirecard issued prepaid MasterCard.

“The FCA has communicated that they have taken these measures with the primary objective of protecting the interests and money of consumers who use Wirecard. Pending further actions from the FCA, you will temporarily be unable to withdraw the funds on your card, nor receive new payments onto your card,” Payoneer stated.

However, funds that were in excess of the maximum balance that can be on a card can be withdrawn via other means like bank transfer as those were held by Payoneer and therefore not affected by the FCA action.

“Any future payments that you receive from marketplaces, platforms and clients will not be affected by the freeze. These funds, and any others already on your virtual currency balance, are available for bank withdrawal.

“We are actively working on other solutions for you and your patience and understanding are highly appreciated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we’ll update you with more information as soon as we have it.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Interswitch is the Most Valuable African Startup

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Interswitch, the leading payment processing company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is Africa’s most valuable start-up at a US$ 1 billion valuation.

Founded in 2002, Interswitch uses switching infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and powered banks’ ATM cards. Presently, the company has over 11,000 ATMs on its network.

In 2010, Helios Investment Partners bought two-thirds of the company and in the following year, Interswitch bought a 60 percent stake in Bankom in Uganda.

Interswitch owns Verve, Nigeria’s most used payment card, and accounted for 18 million of 25 million cards in circulation in Nigeria. The company also owns Quickteller and recently purchased VANSO, a mobile-focused technology provider to banks.

Like Interswitch, Stripe, the company that acquired Nigeria’s Paystack for over US$200 million, is the most valuable startup in the USA at over US$70 billion valuations.

Klarna, Nubank, Paytm and Grab leads in Europe, Latin America, India and Southeast Asia with a valuation of US$10.65 billion, US$10 billion, US$16 billion and US$14 billion, respectively.

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E-commerce Black Friday Sales Estimated to Surge by 40% to 10.2 Billion

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The 2020 holiday shopping season will be unique, as the pandemic shifted consumer behavior from retail stores to online shopping. In response, many retailers moved their services online to not miss out on this year’s profits. Atlas VPN team decided to look into how e-commerce sales are set to perform in the upcoming long weekend.

Researchers predict that the US e-commerce revenue will exceed last year’s earnings by 49.5% on Thanksgiving day, totaling $6.18 billion in revenue. Black Friday is calculated to reach $10.2 billion in sales, exceeding last years numbers by 39.4%

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her tips on how to stay safe when shopping online during the holiday season:

“Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals from unknown sellers, as cybercriminals will also expect to turn a profit during the holiday season, even though they are not selling anything, except maybe a bag full of disappointment.”

 Finally, analysis shows that on the last day of the long and full of special offers Thanksgiving weekend, consumers will go all out to bring record sales for e-commerce businesses, adding up to $12.89 billion.

To look at these five days from a wider perspective, e-commerce companies can expect to earn around 39.72% more than they did last year.

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Alibaba Merchants Sell $40B in First Half Hour of Singles Day 2020, More than 2019 Event Full Sales

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Singles Day 2020 was a roaring success, cementing its position as the world’s biggest shopping holiday. Sales across Alibaba’s platforms during the event totaled $74.1 billion, up from $38 billion in 2019.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, within the first 30 minutes of the event, the gross merchandise volume (GMV) surpassed 2019’s full-event sales, reaching $40.87 billion.

Moreover, instead of live events, Alibaba had 400 company executives and 30 celebrities hosting livestreams. Based on a study by Coresight, the Chinese livestream market is set to rack in sales worth $125 billion in 2020, compared to $63 billion in 2019. The US livestream market is a small fraction of that, valued at $5 billion.

China’s Tech Heavyweights Lose $280 Billion in Market Cap

Alibaba Singles Day 2020 dwarfed other major shopping holidays as has been the trend in previous years.

According to Practical eCommerce, Amazon Prime Day 2020 sales totaled $10.4 billion up from $7.16 billion in 2019. Cyber Monday sales in the US amounted to $7.9 billion in 2020 according to Statista. Black Friday and Thanksgiving added $9.7 billion to the figure to make $17.6 billion for the weekend.

Similarly, in 2018, Singles Day sold $30.8 billion while Prime Day sold $4.19 billion and Thanksgiving weekend got $14.2 billion.

However, the 2020 Singles Day event came in the wake of Ant Group’s suspension of a $37 billion listing. The suspension resulted in a $76 billion drop in Alibaba’s market cap, as the tech giant owns a two-thirds stake in Ant Group. Moreover, China’s regulators released anti-trust draft rules prior to the event, aimed at controlling monopolistic behavior.

Following the release, Alibaba shares plunged by 9.8%, as JD.com shed off 9.2%. Tencent similarly saw a 7.39% drop and Xiaomi fell by 8.18%. For the five companies, there was a combined loss of $280 billion in market capitalization.

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