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Railsbank and Paceline Collaborate on First-ever Health and Wellness Credit Card

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Railsbank, a leading global Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Credit Card-as-a-Service (CCaaS) platform, and Paceline, a retail health and wellness platform, are collaborating on the first-ever health and wellness credit card.

This Paceline branded credit card allows users to earn category-based cash back based on both their physical activity as well as what they spend.

Paceline card members will earn elevated cash back on health and wellness transactions, and earning boosts when they achieve the weekly fitness milestone on the core Paceline app.

Paceline has already built a community of health enthusiasts that connect its app to their wearables to track fitness goals. Currently, active users have logged over 4.6 million workouts, totaling 128 million minutes, earning rewards to brands like Amazon, Starbucks, Athleta, Sun Basket, Hyperice, and Echelon. These active Paceline customers will be first in line for this credit card offer.

As Paceline builds its credit card offering, it will be using both the Railsbank CCaaS product launched in Q4 last year and its core finance platform.

Dov Marmor, Railsbank Chief Operating Officer (North America), said: “Paceline wanted a wholly-embedded experience where a credit card could live in the Paceline app and integrate with all its health-related features. Before CCaaS, that just was not a reality.

“CCaaS prebuilt the entire infrastructure needed to launch a credit card fast, taking on the heavy lifting such as banking, credit, payments operations, risk management and compliance. It lets Paceline focus on UX, customer experience and differentiating their brand from anything else on the market.”

Joel Lieginger, Paceline founder and CEO, added: “Physically active customers spend three times more and are five times more profitable to financial services providers. This scenario presents a huge opportunity to lifestyle brands, and drives lower acquisition costs and higher lifetime value for credit cards and insurance, resulting in better societal health overall.

“With the Railsbank CCaaS product, we can build towards our vision and launch the first health and wellness credit card that rewards and incentivizes physical activity with material financial benefit – all in a fraction of the time it would take to build ourselves.”

Paceline recently announced a USD5 million seed investment co-led by Propel Venture Partners and Montage Ventures. Last November, Railsbank raised USD37 million growth funding co-led by MiddleGame Ventures and Ventura Capital.

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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Stripe Launches Stripe Tax To Integrate Sales Tax Calculations

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stripe buys paystack- Investors King

On the heels of acquiring sales tax specialist TaxJar in April, today Stripe is making another big move in the area of tax by launching Stripe Tax to integrate Sales Tax calculations into its service offerings.

The $95 billion payments behemoth is launching a new product called Stripe Tax, which will provide automatic, updated sales tax calculations (covering sales tax, VAT, and GST) and related accounting services to Stripe payments customers initially in some 30 countries and across the U.S.

Stripe Tax is a separate service from TaxJar, but the two are not unconnected: as Stripe Tax was being built out of Stripe’s offices in Dublin over the last several months, Stripe’s business lead for EMEA Matt Henderson told me that the team had identified TaxJar as a strong company in the field and that ultimately led to M&A between them.

Sales tax — and specifically a more seamless way to deal with charging and tracking sales tax — is a painful issue for people doing business online. Digital and physical goods are taxed in over 130 countries, Stripe said, and within that, there can be a huge amount of variation and compliance complexity, since codes get updated all the time, too. Mishandled sales tax, meanwhile, can result in pretty hefty fines, sometimes up to 30 percent interest on past-due amounts.

Unsurprisingly, a sales tax tool has been the most requested feature from Stripe’s customers, Henderson said, a request that presumably only got louder in the last year, as e-commerce and digital transactions went through the roof with Covid-19.

Arguably, that makes Stripe Tax one of the company’s more significant product launches, not to mention the first since announcing its monster funding round earlier this year.

Previously, Stripe customers would have resorted to using a third-party service (like TaxJar) to work out sales tax, or more typically those Stripe customers would have opted to limit the number of places they sold goods and services, in order to minimize the pain of dealing with multiple, complex, and usually quite localized tax codes.

Stripe said that a survey of its customers found that two-thirds of respondents said that the challenge of implementing sales tax actually limited their growth.

TaxJar has built a strong system for handling that, but the company — based out of Massachusetts — is primarily focused on the U.S. market, which has a sales tax that is complicated enough (there are 11,000 different tax jurisdictions in the country).

Stripe Tax, on the other hand, is being built from the ground up as a product aimed specifically at increasing touchpoints and stickiness with Stripe customers specifically.

Stripe Tax provides real-time tax calculation based on customer location and product sold; transparent itemizing for customers; tax ID management in areas (like Europe) where business customers can provide their code and get a reverse charge on tax if they are under a certain turnover threshold themselves; and reconciliation and reporting across all transactions to make filing and remittance easier.

However, Stripe Tax can only be used on the Stripe platform.

This could pose some problems for some customers — these days many of the strongest retailers will take an ‘omnichannel’ approach that might cover selling through marketplaces, selling through websites, selling through social media, and more — and not all of those storefronts might be powered by Stripe. It will be worth watching whether future iterations of Stripe Tax can account for that.

“No one leaps out of bed in the morning excited to deal with taxes,” said John Collison, co-founder and president of Stripe in a statement. “For most businesses, managing tax compliance is a painful distraction. We simplify everything about calculating and collecting sales taxes, VAT, and GST, so our users can focus on building their businesses.”

Stripe’s most significant product launch prior to Stripe Tax — Stripe Treasury — underscores how the company is currently very focused on diversifying outside of their basic payments business and opening the platform too much wider, more scaled transactions. Treasury, which is still in invite-only mode, saw Stripe partner with established banks to provide a business banking service, providing a way for its customers to handle money that they generate from their Stripe-powered businesses.

Stripe Tax will currently be available in 30 countries, here is the full country list where Stripe Tax is launching in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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PayPal’s Payment Volume Jumped by 50% YoY to $285B in Q1 2021, the Number of Transactions Surged to 4.4B

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Paypal - Investors King

The COVID-19 continues driving the digital transformation of the global payments industry, with more people than ever using online payments over cash and credit cards. As one of the first and most significant players in the digital payments landscape, PayPal has also witnessed an impressive growth both in the number of users and the payment volume.

According to data presented by Buy Shares, PayPal’s total payment volume jumped by 50% year-over-year and hit $285bn in the first quarter of 2021.

The Number of Transactions Hit 4.4 Billion in Q1 2021, a 35% Jump in Year

Compared to its biggest rival, Alipay, built on the Alibaba ecosystem with a much larger user base, PayPal operates as a standalone company. Moreover, it scores the Chinese competitor both in terms of worldwide popularity and international acceptance.

Its massive global reach has been driving steady growth even before the COVID-19. However, according to the company itself, the year where the coronavirus pandemic dominated the world was the strongest year in PayPal’s history.

In 2020, PayPal generated $21.5bn in revenue, 21% more than in 2019. The platform’s total payment volume increased significantly. After reaching $190.5bn in the first quarter of 2020, total payment volume jumped to over $277bn in December, a 42% increase in nine months. The positive trend continued in 2021, with PayPal’s payment volume rising to $285bn, the highest figure in the company’s history.

The number of transactions made on the platform also soared in the last year. In 2020, PayPal processed around 15.4 billion payments, 25% than in 2019. In the first quarter of 2021, the online money transfer provider processed 4.4 billion transactions, 35% more than in the same period a year ago.

67 Million People Started Using PayPal in the Last Year

Today, the PayPal platform provides digital commerce and peer-to-peer money transfers in more than 200 markets globally, with millions of people using its services.

Five years ago, PayPal had 184 million users all around the world. Statistics show this number jumped by 65% to 305 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, last year witnessed the highest annual increase in the number of users, growing by 41% YoY to 377 million.

The number of users continued growing in 2021 and hit 392 million in the first quarter of the year, a 67 million increase YoY.

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Mastercard Foundation to Deploy $1.3 Billion in Partnership With Africa CDC to Save Lives and Livelihoods

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MasterCard - Investors King

The Mastercard Foundation has announced that it will deploy $1.3 billion over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent.

The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and strengthen the Africa CDC.

“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “In the process, this initiative will catalyze work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy,” she added.

The African Union’s goal as set out in the African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy is to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population – approximately 750 million people or the entire adult population of the continent – by the end of 2022. To date, less than two percent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose.

The new partnership builds on the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and the global community to expand access to vaccines across Africa. The number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant. The Africa CDC is calling on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet this goal.

“Ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access, and building Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own vaccines, is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC. “This partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa, and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey.”

In 2020, Africa faced its first economic recession in 25 years due to the pandemic. The African Development Bank has warned that COVID-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021. Widespread vaccination is recognized as being critical to the economic recovery of African countries.

The initiative builds on an earlier collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa CDC to expand access to testing kits and enhance surveillance capacity in Africa. Through the Foundation’s support, the Africa CDC’s Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) deployed nearly two million COVID-19 tests and more than 12,000 trained health care workers and rapid responders across Africa. In total, the PACT has enabled over 47 million COVID-19 tests across the continent.

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