Monthly purchases without interest (MSI)? That they do not become a headache …..

Although cash is still the main form of payment in the main cities of the country – CDMX, Guadalajara and Monterrey, with 57%, another 33% pay with a debit card and 18% use the TDC to cover their expenses, according to a study prepared by Mandarina for PayPal.

The document highlights that payments with credit and debit cards at point of sale or electronic commerce terminals are on the rise – reaching 35.1 million transactions.

In addition, the months without interest motivate 85% the purchase of products that people need, while if they do not need it, the probability of purchase drops to 50%, says the study.

Adolfo Ruiz, director of communication and public relations at Grupo Financiero Ve por Más (BX +), and Agustín Pérez, academic at the Faculty of Business at the Universidad Panamericana and expert in personal finance, shared some recommendations to make the most of MSI and avoid that they become a headache for you and your pocket.

“Before thinking about a purchase of months without interest, The structure of the family budget should be very clear to us. Not only from the point of view of how much I hope to earn, if not how much I have already programmed to spend ”, suggested Agustín Pérez.

“If in your budget for the following month you are not considering that you bring something to months without interest, the issue for your personal finances will become a little heavier,” said Adolfo Ruiz. “In 2018 the issue of months without interest increased almost 100% among cardholders,” he added.

Smart shopping

Words “Months without interest” They are usually irresistible, however, before falling into temptation, it is necessary to take into account some factors to get the most out of this form of payment.

Don’t wait any longer and listen to # CuéntameDeEconomía

“It is a very important opportunity to make yourself a good or a service. By making purchases online and having the option to pay in months without interest, it becomes very attractive to be able to use it ”, commented the specialist of Grupo Financiero Ve por Más (BX +).

Prudent steps must be taken in acquisitions, Do you want it or do you really need it?

The experts consulted also considered take into account the deadline in which you will have to pay for the good or service purchased, make punctual (timely) payments before or on the deadline.

“If you use credit to your advantage, it is a very powerful tool that will help you meet your financial goals, in addition, responsible credit management will also give you a very good credit history that opens up other possibilities within the financial sector. ”Recalled the BX + manager.

Although 63% of those surveyed said they are concerned about having multiple monthly payments without interest, 62% said they use this tool for heavy or unplanned expenses; 57% consider it smart to use MSIs, details the survey announced by PayPal.

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Media: PayPal and Venmo will add support for cryptocurrencies

PayPal and its mobile payment service Venmo gives users the option to purchase/sale of cryptocurrency in the next three months, according to CoinDesk, citing informed sources.

One of the interlocutors of the publication pointed out that integrated functionality will allow you to buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies. He expects PayPal will provide liquidity through cooperation with bitcoin exchanges.

Potential partners can make Coinbase and Bitstamp. Users first in the United States and the EU can withdraw funds to the PayPal account. Coinbase and PayPal have also entered Libra Association before the release of the payment system from its structure. Then, company management emphasized that it is better to direct resources to their own development, to make Finance more accessible.

Another source waiting to start in the next three months, though it’s unclear how many cryptocurrencies will support services.

The user base of PayPal and Venmo exceeds 325 million people.

We will remind, in January of 2018, the head of PayPal, Dan Schulman, said that the bitcoin is not an effective way of transmitting values. Then he was complementary about blockchain technology.

In may 2019 PayPal CFO John Rainey confirmed that the company is studying the blockchain and cryptocurrency, but believes that “bitcoin is still way too early.”

In March this year, PayPal’s CTO Sri Sivananda emphasized that for the success of cryptocurrency people should clearly understand their benefits. For the client, he said, will be followed by the business.

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The end of the special stage is postponed again

Munich / Frankfurt The completion of the special audit at Wirecard shifts again. “Wirecard AG was recently informed by the auditing firm KPMG that KPMG will present the results of the ongoing special investigation on Monday, April 27, 2020,” the group said on Wednesday evening.

“In the remaining days, incoming data should be processed and taken into account,” is the official reason for the postponement. From an investor’s perspective, it was particularly important: “No evidence was found for the publicly alleged manipulation of the balance sheet,” the group continued.

Specifically, in the four business areas covered by the audit order, third-party partner business, pre-financing of receivables and the activities in India and Singapore, “there have been no substantial findings that would have required correction for the annual financial statements in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 investigation period.”

KPMG has been checking the balance sheets of the payment service provider from Aschheim near Munich since October 2019. This was preceded by a year-long debate on Wirecard’s business practices. For the final report now announced for Monday, Wirecard again promises to make it available on the homepage.

Serious allegations

Numerous serious allegations prompted the special audit. Since January 2019, the British business newspaper Financial Times (FT) has published a series of articles on opaque contracts and dubious partners of the group. Above all, the inconsistencies in the important Asian business raised bad suspicions: Has Wirecard manipulated its balance sheet?

After the pressure had risen for months, Wirecard attempted the exemption in October – and commissioned KPMG’s auditors to carry out a special audit of the balance sheets from 2016 to 2018. Today’s postponement represents the second extension of the audit period.

The group had already presented a partial report of the test results at a late hour on March 12. At that time, however, the auditors only achieved partial information about the accounting methods at Wirecard.

They only brought light into three of the four sub-areas examined. The auditors made initial relief statements on two company acquisitions in India in 2015, on financial irregularities at the Asian headquarters in Singapore and on the area of ​​pre-financing of receivables, also known as “Merchant Cash Advance” (MCA). The group defines MCA as loans to small retailers who use the Wirecard platform for their payment transactions.

“From today’s perspective, these parts of the special investigation did not result in any substantive findings in these investigation areas, which would lead to the need for correction for the annual financial statements in the investigation period 2016, 2017 and 2018”, Wirecard had announced in March.

Problematic third parties

At that time, the auditors did not allow themselves to make any statements regarding the particularly important fourth point: the controversial third-party business – i.e. the question of which parts of Wirecard’s sales were generated with the help of external companies.

In October, the FT had posted clear doubts about cash flows via partners in Dubai and Ireland in a ten-page article. The report was enriched by internal and external documents. The focus was on Wirecard’s partner Al Alam from Dubai. This is a so-called “third party acquirer”, which handles the payment transactions in countries where Wirecard does not have its own licenses.

The essence of the allegations: According to FT, Al Alam should have generated around half of its consolidated earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation in 2016. According to the newspaper, the company from Dubai was responsible for sales of EUR 265 million and an “Ebitda effect” of EUR 173 million, according to internal documents.

According to the FT, the business of 34 key Wirecard customers was processed through Al Alam in 2016. They came from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Japan.

As a result, the newspaper said it had tried to contact all of these business partners. Accordingly, 15 of them had never heard of the Al Alam name, six did not answer, five could not be identified, and eight of them had already stopped doing business.

Wirecard boss Markus Braun had always denied all these allegations. Now he should feel confirmed by the statement approved by KPMG that no “evidence of balance sheet manipulation” was found in the third-party business either. The mood in the group is good, reports a Wirecard manager. But KPMG wanted to be very precise.

Time-consuming examination

The special test was carried out with great effort. In the meantime, around 40 auditors rummaged through the balance sheets. These had already been approved by the long-standing group auditor EY, whose care, however, was in doubt. The audit is tricky for KPMG: Society knows that its reputation is now at stake.

Today’s “Day X” was planned for Wednesday, the moment of truth. Management hoped to finally draw a line under the accusations of the past with the publication of the test report. The fact that the publication is now postponed a second time shortly before the end after half a year of the exam shows how high the stakes are – and how far the Dax-Newcomer Wirecard is still far from the standard of other large corporations.

Why the relocation? According to insiders, KPMG also checked incoming numbers from third parties earlier this week. Wirecard now officially justifies the extension. According to groups of companies, the data with a probability bordering on certainty did not contain any greater risk for the balance sheet – nevertheless, they are not irrelevant and must be checked by KPMG.

Apparently, it is not only late-arrival data sets that cause problems. According to insiders, Wirecard is also struggling with KPMG to clarify the wording of the test report. There is relief in the most important – on the balance sheet – points, such as the allegation of so-called roundtripping, the invention of sales. Nevertheless, the auditors had made numerous negative findings, for example regarding compliance and internal processes.

Now the question is how serious the corresponding complaints in the test report were. The KPMG auditors formulated significantly more negative than expected, it is said from corporate circles. The corresponding talks continued.

Change in the supervisory board

Wirecard’s new Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Thomas Eichelmann, oversees the review. According to two people familiar with the matter, there is a change on his committee. The previous supervisory board member Susana Quintana-Plaza is promoted to the operational board of the Portuguese oil and gas group Galp Energia and leaves the Wirecard committee at the request of the Galp owner family.

The successor is apparently already certain: A “very well-known personality” should therefore take the place of Quintana-Plaza and strengthen the competence in the control committee. First, the “Wirtschaftswoche” reported on the possible exit. This should not be related to the special test.

With the coming Monday there is now a new end date for the KPMG audit. However, a third extension of the review period is hardly possible: Wirecard plans to publish its 2019 annual balance sheet on April 30. And the group auditor EY apparently does not want to test this without the final KPMG assessment for the special audit.

The payment processor can no longer afford to make mistakes. The KPMG report is sure to attract the keen attention of investors, analysts and regulators. According to insiders, he is also being studied closely by the financial regulator Bafin.

More: Alleged balance sheet fraud, dubious partner: Wirecard has been at the center of criticism for over a year.

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Criticism of the Libra restart is growing

Frankfurt / Denver It was a nice plan. The Libra Association wanted to go into spring with a new, modified concept paper. “Our mission is a simple global payment system that supports billions of people”, in short: building a “more inclusive and innovative financial world”. That was the announcement a few days ago. The Internet giant should do this by the end of 2020 Facebook start the initiated project.

Global, innovative and for the benefit of mankind: Libra’s new concept paper, the “Whitepaper 2.0”, is bristling with pathos in the best Silicon Valley manner. And yet it represents a kind of peace offer by the Libra partners, along with Facebook includes the travel agent Over and the streaming service Spotify to. The pledge is that your planned private currency will be created on the basis of a “collaborative dialogue” with all relevant actors.

The message has been heard around the world. Alone, the recording could have been more cordial. Despite all the modifications, US observers fear “a parallel world to the existing financial service providers”. German politicians warn of a “powerful shadow bank” under Facebook curate. And the advance is also viewed critically by scientists.

The question of whether the Libra launch will succeed on the second attempt or whether global resistance will finally bring the project down is completely open. It is even possible that the partners have made new enemies with the latest modifications. However, giving up is not an option for Facebook. The competition is already in the starting blocks.

Libra board praises new approach

“We still have work to do. But we are in a much better position than last year, ”explains the Libra Association’s operational board, Bertrand Perez, in an interview with the Handelsblatt. “We now have a strong answer to many questions and concerns of the supervisors.” And indeed: The makers have approached their critics, at least in part.

Prevention of abuse has been strengthened. “The Libra network will work better than the traditional financial system” in preventing money laundering, terrorist financing or hacking, Perez promises. For this, the network based on the decentralized blockchain database technology will start as a closed system. Further actors are only to be added later.

“We don’t reinvent the wheel for its own sake,” said Perez. “Our goal is to simplify global transactions. Access to the Internet is a basic raw material for everyone today. It is not yet to receive and send money. We’re working on it.”

Above all, one change is to make Libra’s approval by the supervisors easier: The controversial basket of collateral, which was supposed to form the basis for the Libra coin, has been deleted.

Instead, national currencies should now be digitized step by step in a one-to-one ratio. “In addition to the Libra coin, which is based on a basket of currencies and government bonds, we want to offer stable-value coins for individual currencies,” explains Perez, “for example a Libra euro or Libra dollar.”

Libra is no longer a risk to state sovereignty. “We don’t create new currencies,” says Perez. “Behind every Libra dollar that circulates is a real dollar as security.” Perez does not want to say goodbye entirely to the idea of ​​the art coin based on a currency basket: Such a “multi-currency coin” could allow transfers to those countries, in which Libra has not yet digitized the national currency.

The Libra Association, based in Geneva, has already submitted its first application for state approval – to the Swiss financial regulator Finma. It wants to analyze the application openly and emphasizes that it is in close contact with more than 20 supervisory authorities and national banks worldwide. The calculators could do the trick: Libra would start flexibly where there is little political resistance – without immediately spoiling a large number of states.

Criticism from the USA and Germany

It is rather unlikely that the Libra dollar will start. Again, there is loud criticism of the project from the USA: “There are still too many questions unanswered why Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency and how it will influence the global economy and consumers,” said the democratic financial expert in the House of Representatives, Sylvia Garcia.

In an open letter to the parliament, the Americans for Financial Reform think tank called for stricter laws for payment services that operate outside of the regulated big banks. Otherwise Facebook could build “a parallel world to the existing financial service providers”.

As part of the Libra Association, the group would build the infrastructure on the one hand, and on the other hand store the coins in digital wallets – and thus get too much power with its more than two billion users. The example of Tencent from China has shown how much influence companies have on pricing that connect payment services with social networks.

Criticism is also growing in Germany. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) told the Handelsblatt: “We will not allow a private global currency. The currency monopoly must remain in the hands of the states. ”

Scholz is currently examining the extent to which the new Libra plan takes into account the previous concerns of the EU states, which they had formulated in a joint declaration on December 5. According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, the assessment also depends on the specific design of the business model. This leaves the new concept paper open.

Gerhard Schick, head of the citizens’ movement Finanzwende, warns that some have declared Libra dead too soon. “Anyone who knows Facebook knows that this company won’t let up on something like that so quickly,” believes Schick.

“If Libra prevails, this will go hand in hand with an increase in data and power for Facebook, although the company is already too powerful today. In our view, central problems remain, which is why we continue to reject the project. ”

Thomas Heilmann, blockchain expert of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group and one of the fathers of the blockchain strategy of the grand coalition, fears a monopolization of digital money and thus a threat to financial stability – for example, if Libra also prevails as a technical standard for stablecoins that are deposited with national currencies.

However, Heilmann does not believe “that we can prevent private stablecoins such as Facebook’s Libra in the long run.” If necessary, the group would simply buy a European bank and meet all requirements.

Danyal Bayaz, financial expert of the Greens parliamentary group, is particularly disturbed by the unclear data protection in the new Libra concept. The makers have responded to some criticism: “However, this does not clear up the core criticism. Nobody can guarantee that Facebook will not use Libra’s data after all, ”said Bayaz. The state’s monopoly on money creation would also continue to be questioned.

The private banking association BdB is afraid of overpowering competition: “If the new proposals were implemented, the balance of power among payment service providers in Europe could shift massively,” he said. “Europe and Germany must not continue to depend on American or Chinese providers for digital payment systems for their economy.”

Better technology, problematic regulation

The question of the consequences for “digital sovereignty” is not new. US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin had already described Libra as a threat to national security in 2019. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg had to swear under oath that one would only start after the green light of the regulators in the USA and other countries.

The question of why Facebook and its partners need their own digital currency is still open. Critics refer to the example Paypal. The US group has been processing virtual payments based on real currencies since 1998. Is not this enough?

Libra board member and ex-Paypal manager Perez explains that the blockchain is a more modern technology than the financial industry systems, some of which are 50 years old. That makes transactions faster and cheaper.

Perez admits that fees may also apply to Libra: “It depends on the conditions of the banks.” Transactions from one digital wallet to the other are free.

To satisfy regulators around the world, Libra apparently relies on the well-networked Swiss authority Finma. It is now up to this to gather all relevant authorities behind.

“Finma is one of the most renowned regulators. It is open to bringing others to the table, which will help wider acceptance of Libra, ”says Perez. You are currently clarifying whether you also need an EU license.

Volker Brühl, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Studies at Frankfurt University in Frankfurt, studied the new Libra concept. “Facebook and its partners have made every effort to address compliance, customer identification and anti-money laundering issues,” he concludes.

But that doesn’t make the project unproblematic. “There is also a risk that Libra will affect the effectiveness of central bank monetary policy measures,” warns Brühl. The additional introduction of stable-value coins based on dollars or euros does not solve the problem either.

The professor believes that the changed Libra concept brings a new dynamic to the discussion about digital central bank money in the euro zone: “The ECB has to position itself clearly here.” Bring offensive and defend the state monopoly on money.

E-euro as a public alternative

Federal Finance Minister Scholz is also putting pressure on this issue. “It is important that the euro zone becomes quickly competitive with digital payment methods. We have to take seriously the new Libra plans and China’s announcement to try digital central bank money, ”he says. Scholz relies on “innovative European responses to these initiatives.” A strong and sovereign Europe must be able to act independently here.

The CDU / CSU parliamentary group is already demanding a digital euro. And the green finance expert Bayaz wants to forestall Libra: on this basis, “private providers could then process payment services”. According to CDU politician Heilmann, the e-euro could be issued by the commercial banks. The left-wing finance expert Fabio De Masi even calls for direct “citizen accounts” with the ECB.

This is the only way from the point of view of Libra critics to prevent US corporations like Facebook or Chinese providers like Ali Pay from becoming powerful “shadow banks”. Because more players are in the starting blocks. So tinker about Amazon according to insiders for years on their own crypto plans. The online giant has already secured the address amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Beijing is also driving the development of a national digital currency. The first practical tests for the “E-Yuan” are running.

The Europeans are slower on the road, but also have the issue on the screen. The Bundesbank has been researching blockchain technology and its limitations for years. And the ECB recently put together its own team that is working on ideas for an e-euro.

Whatever solution wins the race: Facebook and Co. don’t want to be put off by it. The partners are also prepared for state digital currencies: According to Perez, the new Libra version should be sufficiently flexible.

“You have to understand that we primarily offer a payment network. If the ECB provided an e-euro, we could simply integrate it into our network. ”In this case, the association would not have to hold any reserves. “That would even simplify our project,” says Perez.

More: Facebook is responding to criticism with a new Libra concept, experts fear the rise to the “powerful shadow bank”.

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Wirecard & Co. defy the corona crisis

Frankfurt It was a message that caught the eye: the payment service provider informed at the end of February Wirecard About the possible effects of the corona crisis for the group: “Wirecard does not assume that the consequences of the virus will have a lasting negative impact on the financial infrastructure services or internal processes,” it said at the time. The planned result for the first quarter remains constant, as does the profit forecast for 2020.

And that despite the fact that the coronavirus in Asia, Wirecard’s most important market, was already on the advance. In China, the number of new infections was just under 2,000 a day. There were also first cases in Germany. Wirecard remained optimistic in the years that followed. On March 18, the group confirmed its forecast: the quarterly planning had been checked again. “The statements made on February 27, 2020 continue to apply.”

With such confident tones, Wirecard is one of the very few exceptions in the business world. For economists, one thing is clear: the global recession is imminent. Big US analysts Morgan Stanley expect a slump in European economic growth of just under five percent in the first quarter and almost ten percent in the second.

And many German companies already see their existence threatened by the corona crisis: Almost 20 percent of the companies fear bankruptcy, according to a survey by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 80 percent anticipate a drop in sales in 2020, many of them with a crash.

In view of such forecasts, other payment service providers are not as hopeful as Wirecard. And yet the industry as a whole is likely to get through the crisis much better than many other sectors of the real economy. After all, well-positioned companies earn money on every payment – whether for luxury items or for respirators. At the moment, this applies all the more if payment service providers are strongly represented in the processing of payments for online shopping. Within the industry, the crisis could lead to a significant shift in market shares.

Beware of Adyen and Paypal

If you ask the industry about the effects of the corona crisis, Wirecard is by far the most optimistic. The most important European competitor, Adyen from Amsterdam, is much more cautious. The Dutch fear the economic pandemic will have a significant economic impact.

Consumers could change their behavior in the face of the difficult economic situation, the company said last Tuesday with the publication of the annual report for 2019. This would ultimately reduce volume and transaction numbers on Adyen’s platform. “It is currently too early to say what effects the corona crisis will have on our business,” added Adyen.

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The US payment service provider Paypal is also cautious. It had already dampened sales expectations for the first quarter at the end of February. However, he does not comment on the recent development of volumes. “The implications of the corona crisis for online trading and thus also for online payment in the next few weeks are difficult to predict due to the daily changing situation,” explains PayPal.

In this country, the US service has far more users than its domestic competitors Paydirekt and Giropay, but it does not want to comment on the development on the German market. Paydirekt, the online payment service of German banks, recognizes that there is a significant shift in transactions between different industries on request. And it is precisely this topic that is likely to become important for the sector.

The corona crisis in the industry could possibly lead to a split in two: on the one hand there would be the companies that primarily process payments at the checkout. You can expect a sharp decline in transactions: most of the shops are closed, so it shouldn’t help the payment service providers that more and more consumers in supermarkets and drugstores pay digitally with cards. On the other hand, there are the service providers who focus on payment processing in online shopping. This is considered a growth segment – even before the corona crisis and now even more so. Adyen, Paypal and Wirecard could benefit from this.

E-commerce growth

In any case, Wirecard sees itself as the winner of the crisis. The broad basis in e-commerce is currently helping, the company explains. “Products that people used to buy in stores, such as groceries or drugstore items, are increasingly being ordered online in times of crisis,” says Georg von Waldenfels, Head of Corporate Development. And precisely in the growing e-commerce, Wirecard is well positioned: around 85 percent of the transaction volume was based on the online sector and around 15 percent on the retail sector.

Ralf Gladis, co-managing director of the payment service provider Computop from Bamberg, says: “Since a large part of the demand goes to the Internet for weeks or months due to curfews, great growth can be expected in online payment.” Computop is a so-called payment service Provider (PSP) and as an IT service provider provides various payment methods, including credit card, PayPal and purchase on account, for online shops. Adyen and Wirecard are both payment processors and PSPs.

The “significant growth in demand in e-commerce” registered by Computop is also recorded by other online payment services. You are currently processing more payments than before the corona crisis. Giropay, alongside Paydirekt, a joint venture between German banks, is currently seeing an increase in transactions of more than 15 percent compared to the end of February, as managing director Joerg Schwitalla says.

Schwitalla registers significant growth, for example with delivery services, drugstores and pharmacies. “And the online gaming industry is also growing because people are suddenly spending more time at home and looking for work.”

Wirecard also emphasizes these shifts. “Consumer behavior is changing rapidly in the crisis, not only in Europe but also in Asia,” says von Waldenfels. “We are currently seeing enormous growth rates in the food, consumer goods and digital goods sectors such as streaming, work platforms, video conferencing systems and entertainment, such as online games.” These areas accounted for around 30 percent of the volume processed. And business is stable in the other segments.

Because of the change mentioned, Wirecard is also sticking to its 2020 targets: the shifts compensated for the declines in other areas. Above all, it means the travel business. This is a problem child for many payment service providers – after all, tourism was particularly important in e-commerce at an early stage.

Decline in travel and retail

Giropay currently sees “falling transaction numbers in the travel industry”. Computop also speaks of slumps in products or services that are difficult to sell due to the crisis, “for example travel and hotel bookings”.

Wirecard has emphasized the travel segment as an important pillar in the past, now the group is experiencing a “sharp decline” in business with airlines and tour operators. “If the airlines’ planes stay on the ground, the payment flows will also be cut off,” explains von Waldenfels. “The retail business with lifestyle and luxury goods” is also declining sharply. Together with the Travel division, this business accounts for around 20 percent of the transaction volume processed.

When travel and retail collapse so much: where does the optimism come from in Aschheim? One reason: Wirecard hopes that the current technical changes will pay off in the long term. Even in times of crisis, people would have to eat, make phone calls, consume and pay, emphasized by Waldenfels. And virus prevention of all things is now reinforcing a trend: that of cashless payment.

“The topic of digital, contactless and mobile payments is currently experiencing a major upswing,” says the manager. Even taxi drivers, known for their love of cash, asked for the credit card because banknotes could be virus-infected. Smartphone payment is welcomed in many stores. For Wirecard this is always positive: “Customers who have switched once will change little about their buying behavior even after the crisis”, von Waldenfels believes.

Martina Weimert, partner of the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, also says: “We assume that even after the crisis, many consumers will pay by card or smartphone and want as little cash as possible.”

Wirecard does not provide current figures on the increase in cashless transactions. However, data from the German credit industry (DK) reflect the general trend: According to the umbrella organization, domestic bank customers are increasingly using the option of contactless payment in the corona crisis. In the past few days, more than half of all Girocard payments were made in this way, the DK said, in December the share was still 35 percent.

Permanent recession as the greatest danger

As gratifying as the rise in cashless payments for digital payment companies is, the virus and its fight remain the central challenge for 2020. The number of cashless transactions in the open stores is increasing. However, there is a strict shutdown in many countries around the world, including the major economies in Europe and North America. Most of the time, only pharmacies, supermarkets and drugstores can remain open, as a result of which transactions in retail have dropped sharply.

This is a problem for all major payment service providers. Even if the online trade is growing – the retail trade is still too big a revenue generator. And the worst-case scenario has not yet been priced into the share prices: If the global economy stumbles into a long-lasting, deep recession due to the virus crisis, many payment service providers could also be affected.

And there are still further challenges, as consultant Weimert says: “On the one hand, there are more attempts to defraud in view of the stronger e-commerce business. On the other hand, there are a lot of chargebacks, for example because consumers do not travel. It will now show how well individual payment service providers are prepared for this. ”

Only one company maintains its unwavering optimism: Wirecard. “If the global economy stumbled into a sustained recession due to the virus crisis, the Wire‧card would hit less,” announced von Waldenfels. The financial crisis from 2008 had already shown that trends such as digitization continued even in a weak economic environment.

“Even if people may not make large investments, they use online offers for their daily lives. And even if you can’t book a long trip, hopefully a weekend city break again soon, ”says the manager. There are also brighter signals coming from the emerging countries, and “here we are strongly represented, which distinguishes us from other payment service providers focused on Europe”.

More: Why there were so many takeovers among payment service providers – and share prices shot up until the corona crisis.

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More contactless payments in corona crisis

N26

The bank sees a change in payment behavior among its customers due to the corona crisis.


(Photo: Reuters)

Berlin The fear of being infected with the corona virus apparently makes Germans refrain from cash. “In the meantime, 75 percent of all payments are made contactless, compared to less than 50 percent previously,” said Germany boss of smartphone bank N26, Georg Hauer, the Reuters news agency on Thursday.

The contactless payment with card, cell phone or Paypal be “significantly more hygienic”. The Berlin-based company notes that there were five million customers in 26 countries at the beginning of the year: “Much less money is spent on travel or in restaurants, but more in supermarkets or streaming services. The bottom line, however, is that people are currently a little less willing to consume. “

As a pure internet bank, N26 does not have any branches, but is still experiencing the effects of contact closures in many European countries. “At the moment, the number of new customers is not increasing as much as usual,” said Hauer. In the long term, however, he expects a countermovement.

N26 last fetched $ 170 million in July. The fresh money came from the same investors who also participated in a financing round in January – including the insurance group alliance, the Singapore State Fund, the Chinese internet giant Tencent and the German-American investor Peter Thiel. It is valued at $ 3.5 billion for the N26.

More: In the corona crisis, consumers are increasingly paying by card.

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The competition center focuses on dubious offers for Corona

Frankfurt The competition center warns of misleading advertising for health products that promise consumers protection against the corona virus. “In the past few days and weeks, we have unfortunately seen some providers who are advertising the corona crisis and are clearly violating applicable law,” said Reiner Münker, executive board member of the authority, on Thursday in the course of the publication of the annual report.

With full-bodied statements such as “Corona infection: How we can protect ourselves with medicinal mushrooms!”, “Lozenges against viruses” and “Proven practical tips and remedies for viruses that also work” would deliberately mislead consumers and exploit their insecurity, according to Competition authority in Bad Homburg. However, strict rules apply to health and food. Disease-related statements are prohibited in the advertising of food.

Even if the corona pandemic is currently in focus, the competition center acts as a self-regulatory body for the economy in many other cases against unfair competition – and thus also contributes to a high level of consumer protection in Germany.

This week, however, she announced that in view of the massive cuts for companies due to the corona crisis, she is currently pursuing legal violations in competition with a sense of proportion and will only issue warnings if necessary.

Reduced number of cases regarding right of cancellation and instruction

In 2019, the competition center, which is supported by companies as well as chambers and business associations, received almost 10,000 inquiries and complaints. In almost 2,200 cases, it intervened with formal prohibition proceedings against violations of competition. Over 500 disputes were pending in court.

Around half of the cases dealt with by the authority concerned misleading or non-transparent advertising and breaches of information requirements. The competition center criticized misleading advertising for companies from many industries – such as furniture retailers, telecommunications and the energy and utilities industries.

It is positive for consumers, however, that the number of cases regarding questions about information about the right of cancellation or the cancellation policy for contract conclusions would have been reduced. The competition center sees one reason in the fact that legal questions had previously been clarified in model proceedings.

In addition, more than a third of the cases dealt with were violations of market behavior rules. Among other things, these were prohibited advertising measures in the area of ​​advertising for medicinal products.

A legal proceeding that the competition center initiated in autumn 2019, for example, deals with advertising for “sick leave without a doctor’s visit”. At the start-up AU-schein.de, consumers can order a certificate of incapacity for work online without first having had contact with a doctor. The institution sees this as a violation of the ban on distance treatment.

Violations of SEPA regulation

In addition, there were violations of the SEPA regulation and cases of inadmissible payment fees. According to the SEPA regulation, companies that offer and use direct debits to collect debts must enable their customers to have debits from all member states of the European Union.

However, according to the competition center, there are always complaints from consumers against providers of public transport services. According to the second EU Payment Services Directive PSD2, merchants are not allowed to charge additional fees from customers who use the usual payment options.

In a legal dispute with the transport company Flix Mobility, which the competition center now wants to be clarified by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), clarity is to be created as to whether this also applies to the payment methods Sofortüberweisung and Paypal applies.

In addition, last year the authority brought proceedings against various companies from a wide variety of industries to the BGH or the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which will also provide consumers with more legal certainty in the future.

Among other things, the BGH judgments had received a lot of public attention, according to which pharmacies were not allowed to give customers a bread voucher or a one-euro voucher when redeeming a prescription for prescription-only medicines. The advertisements violate price fixing obligations.

With material from dpa.

More: What the failure of major events already costs insurers

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Musk is now producing ventilators instead of electric cars

New York, Berlin Tesla-CEO Elon Musk is always good for surprises. He shows it now: “The coronavirus panic is stupid,” wrote the 48-year-old on March 6th. While California’s companies closed the doors, Musk defiantly continued to produce.

Just two weeks later, he changed his mind. Now he is profiling himself as the savior of the hour. He has 1255 ResMed ventilators, Philips and Medtronic bought in China and shipped to Los Angeles. Now he offers them to the hospitals.

“If you want to get a free ventilator installed, let me know,” Musk tweets. He has also donated 250,000 respirators from his factories to hospitals.

The entrepreneur teases with his ideas, he is used to that. With its startups Zip2 and Paypal he messed up the phone book manufacturers and the banks, with Tesla he made the car industry uneasy. With SpaceX, he demonstrated the NASA.

The South African-born Musk, who studied engineering in Canada, attributes his success to Aristotle’s “First Principles”. It is about getting to the bottom of problems and rejecting solutions that others simply copy.

But these days he behaves exactly like this: he copies the behavior of others. And that even though he tweeted a week ago, panic would “do more damage than the virus”.

Cries for help from all over America

In the meantime, Musk – like the bosses of the major US auto companies – has stopped production at its main plant in Freemont. Similar to GM-Chefin Mary Barra and Ford boss Jim Hackett has now also offered to manufacture ventilators: “They are not difficult, but they cannot be produced immediately,” Musk explains on Twitter and asks which clinics need the devices most.

The reason for his change of heart was the widespread criticism and the calls for help online. Doctors like Dr. Little from Florida asked on Twitter “Switch off Elon”.

The Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, pleaded with Musk on Twitter: “@elonmjusk New York City is shopping! Our country is facing a drastic shortage and we need ventilators as soon as possible – we will need thousands. We try to get it as soon as possible, but we can use your help! ”

In Germany, many are wondering what the corona crisis means for the new Tesla plant in Grünheide in Brandenburg, where Tesla plans to build half a million electric vehicles a year from next year.

Brandenburg’s Ministry of Economics does not believe that the planned factory is at risk. “We are still very optimistic,” a ministry spokeswoman told the Handelsblatt. In addition, there are “no negative signals from Tesla”.

According to the spokeswoman, despite the restrictions resulting from the crisis, work is currently underway on the Tesla site. The fact that a public hearing of 373 objections to the project has recently been postponed indefinitely due to the corona pandemic does not represent a real hurdle. “The objections and statements are currently being processed by the licensing authority,” a spokeswoman for the State Environment Ministry said on request.

A building permit can only be issued at the end of the environmental approval process. However, Tesla can start construction at its own risk before issuing a permit and would have to restore the old state if the green light fails to appear.

Will Musk personally lay the foundation stone? He leaves this question unanswered for the time being because he knows that it is the pandemic that is currently dictating the schedule. In the coming weeks, electric cars will take a back seat in Musk’s life – ventilators and respirators will become important.

More: GM, Ford and Tesla are checking to see if they produce medical devices. German corporations are not that far yet. But there are unconventional Corona aids.

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Mixed fund: Flossbach buys shares, skeptics wait

After the price drops, well-known strategists like Bert Flossbach see an opportunity for cheap share purchases. However, some experts remain cautious. .

Facebook, Paypal, Microsoft and Dropbox, the main websites supplanted during 2019 | Innovation

Cyber ​​attacks skyrocketed in 2019. Threats from phishing grew 640% during 2019 compared to the previous year’s figures while the malware targeting the Windows 7 operating system increased 125%, according to the Webroot 2020 Cyber ​​Threat Report by Opentext. The attacks of phishing They are those in which cybercriminals pose as a trusted company or person to collect confidential information from a user. According to the report, the main websites supplanted by cyber criminals with phishing techniques are Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google, PayPal and Dropbox.

The countries that had the highest risk of these attacks in 2019 were the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa and Singapore, according to the document. “The most exposed countries are the most technological, just as the countries that provide services worldwide are the most greedy for hackers”Says Iván Martínez, professor in the software engineering and artificial intelligence department from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). However, experts do not explain the growth of attacks in less developed countries (except for reasons of industrial espionage).

Cryptocurrency exchange pages are the most impersonated, followed by games, email, financial institutions, and payment services. Experts have noted an increase in cryptojacking. This English term refers to the theft of cryptocurrencies as bitcoin. Because they are stored in a digital folder, the attacker can impersonate the page where they are collected. Although it is much more complex, in the end it works as if it were an account number or a virtual wallet that can be stolen ”, explains José Luis Vázquez, professor of the computer department and automatic of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

The report details that 8.9 million URLs in 2019 contained a script (that is, a document with instructions in programming codes) by which cryptocurrencies are stolen or generated. “Anyone can be the target of these attacks, even if they do not have these types of coins or are not related to that world,” adds Vázquez.

Cryptocurrencies are created or discovered using a technique called cryptocurrency mining. “This requires an intensive use of computing resources and cyber criminals, instead of investing money, dedicate themselves to infecting computers so that they work for them. In short, without realizing it, a company pays the bill and they keep the profits, “explains Eusebio Nieva, CheckPoint technical director for Spain and Portugal.

Exploits

The IP addresses associated with exploits Windows grew 360% in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to the report. “They are attacks that are identified with specific IP addresses. When the cybercriminal wants to control a computer, he first registers the domain and connects through it. That is to say, exploit are the set of commands needed to change a computer to administrator mode “, adds Nieva.

The report indicates that 93.6% of malware It is exclusive to a single computer and it is the highest rate ever observed. The malware It is a software that tries to do some type of damage. “Among them are the more than well-known viruses, worms (which do not have a permanent effect on the computer), Trojans (which claim to control a remote machine without the legitimate user being aware of it) and ransomware like the well-known Wannacry that hijacked the data from the computers, “explains José Luis Vázquez, professor in the computer and automatic department from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). Experts assure that, to combat them, the first thing is to identify the type of threat. “Many times it is necessary to carry out containment measures because it is impossible to eradicate the malware although it is possible to isolate it in one or more equipment to prevent it from spreading, ”adds Vázquez.

Additionally, personal computers are the devices most likely to get infected, with almost twice the risk as business computers. The study reveals that, of the infected personal devices, more than 35% were seen in this situation more than three times and about 10% were infected six or more times. “The report’s findings underscore that both companies and users of any type and size must not only protect their data, but also protect themselves against future attacks,” says Jorge Martínez, regional director of OpenText in Spain.

What is cyber resilience?

Cyber ​​resilience is the ability to adapt to different cyber threats. “Institutions have to adapt to changes by improving the protection of their devices and the training of employees,” says José Luis Vázquez, professor in the computer and automation department at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

Experts agree that the key is to invest in employees. “Many times the security of paying for licenses gives us false security. A good training plan for employees, a good hiring policy and an incentive plan for employees themselves to let them know that the company and its computer barriers are very important are worth more than 5,000 licenses together for different solutions, because in the end the weakest link is the human factor ”, concludes Vázquez.

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