Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (02/06/2021)*

Venmo’s Debt-Collection Practices Probed by CFPB

PayPal has received a Civil Investigative Demand (“CID”) from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) related to Venmo’s unauthorized funds transfers and collections processes, and related matters. The CID requests the production of documents and answers to written questions. From the Wall Street Journal: “Venmo’s debt-collection tactics have come under scrutiny in the past. The company has threatened to dispatch debt collectors on users who overdraw their accounts, even when those users are victims of scams. Venmo also previously amended its user agreement to give itself the power to recover money its customers owe by seizing it from their other accounts at PayPal.” 

Distributional Effects of Payment Card Pricing and Merchant Cost Pass-through in Canada and the United States

U.S. and Canadian merchants generally do not differentiate prices based on payment methods. They pass through their total costs of accepting payment methods evenly to all customers through higher retail prices. However, credit cards are more expensive for merchants to accept than debit cards or cash. These pecuniary costs include merchants’ costs of accepting payments that are passed on to customers, fees paid by consumers to financial institutions, and consumer rewards received for credit or debit card use. Using data from the two countries, this Bank of Canada paper finds that lower-income consumers incur a disproportionally greater net pecuniary cost than higher-income consumers. Card rewards and consumer fees paid to financial institutions may also benefit higher-income individuals more than those with lower incomes. 

The Bitcoin Trading Gender Disparity Is Still Massive: Study

“Just 15% of Bitcoin investors are women, according to new data from the brokerage company eToro. As skewed as that sounds, it’s actually an improvement over last year’s numbers—at the end of January 2020, just 10% of all Bitcoin investors were women.” 

* The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to the International Monetary Fund, its Executive Board or its management.