Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20220303)

Monetary Authority of Singapore Sees No Need for a Retail Digital Sing Dollar

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has assessed that the case for a retail CBDC in Singapore is not compelling. It has found that reasons typically offered for issuing retail CBDCs are not very relevant to MAS and Singapore at this juncture. “Some of the reasons usually offered are that CBDCs can ensure financial inclusion or enable cheaper and faster payments. Financial inclusion is not a significant problem in Singapore. Electronic payments in Singapore have also become pervasive, seamless, and efficient…  In short, [the MAS is] using improvements in payment technology and competition to achieve [its] objectives of cheap and fast payments for all, using existing forms of central bank-backed money… [However] the case for a CBDC could strengthen if foreign digital currencies become more widely used locally… [so the MAS] continues to build up its technological and institutional capabilities in the CBDC space…” [Read more]

Taiwan to Debut Central Bank Digital Currency by September

Taiwan is reportedly looking to complete trials of its prototype central bank digital currency (CBDC) by the third quarter of 2022. Its most recent design is a two-tier system that allows consumers to exchange bank deposits with digital currency. In addition, the CBDC can also be linked to credit and debit cards and will be legal tender. [Read more]

Is the Bank of Mexico Ready to Launch its CBDC?

The Bank of Mexico reportedly plans to launch a two-tier (“intermediated”) CBDC by 2024. As part of the roll-out, commercial banks expect interoperability capacity to increase through the Interbank Electronic Payment System (SPEI), and that a CBDC should in principle seek greater inclusion and lower transaction costs. [Read more]

Rwanda’s central bank to pronounce itself on digital currency by December 2022

The National Bank of Rwanda will reportedly complete its CBDC research by the end of December 2022, according to central bank Deputy Governor, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, after which  it will have a clear policy on whether it will issue the CBDC or not. Financial inclusion will be the primary goal. [Read more]

Overhaul Needed for BNPL as Losses Mount up in APAC

Despite phenomenal growth, current buy now, pay later (BNPL) models are showing to be rather unprofitable. Quinlan and Associates estimates that in Asia-Pacific (APAC), the largest BNPL firms, including Australia’s Afterpay and Japan’s Paidy, are currently running average profit margins of -15% per annum (p.a.), while the more nascent players operating in emerging markets like the Philippines’ Cashalo and Indonesia’s Akulaku are suffering from profit margins of -100% p.a. According to the analysis, APAC BNPL providers are struggling to reach profitability as costs relating to sales, marketing, funding, staff, technology, and credit losses eat into all their profits. Losses are even more pronounced for emerging market BNPL providers because of their stronger focus on long tail, unbanked/underbanked consumers, leading to much larger credit losses and funding costs. Quinlan and Associates identified three key pathways for them to become commercially viable: optimization, vertical integration and expansion. [Read more]