Microsoft is planning to quietly kill off the Microsoft Wallet in February. The Redmond business took over Nokia's phone business a few years back, but only a small proportion of US users took to the Microsoft mobile ecosystem. Researcher Jordan McKee noted that Microsoft's OS was used by less than three percent of the population in the US, with most people favouring Android or iOS. "With iOS and Android operating systems dominating the smart-phone industry, the addressable market for the Microsoft Wallet was rather limited," he said. "Layer in the already low consumer adoption rates for contactless mobile payments and it is clear that the Microsoft Wallet was doomed from a user-adoption standpoint from the start." Although the Microsoft Wallet was not a terrible idea, the combination of technologies excited precisely no one. Microsoft Pay has survived the cull however and will continue to function as the online payments wallet for Microsoft's Edge browser. Google, Apple and Amazon definitely stole ahead of Microsoft in the wallets businesses.
Capital One is a much-admired business in the credit card industry, with its founder and owner Richard Fairbank slipping quietly onto the Forbes list of billionaires earlier this month. According to Forbes, he becomes the fourth billionaire chief executive of a US bank. "Fairbank and Nigel Morris, his colleague at a Washington-area consulting firm, started tinkering with new ways of parsing data to assess credit-card risk in the 1980s," writes Fortune. "They were hired in 1988 by Signet Bank, where they pioneered concepts such as tailored interest rates and created offers that enticed borrowers to transfer balances from other cards. The business prospered and Signet spun off Capital One in the 1994 IPO, making Fairbank CEO. The company, based in McLean, Virginia, is now the seventh-biggest commercial bank by assets in the U.S. The firm also targets subprime borrowers, a fee-rich business that helped Fairbank double annual profit since 2005 to $3.75 billion in 2016."
Bahrain is making a play for digital banking services as the Gulf Countries look to compete rather than partner with one another. Bahrain has adopted Open Banking structures, with Almoayed Technologies graduating from the kingdom's regulatory sandbox as the first AISP/PISP, and entering a partnership with US tech business Moven to provide digital banking services in the kingdom. In a statement Brett King said: "Bahrain is emerging as a serious regional player from a regulatory reform and Fintech ecosystem perspective. It has a small and agile economy, a forward-looking regulator, a digitally literate population and a close-knit banking industry that supports co-opetition. It's going to be fascinating to see how quickly Bahrain, and the wider MENA region, can develop its digital banking capabilities." In December, Almoayed Technologies was confirmed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Kingdom's regulator, as the nation's first AISP/PISP providing account aggregation services, having graduated from the central bank's regulatory sandbox. "Moven's platform is a key component in our drive to help banks take advantage of these unique market conditions," said chief executive Abdulla Almoayed. "Our strategy is to partner with the world's foremost fintech innovators and combine their skills and technologies with our domestic experience, localising their platforms and using them to empower our financial services industry to better serve the local population." Mr Almoayed said that his business is now working with Bahrain's banks to support their creation of open banking action plans by the regulatory deadline of next Wednesday, 30 January, and to ensure smooth and secure implementation of open banking ahead of the final compliance deadline of 30 June 2019.
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