PaySpace Magazine is wondering how the fintech unicorns are dealing with the new pandemic-related realities
Coronavirus has shaken the grounds of every existing industry. Fintech companies are in a controversial position now too. On the one hand, they can greatly facilitate remote purchases and online banking. On the other hand, economies are on the verge of a great recession: people are losing their jobs and money. They are simply buying less and resorting to fewer financial tools. PaySpace Magazine is wondering how the fintech unicorns are dealing with the new pandemic-related realities.
This challenger bank is apparently struggling to maintain its basic operations while arranging remote work whenever possible. As has been reported, Monzo is laying off hundreds of support staff in different regions.
Initially, the bank confirmed that it is planning to send up to 295 employees on furlough in the UK. However, that was not enough to keep the financial balance. Later on, Monzo management decided to shut its customer support office in Las Vegas, permanently laying off 165 operators.
To show their dedication to the business and solidarity, Monzo’s founder and CEO Tom Blomfield will not take a salary for the next 12 months while some other top executives will cut theirs by 25%.
The digital giant has recently closed on a $500 million Series D funding which appears very timely.
Thanks to their steady financial position, the company quickly closed offices around the world and “shipped out all kinds of tech equipment within days.” Therefore, they aren’t currently furloughing any employees, instead providing them with the opportunity to work from home.
Moreover, Revolut is trying to support its clients more than ever. In their blog, the bank’s management claims that:
The bank also has a dedicated blog hub that lists all the information and initiatives from the UK Government to aid businesses and the self-employed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Klarna’s service continues to operate as usual with the vast majority of its employees working from home.
Just recently, China’s Ant Financial has acquired a minority stake in the company for an undisclosed sum. The stakeholder aims to offer Klarna’s solutions to consumers and merchants within the broader Alibaba ecosystem. Since China is already lifting its quarantine restrictions, catering to the most active economic region may now become the focus of Klarna’s activities.
Meanwhile, the bitcoin-friendly company behind Cash App has become a major player in the US plan to beat the coronavirus crisis.
Along with PayPal and Intuit, Square has been approved as a lender in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
The $350 billion small business loan program is a part of a governmental stimulus package aimed at those businesses with fewer than 500 employees. It provides forgivable business loans that can keep all employees on their payroll for at least eight weeks.
Besides, Square founder and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that Cash App offers routing numbers so that people who didn’t file tax returns can still accept stimulus checks.
Although the fintech has yet to release revenue statistics from Q1 2020, it would be surprising if it’s doing badly. At least, Cash App should have made some profit from the surge in speculative bitcoin (BTC) trading in March.
Starling Bank, founded by veteran banker Anne Boden,isn’t furloughing any of its UK staff after all.
According to the original plan, 41 permanent staff were going to be put on furlough, under the U.K. government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, since they hadn’t completed their full training. However, apparently, they managed to finish the training remotely, and can now continue working.
Moreover, the bank assured the TechCrunch:
At the same time, Starling has ended its contract with around 40 temporary workers who worked in customer support and were employed via agencies. Some of them were offered a furlough scheme, but most were permanently dismissed.
The European fintech startup is partnering with mobile payments giant Alipay to enable instant transfers to China using 17 currencies. The new partnership is covering the changing needs of all those people working abroad. With the borders closed, more remittances may take place today.
Since the company never provided payment services in bricks-and-mortar offices, their mode of operation hasn’t changed much.
The largest Indian digital payment system has suffered a lot during this coronavirus outbreak. To begin with, one of its employees in the Gurugram office tested positive for coronavirus. Hence, the whole office, as well as Paytm’s 6 offices in Delhi-NCR, were temporarily closed.
The company stated that it has asked other team members to get appropriate medical checks immediately, while other offices will remain shut for sanitizing purposes. Commenting on the loss of business while the offices are closed, the spokesperson added, “However, there will not be any impact on our daily operations and Paytm services will continue as usual.”
Protecting their staff work positions, the company has started cutting other costs. Thus, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said he would not take his salary for the two following months. “I commit that money to any needs of Paytm office help-staff in these testing times,” he said. That statement echoes the attitudes of many Indian top executives who prefer losing their income than laying off employees.
Dismissing any more employees might be critical for the company since their financial losses last year have already forced the digital unicorn to lay off around 500 people. Despite losses, the company has raised around $1.39 billion from the US-based asset manager T Rowe Price Associates and Japan’s SoftBank Group on a condition that the company should aim to go public within the next five years.
Therefore, the company is supporting all the medical teams struggling to overcome the pandemic as soon as possible. Paytm has made a serious investment of Rs 5 crore in coronavirus-related medical solutions.