Africa Roundup: Visa connects to M-Pesa, Flutterwave enters e-commerce

It seems the demand for Safaricom’s M-Pesa payment product never eases. Since its 2007 launch in Kenya, the fintech app has commanded over 70% of the mobile money market in that country. When COVID-19 hit the East African nation of 53 million in March, the Kenyan Central Bank turned to M-Pesa as a public health tool to reduce use of cash. And last month, one of the world’s financial services giants — Visa — connected M-Pesa to its global network. …

Fintech startups raised $34B in 2019

Financial services startups raised less money in 2019 than they did in 2018 as VC firms looked to back late stage firms and focused on developing markets, a new report has revealed. According to research firm CB Insights’ annual report published this week, fintech startups across the world raised $33.9 billion* in total last year across 1,912 deals*, down from $40.8 billion they picked up by participating in 2,049 deals the year before. It’s a comprehensive report, which we recommend …

Can I get a refund or extension on my railcard for lockdown?

A reader asks whether they can get money back if they are forced to self-isolate due to coronavirus Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage Do you know whether there is likely to be a partial refund or time extension for senior railcard holders due to the travel restrictions in place as a result of coronavirus? I have searched for information, including the senior railcard web page, but had no luck. I, like many other senior citizens, have had …

A truly bold chancellor would scrap national insurance

If NI and income tax were merged, the extra sum raised could solve the social care crisis What’s the basic rate of tax? No, it’s not 20%. That’s just income tax. The true basic rate of tax is 32%, once national insurance is paid – and you can’t avoid it if you’re a PAYE employee earning above £8,632 a year. Every chancellor talks about making tax simpler and more transparent, yet in every budget they persist with the fictitious distinction …

The wealth gap: How changing fortunes tear close friends apart

It’s not uncommon for friendships to end because of finances – whether a sudden salary rise or fall. But with care and forethought it is often possible to prevent the rupture When David Matcham and his wife adopted a baby boy in 2013, their financial situation promptly hit rock bottom. Matcham, 44, from Norfolk, had just completed a PhD, and was looking for work. They were broke; poorer than either of them had been at any point in their lives, …