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Open banking arrives

Open banking has the potential to completely revolutionise the banking industry on a global scale. It allows customers to take full control of their finances and could potentially break the monopoly banks have enjoyed for many years, writes THOMAS PAYS, Co-Founder & CEO of i-PAY.

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This all started when the Council of the European Parliament passing the second Payment Services Directive legislation (PSD2) back in 2015. In a nutshell, PSD2 allows for, amongst others, digital role players to tap into payments systems traditionally considered the domain of the financial services system.

According to the regulation, banks must offer third-party service providers ways to access customers’ accounts through open application program interfaces (APIs). This paves the way for a dramatic shift in the banking sector, where it will eventually allow different types of companies and fintech start-ups to offer banking services to customers.

But what does this mean for banks? This effectively signals the collapse of the traditional banking infrastructure and a rebirth of banking as we know it. Banks are set to lose full control over account information, a key resource which, understandably, they never wanted to share with fintech companies.

Currently, online shopping allows for a number of role players in the process, which includes the merchant, customer, the ‘merchant acquirer’ that processes credit card payments on behalf of the merchant, card schemes such as Visa, and finally the customer’s bank.

But PSD2 creates a Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP), a go-between which if given permission by the customer, initiates a payment bridge directly between the merchant and the bank. This is possible since PSD2 offers API access to the customer’s bank accounts, and it is in the role of PISP that fintech companies, such as i-Pay, will operate.

The question remains – who will ultimately benefit from this? That’s easy… the consumer.  PSD2 is taking online banking infrastructure and gearing it towards an environment which is stronger and more robust – much more so than the current method of buying online with credit cards.

Ultimately, what open banking and PSD2 will mean for consumers is convenience. Not only will fintech start-ups be able to stimulate innovation, but it will eventually improve convenience. Consumers will soon be able to fulfill all their financial needs, banking, shopping by using one app.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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New AirPods and iMac in iStore this weekend

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iStore has announced availability of the new second generation AirPods and iMac, unveiled this week, in store this weekend.

The AirPods are priced from R2 899 and the new iMac from R23 499. Customers can also order these new products from iStore’s website.

“AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love,” said iStore in its announcement. “The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri’.”

AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new wireless charging case that works with Qi standard chargers. The wireless charging case can be ordered for R3 699. The case can be used with the first or second generation AirPods.

The iMac line now has up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. The new iMac is faster for everyday tasks, up to demanding pro workloads. It includes retina display, all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave.

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