Pulse Alert – News Pulse for August 6, 2019

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

R&D reform possible as tech minister breaks the ice with start-ups

Industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews has flagged a willingness to re-examine how software companies are assessed for future research and development tax incentives and will establish a new digital economy and technology division within her department, following a closed-door meeting with start-up industry insiders on Friday.

Ms Andrews spoke to The Australian Financial Review on Monday after convening the first of two technology industry roundtables, to address concerns within the sector that it was being ignored by Canberra in key policy decisions.

NAB, CBA race to offer tap-and- pay mobile payments for SMEs

National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are vying to be the first of the big four to provide tap-on-phone payments for small businesses, allowing them to sidestep using a terminal.

NAB has kicked off a pilot program with several hundred of its 450,000 small business customers to gauge whether take-up and usage makes it viable. NAB is partnering with global giant Visa and Quest Payment Systems on the trial, which will include businesses with high-volume and low-value payments.

Labor trusts gov’t on CDR regime

The Consumer Data Right laws are “very complex and messy” and plans to amend them later in the year may lead to further problems, digital rights advocates have said.

The Consumer Data Right (CDR) legislation, which paves the way for open banking and other data sharing regimes, was passed unamended by the Senate with bipartisan support last Thursday night, after Labor decided to vote for it despite having “deep concerns”.

Draft unfair contract laws ‘create too much uncertainty’

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is concerned the draft laws to extend unfair contract terms (UCT) provisions to insurance contracts will do more harm than good.

Treasury last week released the draft legislation for consultation after the Morrison Government committed in February to carry out the reform as proposed by the Hayne royal commission.

ICA believes the decision to have the main subject matter narrowly defined, as opposed to a broad definition, could make “almost every term in an insurance contract legally contestable”.

Cash flow is a fairer way to tax business

At the moment high iron ore prices mask a deep flaw in our corporate taxation system: enterprises like Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and Amazon are absorbing more and more national revenue but they do not pay tax in Australia.

Today’s commentary will describe a way to overcome the problem: cash flow taxation. This is a solution that was actually devised by none other than US Republican and former house speaker Paul Ryan. For a time it was endorsed by Donald Trump. President Trump then abandoned the idea, perhaps because if the system took off around the world the US giants would have less money to send back home. .

Why Gen Y are moving to non-bank lenders

Gen Y is all about “on demand”. From TV to food and clothes, this is a generation all about convenience. Having been brought up immersed in technology, Gen Y like to order what they want, when they want, and from the comfort of their own homes.

This is equally true with managing their finances.

Generally speaking, Gen Y small business owners are not going to be keen to arrange a time to sit down with their bank manager. This is precisely why Gen Y and fintechs are such a match made in convenience heaven.

Amazon incubator ‘holds hands’ with Australian start-ups

Australian non-alcoholic spirits maker Lyre’s has seen sales more than double month on month since it started selling on Amazon.com.au three months ago.

“We’re a new brand with very low awareness but when people are looking for our product or products in our category they are turning to Amazon and we are seeing immediate conversion of people looking for non-alcoholic  spirits – that’s making us very happy,” said Lyre’s co-founder Mark Livings.

Start-up turns dreams into realty

A start-up is aiming to shake up the concept of home ownership in Australia, as Homer.com.au promises to make properties more affordable for everyone, particularly millennials.

Most first-time homeowners aim for a 20 per cent deposit before they go to the bank for a loan, a process that sometimes takes years if it’s even achievable at all. Homer instead covers most of the deposit, allowing buyers to get a mortgage with just a 5 per cent deposit. The start-up then chips in with the remaining 15 per cent.

Regulation matters for company directors are heating up

It’s been a busy year in the lead up to the Federal Election and following the Banking Royal Commission. Then there’s just the usual cogs of commerce turning. Here’s four areas advisors should be aware of what’s happening at a macro level of regulation, and what’s happening at a micro level of industry.

Australia kick-starts open banking – Business Insider

The Customer Data Right (CDR) legislation passed by the Australian parliament aims to provide a legal framework for the country’s open banking regime, per Finextra. Initially announced by the Australian government in May of last year , the CDR will allow consumers in the country to direct banks to share their data with fintechs and other third-party providers (TPPs).

Although passed by parliament, the legislation will still need a final seal of approval by the country’s financial watchdog — the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.) — before coming into effect at the end of this month. While the CDR will initially be applied to financial services, the country will also enforce its requirements on the energy and telecoms sector.

“Immediate” need for open banking education

Last week, an important step was taken towards the implementation of open banking, a shift many believe will deliver revolutionary and “long-awaited change” to the Australian financial system. However, the impact will likely be negligible if action is not taken at both an industry and governmental level, according to Poli Konstantinidis, Experian A/NZ executive GM of credit services and decision analytics.

“There is an immediate need for improvement in consumer education on open banking,” he explained.

“With the introduction of any new banking initiative, the success very much relies on consumer understanding, for them to be able to access and reap the full benefits. This is something that should be done via government and industry investment to ensure that open baking is not only adopted quickly, but implemented effectively. It needs to be a collaborative approach for the innovation to see success.”

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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