Snapchat opens empty shop that lets customers buy Lego clothing in AR

Snapchat is using AR to transform an empty shop into a pop-up Lego Wear Store — Evening Standard — “When you enter the store, you need to scan a Snapcode on the photo-sharing app, which uses augmented reality (AR) technology to showcase the clothes and in-store displays… Prospective buyers can purchase clothing through the integrated ‘shop now’ feature on Snapchat. This takes them through to the Lego Wear e-commerce site where they can select their preferred item and have it delivered to their home.” 


Lloyds Bank to pay retailers to offer cash withdrawals to customers

Lloyds Banking Group announces pilot scheme to boost the number of retailers offering cashback — Lloyds Banking Group — “There are tens of thousands of local high street shops which have the infrastructure in place to offer a cashback service but may not see it as a viable option — especially without a purchase — as they do not receive a fee for providing cashback… We need to make it more viable for them [to] offer cashback to all customers, whether making a purchase or not.” 


Delhi Metro to add biometrics to ticketing gates?

Biometric scans for discounted metro rides in Delhi — The Times of India — “In the new fare collection system, it will be possible to issue smart cards to individuals with their biometric data stored in them, ensuring that only they could use the card and not anyone else. Commuters, who will be provided concession on metro fares, need to get their finger scanned while entering or exiting a metro station, to ensure that only genuine commuters get the benefit of the concession.” 


Banco de Mexico to pilot national mobile payments service

Mexico pushes mobile payments to help unbanked consumers ditch cash — Reuters — “Mexico’s new leftist government is betting on financial technology to help lift people out of poverty… It is planning a digital payments system run and built by the central bank that will allow Mexicans to make and receive payments through their smartphones free of charge. A pilot roll-out for the platform, known as CoDi, is expected by March.” 


Apple Pay goes live in Saudi Arabia and Czech Republic

Apple Pay rolling out in Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia — MacRumors — “In Czech Republic, users have so far reported successfully adding cards to their mobile wallets from Air Bank, Moneta Money Bank, Ceska Sporitelna, and payments company Twisto. .. In Saudi Arabia, Apple’s regional Apple Pay website has gone live and lists Visa and Mastercard support for Al Rajhi Bank, NCB, Mada, Riyad Bank, Alinma Bank, and Bank Aljazira.” 


Dublin churches pilot contactless collections

Offertory payers — church adopts contactless payments — RTE News — “The archdiocese has already introduced direct debit payments for the ‘family offering’, which was traditionally collected from houses in parish envelopes. Now a pilot scheme is to be introduced in a small number of parishes where card machines will be available at the back of the church for people to make contactless contributions. The archdiocese also plans to roll out card-based payments in the majority of parishes so people can pay for offerings and pilgrimages, as well as sign-up for recurring contributions.” 


Hong Kong rolls out tap-to-collect travel rebate system

Hong Kong transport subsidy scheme launches with minor hiccups for tap-and-go Octopus card top-ups at stores — South China Morning Post — “Under the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme, commuters with monthly travel expenses exceeding HK$400 (US$51) received subsidies of 25% of the difference between their total cost and this sum, capped at HK$300… Commuters can collect the subsidy for the previous month via the Octopus App or at more than 1,800 collection points around the city… For those who pocket the subsidy at convenience stores, they will also be given a HK$10 coupon for purchases in the same shop.” 


Apple Pay to go live in Saudi Arabia this week?

Apple Pay said to be coming to Saudi Arabia this week — Arabian Business — “Advertisements from Saudi Arabia-based Al Rajhi Bank noted that Apple Pay will launch in the kingdom on February 19 — the same day that it has been rumoured that the service will launch in the Czech Republic. In October, Apple said that Apply Pay was ‘coming soon’ to Saudi Arabia.” 


Barclays to let UK merchants accept payments direct from customers’ bank accounts

Barclays accelerates growth of Pay by Bank app — Barclays — “Pay by Bank app allows shoppers to pay quickly and securely for goods and services on a mobile device, without the need to enter payment details, logins or passwords. Customers simply select the Pay by Bank app option during the checkout process, at which point they log into their existing mobile banking app to seamlessly authorise and complete the purchase.” 


MUFG teams up with Akamai to launch blockchain payments network

MUFG and Akamai to launch Global Open Network Inc joint venture — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group — “The new company will utilize MUFG’s presence in the payment business and Akamai’s intelligent edge platform, which offers world-class speed and security, with the aim of providing an open payment network in Japan based on new blockchain technology by the first half of 2020.” 


Kroger launches payments, offers and rewards app for iOS and Android

Kroger introduces Kroger Pay and Kroger Rewards debit card — The Kroger Co — “After a customer enters their custom PIN or biometrics, the app provides customers with a single-use QR code to scan at the terminal to quickly communicate payment and loyalty card information, which includes digital coupons and personalized offers… Kroger Pay recently launched in the retailer’s Columbus, Ohio division. The service will roll out to 10 additional markets in the spring, with plans to go nationwide later this year.” 


Tesco lets customers use Siri to check their bank balance

‘How do you want to check your balance?’ Tesco Bank lets customers use Apple’s Siri to check their balance — Tesco Bank — “Tesco Bank has today announced changes to its mobile banking app, which will enable iPhone customers to check account balances using Apple’s Siri functionality… To use our new Siri feature within the mobile banking app, customers should first ensure the functionality is enabled on their device. Customers can then turn on Siri within the app by visiting the settings menu.” 


CaixaBank rolls out facial recognition ATMs

CaixaBank, the world’s first bank to use facial recognition to withdraw cash at ATMs — CaixaBank — “CaixaBank has become the world’s first financial institution to offer its customers the ability to use facial recognition to withdraw cash from ATMs, without having to enter their PIN… CaixaBank now has this verification system in place in four Store branches in Barcelona, with a total of 20 terminals. The company plans to progressively expand facial recognition across its Store offices from the second half of 2019.” 


JP Morgan to launch its own cryptocurrency

JP Morgan is rolling out the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency to transform payments business — CNBC — “Each JPM Coin is redeemable for a single US dollar, so its value shouldn’t fluctuate, similar in concept to so-called stablecoins. Clients will be issued the coins after depositing dollars at the bank; after using the tokens for a payment or security purchase on the blockchain, the bank destroys the coins and gives clients back a commensurate number of dollars.”