Google Assistant adds support for voice-based payments

Now the Google Assistant can take care of your IOUs — Google — “Starting today, you can ask your Google Assistant to pay your friends back with Google Pay… You can easily send or request money from your contacts — for free — using the Assistant on Android and iOS phones in the US. In the coming months, you’ll be able to send money on voice-activated speakers like Google Home… To get started, just say ‘Hey Google, request $20 from Sam for the show tonight’ or ‘Hey Google, send Jane $15 for lunch today.’” 

Shell rolls out mobile payments at the pump

Customers at participating Shell branded retail stations in the US can now pay at the pump and in store using mobile payment with Chase Pay — JP Morgan Chase — “Millions of consumers of participating Shell branded retail sites in the US are now able to pay for fuel with their mobile devices, using either the Shell app or the Chase Pay app… Customers simply pull up to the pump, enter their pump number, and receive a three-digit code to enter into the dispenser to refuel… Customers can also make purchases using the apps inside Shell convenience stores.” 

China opens up its payments market to foreign companies

China allows foreigners to enter $27tn payments market — Bloomberg — “Foreign players can start applying for payment licenses and will be treated the same as local firms, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on Wednesday. Applicants must set up local units, establish payment infrastructure — including disaster recovery systems — and store client information domestically, the central bank said.” 

Starbucks to run cashless store pilot in South Korea

Starbucks to test cashless stores in S Korea — Yonhap News — “Starbucks Coffee Korea Co, the local unit of the US coffee giant, said Thursday it will begin a test run of cashless stores at three outlets next month amid rising use of credit card and mobile payment systems… It will mark the second trial for the global coffee giant, following its first cashless store under test run in Seattle.” 

Apple closes Dutch bank Bunq’s backdoor to Apple Pay

Apple is blocking Apple Pay from Bunq in the Netherlands — Het Financieele Dagblad (translation) — “Online bank Bunq was too fast on Tuesday by being the first financial institution in the Netherlands to make Apple Pay possible… On Wednesday afternoon, the technology company closed the back door. Only residents of Spain and Italy are welcome on the platform. Bunq customers who have converted their telephone settings for Wednesday afternoon can continue to use the service — for the time being.” 

Samsung Pay goes live in Italy

Samsung Pay continues global expansion with launch in Italy — Samsung — “Starting today, Samsung Pay is available to users in Italy with compatible Samsung devices, including wearables like the Samsung Gear S3 and Gear Sport, and the new Galaxy S9 and S9+… Several value-added features will be available exclusively to consumers in Italy. These include discounts up to 20% on popular brands, including Daybreak Hotel, EF Education, Leroy Merlin and Moleskin.” 

Dutch bank Bunq finds a backdoor way to offer Apple Pay in the Netherlands

Bunq launches Apple Pay — De Telegraaf (translation) — “Apple Pay is officially not yet launched in the Netherlands by the American producer of the iPhone. However, Bunq found an opportunity to make Apple Pay available to Dutch users by launching an Italian and Spanish version of the internet bank… Dutch Bunq customers who put the new version of the app on the ‘Italy’ or ‘Spain’ region will then have Apple Pay at their disposal. They can then pay contactlessly in stores with their iPhone.” 

AirAsia to enter the mobile payments market

AirAsia is entering the digital payments race — Tech in Asia — “The driving factor behind AirAsia’s move into fintech was a realization that it could monetize the wealth of ‘high resolution data’ it has collected from around 63 million passengers over its 16 years of operation… The eventual plan is for AirAsia customers to be able to use their BigPay e-wallets on the ground too, using the app to pay third-party merchants and potentially cutting the cost of currency exchange rates as they cross from one Southeast Asian country to another.” 

Apple’s Gymkit with NFC begins to gain traction

GymKit continues global expansion with new announcement from Life Fitness — 9to5Mac — “Earlier today, Technogym announced that it has deployed some 5,000 GymKit-enabled cardio machines since November. Following that announcement, Life Fitness announced this evening that it is expanding its rollout of GymKit equipment around the world… Life Fitness says that its Fitness IFC location in Hong Kong and Anytime Fitness Japan’s Ebisu location in Tokyo will be the first locations to add the new machinery, with other locations following as time progresses.” 

Macy’s brings mobile self-checkout to department stores

Macy’s to add mobile checkout to all stores by year’s end — CNBC — “The platform allows shoppers to scan barcodes on items (apparel, home goods, etc) with their phones, as they add merchandise to their baskets in stores. Relevant discounts and rewards will also be applied, via a shopper’s loyalty account, throughout. When customers are finished shopping, they will head to a special counter for mobile checkout, where an associate will remove security tags and make sure the number of items scanned adds up to those paid for. Then, they’re ready to go.” 

BBVA bank staff to test face recognition for self-serve restaurant orders and payments

BBVA launches its ‘invisible payments’ strategy — BBVA — “BBVA is already working on developing a facial recognition system to allow users to pick up their food and sit down directly, without needing to make a manual payment, or for anyone to check the user’s identity… The system uses machine learning algorithms through which the machines ‘learn’ to identify both the faces of users and products on the tray in order to make the correct charge on their card.” 

Carriers in Singapore, India, Thailand and the Philippines to link their mobile wallet services

Singtel to launch mobile wallet tie-up with regional associates — The Straits Times — “The Singtel Group plans to roll out mobile wallet interoperability across its network of regional associates in Asia by mid-2018… Mobile wallet customers of Singtel and the group’s various associate telcos would then be able to make cashless payments in their home currency, using their home telco’s app, at physical merchants while abroad… Singtel’s goal is to bring the Philippines’ Globe, Indonesia’s Telkomsel and India’s Airtel on board from the second half of 2018 onwards, pending regulatory approval. Regulators have already given the green light for the partnership between Singtel’s Dash payments app and Thai counterpart myAIS.” 

Church of England rolls out contactless donations to 16,000 churches, cathedrals and religious sites

Church of England brings cashless transactions to its congregations — Church of England — “Over 16,000 churches, cathedrals, and religious sites will now have access to portable card readers through the Church of England’s Parish Buying portal through a partnership with SumUp and iZettle. The readers will be used to take contactless payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as chip & pin… Technology facilitating charitable donations on a self-service basis, including passing around a reader for the collection, continues to be trialled and is expected to be launched in phase two of the project.” 

Auchan lets Italian supermarket shoppers scan and pay on their mobile phone

Auchan launches mobile payment app In Italy — European Supermarket Magazine — “Through the use of the AuchanSpeedy app, customers can scan products in-store and pay for them on their phone. The service, available to the members of the retailer’s customer loyalty programme LaTua!, is in addition to the traditional and self-checkout systems, and aims to provide more payment solutions for shoppers.” 

Google Pay adds support for Mifare public transportation tickets

NXP’s Mifare 2Go and Google Pay transform public transportation — NXP — PARTNER NEWS — “Combining Google Pay with the security, flexibility and scalability of Mifare products, this solution serves as a catalyst for the mobile transit experience, as it will be available for any consumer equipped with widely-available Android phones that support Near Field Communication (NFC)… The first deployment of this solution went live today with the Las Vegas Monorail.” 

UnionPay sets out its mobile payments rollout plans

UnionPay International launches mobile payment service platform to accelerate rolling out of its mobile payment worldwide — UnionPay — “UnionPay International will introduce Huawei Pay to the global markets this year, and Russia is expected to be the first country outside mainland China where Huawei Pay will be launched. In addition, UnionPay QR code payment will be available in Tajikistan, Japan, Cambodia and Suriname this year… UnionPay International is working with major institutions in Hong Kong, Kenya, and Nepal in jointly developing the international version of the UnionPay app.” 

Google expands support for wearable payments to Canada, Spain, and Australia

Google Pay on Wear OS officially spreads to three new countries — Android Police — “In addition to using NFC-equipped watches to make regular mobile payments, users in Australia can use their Wear OS devices with the Opal ticketing system to pay for single-trip tickets on select rail and ferry lines… Formerly, Google’s payment service was only supported on Android Wear (now Wear OS) devices in the US and the UK.” 

American Express files faster blockchain payments patent

Systems and methods for blockchain based payment networks — USPTO — “A system, method, and computer readable medium (collectively, the ‘system’) is disclosed for a payment network using a blockchain-based ledger that is configured to execute payment transactions in response to blockchain requests… In various embodiments, the system may assess a risk associated with the transaction. The system may also approve the transaction in response to the risk associated with the transaction being acceptable. The system may also transmit a notification (eg a push notification) to the payee digital wallet that the transaction was successful.” 

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