SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom to build blockchain-based digital ID platform

SKT teams up with Deutsche Telekom for blockchain biz — Korea Times — “SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Labs will work together to develop and commercialize blockchain-based mobile identification that can be utilized in various areas including access control, dealings and contracts… The firm said blockchain-based digital identification could also replace identification cards issued by the government such as passports.”


PayPal CEO: Digital payments could become a $100tn market

PayPal CEO predicts digital payments industry will mature into a $100 trillion market — CNBC — “PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told CNBC that the digital payments industry may become a US$100tn market as the financial technology sector continues to grow rapidly… ‘We live in the space of digital commerce and digital commerce is exploding still around the world,’ he said. ‘There’s an explosion in digital commerce and we’re riding that wave.'”


Citymapper rolls out ‘all in one’ contactless transportation pass

Citymapper Pass — Citymapper — “Our Pass on day one will cover public transport, cycles (Santander’s Docked scheme) and cabs (our Citymapper Ride service). Over time we will add other modes and partners such as additional cycle and cab services, car sharing, scooters and well.. whatever else gets invented next… Pass will integrate with Apple Pay and Google Pay so users can decide to use them as virtual cards as well.”


Apple to launch ‘credit card paired with iPhone’

Apple, Goldman Sachs team up on credit card paired with iPhone — The Wall Street Journal — “The card will be rolled out to employees for testing in the next few weeks and officially launch later this year, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies hope to lure cardholders by offering them extra features on Apple’s Wallet app, which will let them set spending goals, track their rewards and manage their balances, the people said.”


ST ships its one billionth secure element

STMicroelectronics breaks major milestone for ST33 secure chips with over one billion sold to secure the connected world — STMicroelectronics — “STMicroelectronics… has recorded cumulative sales of over one billion units for its ST33 embedded-security ICs… Based on a common certified secure platform featuring state-of-the-art cyber protection, the ST33 family’s flexible architecture has enabled ST to lead the development of new classes of security chips including embedded SIMs (eSIMs), embedded secure elements (eSEs), and trusted platform modules (TPMs).”


IMF sees negative interest rates in cashless future

Cashing In: How to make negative interest rates work — International Monetary Fund — “In a cashless world, there would be no lower bound on interest rates. A central bank could reduce the policy rate from, say, 2% percent to -4% to counter a severe recession… Without cash, depositors would have to pay the negative interest rate to keep their money with the bank, making consumption and investment more attractive. This would jolt lending, boost demand, and stimulate the economy.”


Analysts: 43% of iPhone users have now enabled Apple Pay

Apple Pay adoption continues to climb — Loup Ventures — “We estimate, based on our survey work as well as the growth in transactions, countries, locations, and banks, that 43% of global iPhone users have enabled Apple Pay. This is up from 36% in Sep-18 and 20% in Dec-17. That implies there are currently 383m Apple Pay users, up 21% sequentially and 135% y/y… We estimate that 24% of US iPhone users have used Apple Pay vs 47% of international users.”


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.”




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.”