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    Archive: News in brief

    Huawei includes NFC payments in new smartwatch

    February 27th, 2017

    Huawei has unveiled a new smartwatch at Mobile World Congress that supports NFC payments. The Huawei Watch 2 comes in sports and classic watch styles, features standalone 4G connectivity, runs Android Wear 2.0 and includes support for Google Assistant.

    China’s central bank tests digital currency for in-store payments

    February 27th, 2017

    The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has conducted trial runs of a prototype cryptocurrency it has been developing since 2014 that could be used “to buy anything from noodles to a car”, The Straits Times reports. The digital currency would enable sellers to receive payments “directly from the buyer, lowering transaction costs as the middleman is cut out of the process”, the report adds.

    Google Assistant comes to more Android phones

    February 27th, 2017

    Google Assistant will be made available to all phones running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating systems, Reuters reports. The virtual assistant will roll out this week to English speakers in the US, followed by Australia, Canada, the UK and German speakers in Germany. The company “is working on support for additional languages”, the news service adds. Google Assistant had previously only been available on Google’s own Pixel brand phones.

    GSMA predicts 1.1bn 5G connections by 2025

    February 27th, 2017

    The GSMA forecasts there will be 1.1bn 5G mobile connections by 2025, with 5G networks providing one in eight of all mobile connections and driving “massive rollout of intelligent IoT nodes for a multitude of scenarios”. “The 5G era will make possible a huge array of new applications, everything from sensor-driven smart parking to holographic conference calls,” says GSMA director general Mats Granryd.

    BNP Paribas launches HCE mobile payments

    February 24th, 2017

    Customers of French bank BNP Paribas will soon be able to make host card emulation (HCE) based mobile payments through the bank’s mobile banking app and Paylib, an online payment platform supported by the country’s main banks. BNP Paribas’ deployment — which follows Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s HCE mobile payments launch earlier this week — will be completed by early March.

    India Post to enable Aadhaar money transfers

    February 24th, 2017

    India Post is to allow consumers to send and receive money using only their Aadhaar number from September 2017, when the government-operated postal system launches its own payments bank. “We will bring out a solution to make Aadhaar a payment address,” IndiaPost CEO AP Singh told The Economic Times. “People who already have an Aadhaar should be able to receive payment from any source.”

    Metro Bank adds Android Pay in UK

    February 24th, 2017

    Metro Bank in the UK is now offering support for Android Pay. “Expanding Metro Bank’s mobile payments to include Android Pay is just another example of how we’re helping to improve the banking and payments experience for our customers,” says the bank’s CCO Paul Riseborough.

    India’s Mobikwik aims to triple user base in 2017

    February 23rd, 2017

    Indian mobile wallet MobiKwik is to invest Rs 3bn (US$45m) to triple its user base and raise the total volume of transactions on its platform to $10bn in 2017, The Times of India reports. “MobiKwik said the investment will help it triple its user base to 150m and drive up annual gross merchandise value by year end from the current $2bn,” the report says.

    Consumers show more trust in mobile wallet security

    February 23rd, 2017

    Global consumers are “more concerned” with protecting their financial and payments information on a computer than protecting the same data in a mobile wallet, ACI Worldwide and Aite Group research reveals, with more than 80% believing their mobile wallet data is secure. 75% of the 6,000 consumers across 20 countries surveyed are “very interested” in receiving a call or SMS to help mitigate fraud.

    US banks launch money-transfer app

    February 23rd, 2017

    Nineteen US banks have launched Zelle, the mobile P2P money transfer service unveiled last October to compete with the likes of Venmo, allowing users to send money directly to each other’s bank accounts within minutes. Bank of America says it is the first to incorporate Zelle into its own app, with a standalone Zelle app available later this year for anyone with a debit card.

    UK bank tests voice commands with Google Home

    February 22nd, 2017

    Starling Bank, a UK mobile-only bank, is testing an integration of its API with Google Home, the voice-activated speaker powered by Google Assistant. A video shows a user using voice commands to ask for her balance and spending history, and make a person-to-person payment.

    Visa Token Service to spread across Europe in 2017

    February 22nd, 2017

    The Visa Token Service platform will be available in more than 12 European countries by the end of 2017, Visa has announced. “The technology is already supporting mobile payment schemes in 27 countries worldwide,” the company says, “with more than 1,300 financial institution partners.”

    Bank of China brings Apple Pay to UnionPay credit cards

    February 21st, 2017

    Bank of China has become the first bank in Hong Kong to offer Apple Pay with UnionPay credit cards. BOC UnionPay Dual Currency Credit cardholders can make payments at UnionPay QuickPass terminals in mainland China and Hong Kong. A HK$30 cash (US$4) gift for customers signing up for Apple Pay and promotions for using the service at Pacific Coffee and Sasa outlets are on offer until 20 April 2017.

    Belgian bank to launch HCE mobile payments

    February 21st, 2017

    Customers of Belgium’s Belfius Bank will soon be able to make host card emulation (HCE) based mobile payments using a service integrated with the Belfius Mobile banking app. The service will begin rolling out in May 2017 and is scheduled to be made available to all customers by the end of June 2017.

    Apple and Samsung boost Russian interest in virtual cards

    February 21st, 2017

    The launch of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in Russia helped to produce a fivefold increase in the number of consumers using online payment service Yandex.Money to pay for goods and services in 2016, Vedemosti reports. The interest generated in the use of virtual cards by the mobile payments services saw turnover increase fourfold and the number of transactions seven times, the publication adds.

    Ant Financial invests in Korea and Philippines

    February 21st, 2017

    Alipay parent company Ant Financial is to invest US$200m in South Korean mobile finance platform Kakao Pay to “expand its online and offline payment coverage”. Ant Financial has also made its first investment in the Philippines, announcing a strategic partnership to “scale up” mobile operator Globe Telecom’s mobile wallet and digital financial service Mynt.

    Swiss region pilots own local blockchain-based cryptocurrency

    February 21st, 2017

    A pilot test of a cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology has taken place in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland. The use of the paperless Ticinocoin is designed to promote the local economy, and will “save many administrative costs [while] every transaction would be transparent, safe and verifiable by all”, says founder Michele Fiscalini.

    ING Direct and Macquarie support Apple Pay in Australia

    February 21st, 2017

    ING Direct and Macquarie Bank are now rolling out support for Apple Pay in Australia, with 47 financial institutions now supporting the mobile payments service in the country. Four of Australia’s largest banks continue to delay offering support for Apple Pay and are pursuing their fight to gain access to the NFC technology within iPhone handsets.

    Apple Pay coming soon to Germany and Italy?

    February 21st, 2017

    Apple Pay could soon be launching in Germany and Italy, after German and Italian language instructions on how to use the mobile payment service were discovered on Apple’s website by Polish website iMagazine. No supporting banks are currently being listed for the launch of Apple Pay in either country.

    Serbian bank launches HCE mobile payments

    February 20th, 2017

    Customers of Kombank in Serbia can now make host card emulation (HCE) based mobile payments through a new feature added to the bank’s mobile banking app. The KOMePay service makes use of technology supplied by mobile wallet provider MeaWallet, which Swedish mobile payment specialist Seamless acquired in July 2016.

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