Asian carriers begin rollout of cross-border mobile payments service

Singtel and AIS debut Via, Asia’s first cross-border mobile payment alliance — Singtel — “The Via alliance is the first initiative of its kind to connect both telco and non-telco mobile wallets across borders to create a region-wide payment network that will enable consumers to use their local mobile wallets when travelling. The Singtel Group will progressively expand this alliance to include other regional associates Airtel in India, Globe in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia, working within each country’s regulations, and non-telcos including China’s Ping An eWallet.”


Paytm to test face verification for payments in stores?

Paytm is testing face recognition tool for payments — Economic Times — “Paytm has begun testing a facial recognition tool that can unlock its payments application on a customer’s smartphone, company executives said. It also plans to extend this feature to allow customers to pay at merchant outlets with the blink of an eye… Paytm is testing the facial recognition feature on Google’s Android platform, and according to sources, will shortly roll it out through an app update. Offline payments through face recognition, however, would take longer, they said.”


Google Pay closes payments data sharing loophole

Google tweaks privacy policy for Indian payment app after rival complaint — Reuters — “Google has tweaked the privacy policy of its Indian digital payments mobile application, days after local rival Paytm complained that the US tech giant’s platform allowed disclosure of customer data for advertising and other purposes… Google Pay’s privacy policy had said it could ‘collect, store, use and/or disclose’ personal data and ‘any communications made through Google Pay’. A Reuters review of Google’s privacy policy that was updated on Thursday showed the company had dropped the word ‘disclose’ from its privacy clause.”


Apple Pay hits launch hurdles in India

After Amazon and WhatsApp, Apple orders ‘stop payment’ — The Economic Times — “Silicon Valley giant Apple has shelved plans to launch a Unified Payments Interface-based payments platform in India after landing in a regulatory grey zone that has stalled the full rollouts of similar products by Amazon and WhatsApp as well. Apple put the brakes on introducing Apple Pay in the country despite holding discussions with a few leading banks and the National Payments Corporation of India, which manages the UPI platform, said two people with knowledge of the matter.”


Google rebrands its Tez mobile wallet to Google Pay

Building services for every Indian, in their language — Google India — “Since launching our India-first payments app Tez last September, over 22 million people and businesses have used Tez to make over 750m transactions that are collectively worth over $30bn annually. We believe that many of the innovations and features we have pioneered with Tez will work in other countries. To take Tez beyond India, we will be unifying all of Google’s payment offerings globally. As a first step, Tez will now be called Google Pay.”


Eight million merchants now accept Paytm QR payments in stores

Tier II and tier III cities are leading the wave of digital payments adoption — Paytm — “We are powering the largest offline payments network with over 8m offline merchant partners who accept payments via the Paytm QR. We have a 3x larger merchant base compared to any card payments network in the country… This has helped us achieve an annual run rate of 5bn transactions and $50bn GTV (Gross Transaction Value).”


Indian mobile payments firms raised US$1.5bn in funding in 2017

Investors shift focus to mobile payments, last mile payment firms — Business Standard — “Mobile payments alone gathered close to $1.51 billion in the year 2017 through 13 rounds of funding, according to data compiled by Tracxn. Investors say that the money is going beyond wallet businesses now into last mile solutions because the payment systems are maturing and the industry is leaping into the next stage where collaborations happen and solutions are end-to-end.”


Paytm integrates games, TV, sports and news into its mobile wallet app

Now enjoy news, live TV, cricket, entertainment & games in Paytm Inbox — Paytm — “We have added a host of new features to ‘Inbox’, our in-app messaging service that allows you to chat with friends and family and send/request money at the same time. You would now be able to enjoy in-app live TV, news, cricket, entertainment videos and games on-the-go for free.”


WhatsApp tests mobile payments with one million consumers in India

Almost one million people ‘testing’ WhatsApp payments service in India — PTI/Economic Times — “Today, almost one million people are testing WhatsApp payments in India. The feedback has been very positive, and people enjoy the convenience of sending money as simple and securely as sending messages,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI… WhatsApp is working closely with the Indian government, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and multiple banks, including payment service providers, to expand the feature to more people.”


Amazon to pilot sound-based payments for cash on delivery service in India

Amazon backs Indian startup to replace cash with contactless payments — Bloomberg — “Amazon.com Inc wants to pilot contactless payments to boost the adoption of its payment processing service, Amazon Pay, for offline transactions in India, two people privy to the development told BloombergQuint… Amazon is looking to roll out contactless payments in the next two to three months, one of the persons quoted above said. It may start with offering the service for its Prime subscription members.”


Visa cuts transaction fees in India by up to 95%

Visa slashes fee on debit card payments, wants more small merchants on board — Economic Times — “In a note circulated among member banks recently, Visa said it would cut rates on debit card transactions by up to 95%… The largest quantum of decrease will apply to transactions under Rs 2,000 (US$29.57)… ‘Effectively, merchants and banks pay nothing for small value transactions. With this move, it should become more attractive for banks to deploy terminals at small shops and encourage debit card payments,’ said a senior banker.”


India and Singapore link up their national payments networks

PM launches RuPay in Singapore — The Tribune — “The RuPay digital payments system was linked up with Singapore’s 33-year-old Network for Electronic Transfers (Nets). RuPay users will be able to make payments at all Nets acceptance points across Singapore. Holders of Singapore Nets will be able to make online purchases on the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) e-commerce merchant website, using 2.8m RuPay point-of-sale terminals in India.”


Facebook partners with major banks to roll out WhatsApp Pay across India

WhatsApp hastens payments push for 200 million Indians — Bloomberg — “Facebook Inc is set to offer its WhatsApp payment services to the whole of India as early as next week in an attempt to win market share, even though its partners aren’t all ready, said people familiar with the matter. The messaging app will partner with HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd to process the transfers, and State Bank of India will join once it has the necessary systems in place.”


Paytm introduces NFC payments in India

Paytm Tap Card launched, allows offline payments in less than a second — NDTV — “There are a large number of people who at times do not have access to the internet or they have a limited daily budget so they shy away from using online payments. For them, we offer the Paytm Tap Card to enable seamless offline payments. For ensuring a wider acceptance, we are also reaching out to the merchants and are actively enabling them with NFC POS terminals to accept payments.”


Facebook to launch Messenger payments in India

Facebook ready to enter payments in India, begins beta with recharges on Messenger — FactorDaily — “Two sources in the know of the development told FactorDaily that Facebook has been quietly working on building a payments platform, which is independent of WhatsApp payments. ‘The platform will be separate from WhatsApp and will allow peer-to-peer and peer-to-merchant payments,’ said the first source.”


Samsung Pay rolls out its rewards program in India

Samsung Rewards now rolling out to Samsung Pay users in India — Financial Express — “Samsung India on Thursday rolled out Samsung Rewards for the users of its mobile payments service Samsung Pay in India where they can collect and redeem ‘points’ to purchase the company’s devices. The programme is already available for Samsung Pay users in other global markets, including South Korea, the US, China, Spain, Singapore, Australia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Russia, Thailand and Malaysia.”


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