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.”




India to add face biometrics to Aadhaar national ID platform

Will introduce ‘Face ID’ on July 1 for Aadhaar authentication, UIDAI tells Supreme Court — The Hindu — “The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it will introduce ‘Face ID’ on July 1 to enable Aadhaar holders to authenticate their identity to access services, benefits and subsidies. The ‘Face ID’ would help people without biometrics or those with poor biometrics to avoid authentication failures and financial exclusion.”


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.”


Google adds chat feature to Tez mobile payments app

Google integrates chat option on Tez payments app — Economic Times — “Google has integrated a chat option in the Google Tez application and is slowly rolling it out to its 13.5 million active users, taking the competition directly to WhatsApp… The payment application which runs on the Unified Payments Interface railroads will now allow consumers to not only send money to each other but also open up an option for conversation around the transaction.”


Google to add NFC to its Tez audio QR payments platform

Google pay app Tez to add ‘tap n pay’ option — The Times of India — “Users of Google’s Tez will soon be able to load their cards and enable ‘tap and pay’ in the payments app. The internet giant also plans to make Tez payments available for other Google products as well, which means that users in future will be able to make payments through email and see shops accepting Tez on Google Maps.”


Survey: India now has a higher percentage of citizens with a mobile wallet than China

Mobile wallet is gradually displacing cash in India, says GlobalData — GlobalData — “India is one of the top markets globally in terms of mobile wallet adoption with 55.4% survey respondents indicating that they have a mobile wallet and use it. India is followed by China and Denmark… Mobile wallet transactions grew manifold in last five years, rising from R24bn (US$370.6m) in 2013 to R955bn ($14.74bn) in 2017, and will surpass R1tn ($15.44bn) mark in early 2018.”


WhatsApp Payments enters beta testing in India

WhatsApp Payments is almost here, shows up on WhatsApp Beta — Gizmo Times — “The latest WhatsApp beta version has started showing the Payment option in the attachments list. The payments will be through UPI (Unified Payments Interface) but for now, it is only showing the list of banks and also the bank account that is linked, but the account is not getting added. This indicates the final stage of inclusion of WhatsApp payments system on the Android app.”


Ride-hailing app Grab acquires mobile payments startup iKaaz

Grab announces acquisition of Bangalore-based payments startup iKaaz — Grab — “The rich functionality of iKaaz’ mobile payments platform and its experienced leadership team will accelerate feature development and partner integration of GrabPay, Grab’s payments platform. Already Southeast Asia’s #1 ride-hailing platform, Grab is expanding across all markets in Southeast Asia in 2018 with the goal of becoming the region’s universal payments platform.”


India to add face recognition to Aadhaar biometric ID system

Now, face recognition to authenticate Aadhaar, but with biometrics or OTP — Times of India — “To be made available by July 1, the face authentication option will be allowed in combination with fingerprints, or iris scans, or an OTP to verify the details of Aadhaar users… Face authentication will not require any new reference data as photos of citizens are already on the Aadhaar database.”


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