US regulators simplify licensing process for fintechs

State regulators take first step to standardize licensing practices for Fintech payments — Conference of State Bank Supervisors — “Seven states have agreed to a multi-state compact that standardizes key elements of the licensing process for money services businesses (MSB). The agreement: If one state reviews key elements of state licensing for a money transmitter — IT, cybersecurity, business plan, background check, and compliance with the federal Bank Secrecy Act — then other participating states agree to accept the findings… Other states are expected to join this compact.” 


Mastercard issues timeline for contactless card and POS terminal mandates

Betting on contactless: Mastercard pushes chips to center of table — Mastercard — “After October 2018, all new acceptance terminals in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific will have EMV chip and contactless enabled; After April 2019, all new cards issued in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific will have EMV chip and contactless technology; and by April 2023, all merchant terminals in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America will be EMV chip and contactless enabled.” 


Over half of US consumers are now using a P2P payments service

US consumers and debit: Shift to online may inhibit use — Mercator Advisory Group — “57% of all respondents and 78% of young adults aged 18 to 34 use person-to-person payment services such as PayPal, Venmo, Google Wallet, Facebook Messenger, and others accessible online and in-app by mobile devices and nearly half of them use a P2P service at least once a month.” 


Chinese mobile payment platforms are now used by 527m people

China’s mobile payment users hit 527 million in 2017 — ECNS — “China had a total of 527m mobile payment users at the end of last year, up by 57.8m from a year before… WeChat Pay, one of China’s major mobile payment service providers, attracted over 800m validated users by September 2017. The number of monthly offline payments was 280% higher than that from a year ago… Alipay, the online payment platform under ecommerce giant Alibaba, launched in 36 overseas destinations, benefiting hundreds of thousands of merchants. Overseas transactions surged by 306% in the last year when compared with 2016.” 


Adidas produces limited edition sneakers with a built-in transit pass

Shoe-Bahn: Berliners queue for sneaker with sewn-in annual transit ticket — The Local — “The sneaker bearing the design of seat covers on Berlin’s U-Bahn trains that has an annual ticket sewn into its flap was priced at only €180. An annual BVG ticket costs upwards of €761… The sneakers are valid until the end of 2018 as a ticket on Berlin U-bahn (subways), trams, buses and ferries — but only if they are worn at the time of travel.” 


Mobile payments gain ground in China’s 600,000 villages

China’s village people fast to adopt mobile payments — South China Morning Post — “The mainland market for mobile payment transactions, which reached US$5.5tn in 2016, is poised for further expansion as many consumers and businesses go cashless in more than 600,000 villages across the country… These villages are administratively categorised below townships, counties, cities and provinces.” 


Singapore Airlines to issue blockchain wallet that lets frequent flyers redeem loyalty points in stores

KrisFlyer to launch world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet — Singapore Airlines — “The SIA Group’s KrisFlyer frequent-flyer programme is to launch a world-first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet capability that will help unlock the value of KrisFlyer miles to enable everyday spending at retail partners… It will allow the extensive KrisFlyer membership base to use ‘digital KrisFlyer miles’ for point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants.” 


Apple Pay to launch in Brazil ‘soon’

Apple Pay expanding to Brazil soon — MacRumors — “Apple Pay is set to expand to Brazil later this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed in today’s first quarter earnings call. While Apple didn’t provide an exact date for the launch of Apple Pay in Brazil, Cook did say it would come soon… Apple Pay grew 50% year-over-year, and it is now accepted at more than half of all retail locations in the United States, and at two-thirds of the country’s top retailers. Global Apple Pay purchase volume was also up.” 


eBay to replace PayPal as its main payments provider

eBay to intermediate payments on its Marketplace platform — eBay — “eBay intends to further improve its customer experience by intermediating payments on its Marketplace platform. In doing so, eBay will manage the payments flow, simplifying the end-to-end experience for buyers and sellers… eBay will move as quickly as possible to complete this process within the parameters of the operating agreement with PayPal, which remains in place through mid-2020.” 


Alibaba takes 33% stake in Alipay operator Ant Financial

Alibaba agrees to 33% stake in Ant Financial — Alibaba — “An equity stake in Ant Financial will bring key strategic benefits to Alibaba, including advancing its New Retail strategy with mobile payments, increasing user acquisition and retention through collaboration with the Alipay digital wallet (“Alipay Wallet”), and enhancing the execution of the international expansion… Upon closing, the companies will terminate the current profit-sharing arrangement under which Ant Financial pays royalty and technology service fees in an amount equal to 37.5% of its pre-tax profits to Alibaba.” 


Apple to let iPhone X owners use Face ID to approve kids’ purchases

iPhone X owners will soon be able to use Face ID to approve family purchases — The Verge — “In iOS 11.3, purchase approvals on a parent’s device can be done through Face ID, after a one-time request to enter their password. Previously, iPhone X owners found the Ask to Buy iOS feature that allows parents to control what children buy with their phone didn’t work with Face ID. Parents had to enter their passwords manually for every purchase, to the chagrin of many customers.” 


Amazon tests its own QR codes

Amazon is experimenting with its own QR code style ‘SmileCodes’ — Techcrunch — “Amazon has apparently been testing these codes in pop-up shops and Amazon Lockers in Europe for a few weeks now, but the company says these codes will make their US debut in a few different magazines (Cosmopolitan and Seventeen) come February… It’s probably safe to assume we’ll eventually see Amazon tinker with putting these codes on another massively common canvas: its own boxes.” 


Mobile payments drive 60% growth in demand for NFC phones in Russia

In Russia, booming sales of smartphones that support contactless payments — Vedomosti (translation) — “Demand for them is being driven by the emergence of payment systems from Apple, Samsung and Google. Sales of smartphones that support contactless payments using NFC technology (near field communication), in 2017 compared to 2016, grew by 60% in Russia… Over the past year in Russia, about 8.3m such devices were sold.” 



Huawei Pay targets Eastern European launches

UnionPay International and Huawei sign global cooperation agreement — UnionPay International — “Next, UnionPay International and Huawei plan to launch Huawei Pay in more markets along the Belt and Road, especially in the Eastern Europe… Huawei Pay now supports the bank cards issued by 66 issuers and is available with 20 terminal devices including mobile phones and watches… In 2017, the transaction volume via Huawei Pay exceeded RMB4bn (US$632m).” 


Survey finds Samsung Pay influences repeat purchases of Samsung phones in Spain

Samsung Pay reaches 100m euros in transactions since its launch in Spain — Samsung Spain (translation) — “70% of respondents say that one of the reasons to buy a Samsung smartphone is to continue enjoying this service… The same study found that the use of mobile payment has increased notably in 2017, with 19% of users compared to 5% registered in 2016…. The convenience and simplicity offered by Samsung Pay are key factors for 75% of the respondents who gave the service a high satisfaction rating.” 


Consumers call for biometric logins to financial services apps

IBM Future of Identity study: Millennials poised to disrupt authentication landscape — IBM — “Security was vastly ranked as the top priority for banking, investing, and budgeting apps — for these categories on average 70% selected security as the top priority, with 16% selecting privacy, and 14% selecting convenience… 44% ranked fingerprint biometrics as one of the most secure methods of authentication; passwords and PINs were seen as less secure (27% and 12% respectively).” 


Canada to test blockchain and biometric identity concept that lets travellers control their own ID

Canada to test advancements in biometrics and blockchain to welcome international travellers — World Economic Forum — “The Known Traveller concept is founded on the principle that an individual traveller has control over the use of their own identity and its components. Due to this decentralization of control over the components of their identity, a traveller can push proof of their identity information — secured by distributed ledger technology and cryptography — to governmental and private-sector entities throughout their journey.” 


Samsung patents blood flow biometric for smartphones and wearables

Samsung’s patent shows authenticating users by measuring their blood flow patterns — SamMobile — “The patent describes a method to identify users based on blood flow patterns in their fingers or wrists using sensors in smartphones and smartwatches… According to the patent application, it is possible to authenticate users based on their blood flow patterns as ‘the arterial conduction paths of different users are almost never identical’.” 


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