Ant Financial raises $10bn at a $150bn valuation

China’s Ant Financial raises $10 billion at $150 billion valuation: sources — Reuters — “Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China’s biggest online payment platform by market share, Alipay, has closed its latest funding round having raised US$10bn from a clutch of global and local investors, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Ant’s first fundraising targeting global money values the firm at US$150bn, the people said, compared with about US$60bn after its previous fundraising in April 2016.” 


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.” 


Asian ride hailing giant Grab to let users pay for public transit with its app

Bid to enable public transit payments via GrabPay — The Straits Times — “In future, the Grab app will give commuters a range of options — from a direct point-to-point method, using taxis or private hire cars, or through multiple modes including transfers on shuttle buses, cars and public transport. ‘You pay everything in a seamless way — cashless — through GrabPay.” 


Australian banks launch Beem It P2P payments app

Big bank-backed Beem It launches Aussie payments app — ZDNet — “The Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac joined forces to create Beem It, allowing the real-time transfer of funds… The app enables sending and receiving money, with an interface reminiscent of a social media app… ‘It’s using Eftpos, and Visa debit card payment rails,’ Beem It chief product and development officer Deepesh Banerji said.” 


Chinese banks report growth in mobile payments volumes

Chinese banks post robust growth in mobile payments — Xinhua — “Chinese banks posted robust growth in mobile payments in the first quarter of this year, according to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Banking institutions handled 70.8 trillion yuan (US$11.1tn) in mobile payments in the period, up 16.8% year on year, the central bank data showed. Around 10.7bn payments were made through the banks’ mobile services in the first quarter, an increase of 17.8% year on year.” 


London’s buskers to go contactless

Busking goes cashless with ‘a world first’ for London — BBC — “London has introduced a contactless payment scheme for buskers in what the organisers claim is a world first. In addition to tossing loose change into a box, passers-by can use card readers to make contactless payments…The scheme will be be rolled out across the city after successful trials.” 


Apple to add new NFC features in iOS 12?

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will be held in California next week

Apple is set to announce that iOS 12 will include “a significant change” to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities that “could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways”, according to a report in The Information. More


Marshall Islands to issue official digital currency

Marshall Islands to issue own sovereign cryptocurrency — Reuters — “The Marshall Islands will issue its own cryptocurrency that will be circulated as legal tender along with the US dollar… SOV is based on what the Marshall Islands government calls the ‘Yakwe framework’, which requires users to identify themselves on the blockchain, solving the anonymity problem that has plagued bitcoin and precluded its mainstream adoption.” 


Retailers raise concerns over card networks’ plans for a single buy button

Visa, Mastercard push for one-click ordering. Retailers say ‘not so fast’ — The Wall Street Journal — “Representatives of large retailers including Walmart Inc and Home Depot Inc met with federal regulators this week to raise concerns about a new online payment initiative that Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc are preparing to roll out… Retailers’ main concern with combining the buttons is that merchants won’t be able to route their debit card transactions to lower-cost networks.” 


AmEx to personalize rewards to specific members and products

On the Money: Credit cards to perfect targeting program — The Associated Press — “American Express is piloting a program that will allow merchants to reward customers for purchasing specific items at their stores, starting with online merchant Boxed… Beyond promoting specific items, the change will also let American Express and its merchant customers target promotions to very specific customers.” 


JCB to add support for Google Pay in Japan

JCB to offer Google Pay in Japan — JCB — “JCB will enable Google Pay for in-store payments in Japan through its QuicPay contactless payment solution. At launch, Google Pay users will be able to make payments on their enrolled JCB credit, debit, or prepaid card at convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores, and other shops where QuicPay is accepted and online wherever JCB is accepted. Credit, debit, and prepaid cards can be enrolled using the Google Pay app on Osaifu Keitai supported devices with Android OS 5.0 or higher version.” 


South African retail giant Shoprite moves into mobile payments and banking

Banking services now more accessible with Shoprite Money — Shoprite — “This new service will enable customers to deposit, withdraw or send money as well as buy groceries at any of the till points in all Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper or Usave stores across South Africa… Shoprite Money is set to roll out in multiple countries in Africa over the next 12 to 18 months, which will hold additional benefits for customers including seamless and cost effective cross-border remittance.” 


Hyundai to add support for payments in cars

Hyundai and Xevo partner to put your wallet on wheels — Hyundai Motor America — “Right now, you can find and pay for things with your smartphone, smartwatch or computer. With this in mind, Hyundai is developing technology that will allow customers to find and pay for coffee, gas and parking using their car’s infotainment screen.” 


Google Pay adds support for Japanese payment cards

Now you can add Suica and Waon to Google Pay in Japan — Google — “Starting today, you can add and manage your Suica and Waon cards in Google Pay if you live in Japan and have an Osaifu-Keitai eligible phone. This means four major Japanese prepaid e-money cards — Nanaco, Rakuten Edy, Suica and Waon — can all be used with Google Pay. You’ll be able to pay with Google Pay at the hundreds of locations that accept any of these cards, plus pay on transit anywhere Suica is accepted.” 



Maybank teams up with GrabPay for mobile payments in Malaysia

Grab partners Maybank to promote GrabPay in Malaysia — The Straits Times — “The tie-up brings the GrabPay mobile wallet to its second country after Singapore. Grab has plans to roll out the GrabPay service across all eight countries in South-east Asia this year… Maybank’s Malaysia customers will be able to use the GrabPay mobile wallet to conduct both payments at Maybank’s key merchants, and to top-up their mobile wallet directly from their bank accounts. Maybank customers who use GrabPay to pay for rides and other services on Grab will enjoy exclusive benefits and rewards.” 


Starbucks continues to lead the US mobile payments market

eMarketer: US proximity mobile payment user penetration by platform, 2017-2022

23.4 million US consumers aged 14 and over will use Starbucks’ mobile app to make a purchase at the point of sale at least once every six months this year, research from eMarketer has found. Apple Pay will be used by 22 million people, Google Pay by 11.1 million and Samsung Pay by 9.9 million people. More


Translink adds mobile payments for transit users in Vancouver

Tap to Pay — Translink — “On May 22, our card readers will accept contactless Visa and Mastercard credit cards and Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. For customers without Compass Cards, this new feature will mean no more ticket line-ups, digging for exact change, or worrying about pre-calculating zones. You can tap a contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card or mobile-payment method on card readers to pay your adult, cash fare. Note: card readers will not accept debit cards.” 


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