Alipay parent Ant Financial to go public at a $100bn valuation?

China’s Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $100 billion valuation — Reuters — “China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to US$5bn (£3.59bn) in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than US$100bn… A fundraising would bring Ant, in which e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is taking a one-third stake, a step closer to a hotly anticipated initial public offering.” 

Apple Pay runs first promo to work both online and in-app

Apple offering Valentine’s Day discount for Apple Pay purchases via 1-800-Flowers — 9To5Mac — “Apple is giving users a $15 discount at the merchant when checking out with Apple Pay. This offer is valid online, or through the app, making it the first Apple Pay promo to be available both in-app and online… Apple has been offering weekly in-app Apple Pay discounts as it looks to push more users to try out the payment method. Last week, Apple offered Under Armour users discounts when checking out with Apple Pay. Previous weeks have offered discounts for Dunkin’ Donuts users, the Goat sneaker app, and SpotHero parking.” 

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.” 

Samsung partners with Grab for mobile payments in south-east Asia

Grab and Samsung sign MOU to drive digital inclusion in south-east Asia — Samsung — “Grab and Samsung will work together on a wide range of initiatives to bring the benefits of technology, such as enhanced customer experiences and improved income opportunities, to millions of consumers and Grab driver-partners across south-east Asia… The two companies will also work together to expand into south-east Asia’s fragmented mobile payments ecosystem and provide a mobile payments solution that will serve the needs of consumers in south-east Asia.” 

Garmin picks NXP chip for wearable payments

NXP and Garmin team up to bring secure and convenient NFC mobile payments to new fitness wearables — NXP — PARTNER NEWS — “[Garmin] has chosen NXP’s PN80T embedded secure element and NFC solution… ‘In collaborating with NXP, we can better provide the ultimate on-the-go lifestyle to our customers,’ said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. ‘This technology, featured on the Vivoactive 3 and Forerunner 645 Music, enables customers to leave their cash and credit cards at home and securely make purchases where NFC payments are accepted.’” 

Apple to accept Alipay mobile payments at its stores in China

Apple brings Alibaba-linked payment system into China stores amid market push — Reuters — “The tie-up will make Alipay, run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at any physical Apple store worldwide… The Cupertino-based firm will accept Alipay payment across its 41 brick-and-mortar retail stores in China.” 

Line Pay tops mobile payments adoption poll in Taiwan

Line Pay top mobile payment system in Taiwan: Survey — Focus Taiwan — “25.2% of respondents who used mobile payment systems favoured Line Pay, ahead of Apple Pay provided by Apple Inc which was used by 17.9% of those surveyed. The survey found Jko Pay provided by Taiwan’s Jkos Network Co came in third, taking a 10.9% share, followed by Android Pay operated by Google Inc with 9.9% share, and E Sun Wallet provided by E Sun Commercial Bank with 5.2%.” 

Nets to use taxi drivers to recruit new mobile payments merchants

Nets roping in 15,000 cabbies to nudge hawkers to go cashless — The Straits Times — “To coax hawkers to go cashless, e-payment giant Nets is going to enlist the help of an unconventional army: ComfortDelGro’s 15,000 cabbies. The cabbies will get a ‘monetary reward’ for every hawker they get to sign up to use the Nets QR code system… This Hawker Champion programme is now being tested by 100 cabbies, and will be rolled out to the full fleet in the next few months. The tie-up will help hasten the national effort to get more transactions to go cashless.” 

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.” 

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