Nordic banks to build new payments infrastructure for instant cross-border payments

Banks are building a super-speed money highway in the Nordics — Bloomberg — “The P27 project — so-called for the 27 million people who live in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland — will build on the success of smartphone payment applications that Nordic banks have already created, like Swish in Sweden, Norway’s Vipps, and MobilePay in Denmark… The aim is to make it possible to clear payments and settle accounts within seconds, regardless of currency.”


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.”


Hong Kong to be global battlefront for mobile payments?

A payments battle is brewing in Hong Kong — Bloomberg — “Alipay’s azure blue logos began appearing two years ago in Hong Kong’s airport, greeting travelers from China who rely on the popular payments app back home. In recent months, taxis got them. Now stores and boutiques have them. They’re all signs of a battle brewing in Hong Kong that will test whether a Western-style financial system — based on banks, credit and debit cards — can fend off a pair of apps that have come to dominate how people spend and send money throughout China. If Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat Pay can expand into the city and win new customers there, why not in Europe and the US, too?”


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.”


Amazon to offer discounts to merchants that sign up for Amazon Pay

Amazon offers retailers discounts to adopt payment system — Bloomberg — “Amazon.com Inc is offering to pass along the discounts it gets on credit card fees to other retailers if they use its online payments service, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in a new threat to PayPal Holdings Inc and card-issuing banks. The move shows Amazon is willing to sacrifice the profitability of its payments system to spread its use.”


Card networks to co-develop single buy button for online transactions

Shiny new button may help Visa, Mastercard and AmEx fight PayPal — Bloomberg — “Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc, the world’s largest card networks, told an industry conference they will combine their Visa Checkout and Masterpass payment options into a single button. Spokesmen for American Express Co and Discover Financial Services said their firms also will join the project… The new system will rely on Visa and Mastercard’s token technology.”


China opens up its payments market to foreign companies

China allows foreigners to enter $27tn payments market — Bloomberg — “Foreign players can start applying for payment licenses and will be treated the same as local firms, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on Wednesday. Applicants must set up local units, establish payment infrastructure — including disaster recovery systems — and store client information domestically, the central bank said.”


Messaging service Line looks to cryptocurrencies for payments

Line explores cryptocurrencies for payment services, sources say — Bloomberg — “The messaging provider is in discussions with multiple companies on using cryptocurrencies for payment services including Line Pay, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The broader goal is to create products that keep users within Line’s ecosystem and keep them coming back to the app, increasing ‘stickiness,’ they said.”



Paytm CEO sets out plans to become the world’s largest digital bank

Alibaba-backed Paytm aims to become world’s largest digital bank — Bloomberg — “Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500m accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading… The bank grew out of Paytm’s digital wallet, which amassed over a hundred million customers after India took high-denomination bills — or nearly 90% of the value of cash — out of circulation last November.”


Amazon moves closer to rollout of automated stores

Amazon’s cashierless store is almost ready for prime time — Bloomberg — “For the past year, Amazon employees have been test driving Amazon Go, an experimental convenience store in downtown Seattle. The idea is to let consumers walk in, pick up items and then pay for them without ever standing in line at a cashier… In a sign that the concept is almost ready for prime time, hiring for the Amazon Go team has shifted from the engineers and research scientists needed to perfect the platform to the construction managers and marketers who would build and promote the stores to consumers.”


Canadian banks, carriers and government back blockchain-based digital IDs

Forget iris scans, Canadians to use blockchain for digital IDs — Bloomberg — “Soon Canadians will be able to verify personal information for everything from driver’s licenses to banking using mobile phones and blockchain… Canada’s six largest lenders, including Toronto-Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada invested C$30m (US$24m) in the project. The country’s three main wireless carriers — owned by Rogers Communications Inc, Telus Corp and BCE Inc — are also involved through their EnStream venture, along with a number of provincial governments.”


Walmart Pay to overtake Apple Pay in the US?

Walmart Pay threatens to surpass Apple in US mobile payments — Bloomberg — “Available in 4,774 stores, Walmart Pay is enrolling tens of thousands of new users a day, up from thousands four or five months ago, said Daniel Eckert, who runs the business. Two-thirds of the customers who try it also use it a second time within 21 days, he said, giving him confidence Walmart Pay will surpass Apple Pay in the US in terms of use by shoppers in stores where they’re accepted.”


Visa gives approval to prepaid cryptocurrency card

Visa approves Monaco cryptocurrency card for Singapore residents — Bloomberg — “Visa Inc has approved a prepaid card backed by the cryptocurrency Monaco as the world’s largest payments network continues its foray into digital currencies… Visa has also approved programs for BitPay and Shift Card that allow consumers to convert cryptocurrencies into legal tender and deposit those funds into a bank account that is linked to a Visa debit or prepaid card.”


Taxi hailing app Grab targets Asian mobile payment market

Grab starts mobile wallet service at hawker stalls in Singapore — Bloomberg — “Grab will enable its four million users in the city-state to scan a quick response, or QR, code to pay for local dishes such as chicken rice and prawn noodles at hawker stands around the country. Grab plans to increase the number of small merchants accepting GrabPay from 25 to 1,000 by the end of December… The five-year-old startup plans to roll out mobile wallet services across the region next year, according to co-founder Tan Hooi Ling.”


Apple cuts Face ID performance to address iPhone X production issues

Inside Apple’s struggle to get the iPhone X to market on time — Bloomberg — “As of early fall, it was clearer than ever that production problems meant Apple Inc wouldn’t have enough iPhone Xs in time for the holidays. The challenge was how to make the sophisticated phone — with advanced features such as facial recognition — in large enough numbers… Apple came up with a solution: It quietly told suppliers they could reduce the accuracy of the face-recognition technology to make it easier to manufacture.”


Barclays CEO: Payments is the battleground of finance

Barclays CEO says bank must protect payments business from Apple, Amazon — Bloomberg — “Barclays Plc will need to defend its advantages in the payments business from encroachment by technology companies including Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc, according to chief executive officer Jes Staley. ‘There are some tectonic shifts going on, driven by tech and the geopolitical environment… All the banks are very focused on the payments space. That may be where the battleground of finance is fought over the next 15 years.’”


US government to explore new national ID concepts

The White House and Equifax agree: Social security numbers should go — Bloomberg — “The Trump administration is exploring ways to replace the use of Social Security numbers as the main method of assuring people’s identities in the wake of consumer credit agency Equifax Inc’s massive data breach. The administration has called on federal departments and agencies to look into the vulnerabilities of employing the identifier tied to retirement benefits, as well as how to replace the existing system.”


Alibaba challenges Google, Amazon with new Echo-like device

Alibaba challenges Google, Amazon with new Echo-like device — Bloomberg — “Importantly, the gadget — powered by the AliGenie system — may eventually simplify shopping for the Chinese e-commerce giant’s 450 million active buyers who turn to the website for everything from cherries to makeup. It will begin formal sales from August 8 only for China and won’t come with a display.”


Apple tests 3D face scanning to unlock next iPhone

Apple tests 3D face scanning to unlock next iPhone — Bloomberg — “For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product… The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of the people said.”


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