Blockchain mobile payments pilot to go live in Mongolia

Blockchain firm Terra to launch instant remittance, lending services in Mongolia’s capital city — e27 — “The pilot programme in Nalaikh City will launch with two main features: peer-to-peer (P2P) payments to allow instant transfer among users of different banks, and mobile payments to build the infrastructure for secure, contactless payments… The programme is set to launch within the next six months.”



Apple Pay set to go live in Czech Republic and Slovakia?

Apple Pay expected to launch in Czech Republic and Slovakia in late February to early March — MacRumors — “Apple Pay will launch in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in late February to early March, according to Seznam Zprávy and Živé… Czech Republic’s two largest banks Česká Spořitelna and Komerční Banka, along with mBank, Moneta, and Air Bank, will reportedly be among the first financial institutions to offer Apple Pay to customers in the Czech Republic. Equa Bank and Banka Creditas may follow suit within the first half of the year.”




Honda to leverage in-car payments for driver rewards program

Honda Dream Drive to deliver next-generation infotainment, commerce, services and rewards to drivers and passengers — Honda — “Since 2016, Honda has worked with Visa to build and enhance the in-vehicle payment experience to make payments more convenient and secure. Now, Honda is expanding its in-vehicle payment collaboration to include Mastercard and PayPal… Honda Developer Studio is user testing a new points-based rewards program to benefit drivers and passengers for using Honda products and services. Drivers and passengers can earn rewards points for participating in a variety of activities including purchasing services, watching and listening to media, and playing games.”




Motiv to add NFC payments to its fitness ring

Motiv is bringing NFC-based payments to its fitness ring — Techcrunch — “Announced way back at CES 2016, Motiv’s fitness ring was surprisingly capable and accurate for its tiny form factor. Earlier this year, the startup promised to bring even more functionality to the finger, starting with biometric authentication that uses a wearer’s gait to unlock devices. This year at the show, the company’s got a handful of additional new features to show off. Most interesting among them is upcoming addition of mobile payments, via NFC.”


UnionPay offers access to payments APIs

UnionPay International gives global developers access to its APIs — UnionPay International — “UnionPay International is providing three types of services via UPI Developer: First, offer open access to its major APIs. Developers now have access to the APIs of 18 of UnionPay’s most popular payment and data services, including QR code payment and Token. Second, offer a combination of multiple APIs to provide partners with one-stop payment solutions, assisting them in both product developing and commercial application. Third, offer diverse technical support services, including technical documentation, technical guidance and product testing and certification.”


Sydney commuters can now use Fitbit wearables to pay for transit rides

Sydneysiders can now use Fitbit Pay to quickly and easily tap on & off at transit readers — Fitbit — “Following the contactless payment strategy rolled out by NSW Transport on Sydney’s ferry, light rail and train networks in November, Fitbit users can now use selected Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards loaded into their Fitbit Pay Wallet to pay for their trip… Fitbit users in Sydney with a Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa and its newest tracker, Fitbit Charge 3, can now leave their Opal cards at home and instead use Fitbit Pay on their Fitbit device to quickly and easily pay for public transport.”


Mercedes partners with Garmin for NFC smartwatch

Garmin collaborates with Daimler to bring connected features to Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the Vivoactive 3 GPS smartwatch — Garmin — “In addition to providing heart rate data and a driver’s stress level, the Vivoactive 3 GPS smartwatch will be exclusively modified for Mercedes-Benz customers with custom branded materials and display screens. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is one of the company’s flagship smartwatches and is packed with features that include built-in indoor and outdoor sports apps, smart notification alerts delivered right to the wrist, and a contactless payment solution to make secure payments from the watch thanks to Garmin Pay.”


Chinese mobile payment users set to double by 2023

Mobile payments market in China is expected to witness three-fold growth with doubling of active mobile payment users by 2023 — Frost & Sullivan — “The market of mobile payments services in China is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.8% from 2017 to 2023, growing three-fold from US$29.93 trillion to US$96.73 trillion. The total number of active mobile payment customers is expected to reach 956 million by 2023 from 562 million in 2017 which will attract additional investments from mobile payments market participants.”


Google adds a payments license in Ireland

Google gets go-ahead from Central Bank for payments — The Irish Times — “Google has been authorised as a payment institution in the Republic, paving the way for the technology giant to begin providing new financial services to consumers and businesses both here and further afield. The Central Bank granted authorisation to Google Payment Ireland under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation on Christmas Eve. Having obtained authorisation, the company will be allowed to issue and acquire payments across the European Union under passporting rights.”


JCB begins EMV QR mobile payments rollout

JCB launches QR code payment in the Asian region — JCB — “Bank SinoPac in Taiwan and Sacombank in Vietnam became the first banks to offer the JCB QR Code Payment service. SinoPac will start the service full scale at merchants who used to accept only cash such as fish markets, flower markets and taxis in January 2019… Sacombank has just announced its new mobile banking app ‘Sacombank Pay’, for which their JCB cardmember can choose JCB Card as a source of funds.”


Mizuho signs up sixty banks for J Coin cryptocurrency payments launch

Mizuho to launch digital currency to promote cashless payments in March — Nikkei Asian Review — “Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a proprietary digital currency that can be used for shopping and remitted at no cost… To make use of the currency, users will download a dedicated app on their smartphone. Payments will be made using QR codes… Regional banks will be able to provide the same service under the same, yet-to-be-named brand to their customers.”



Softbank-backed PayPay to update mobile payments app ‘after wrongful charge complaints’

Japan’s PayPay to update app after wrongful charge complaints — Bloomberg — “An unspecified number of customers called in and e-mailed to report charges on their bills that they didn’t recognize, according to PayPay spokesman Fumihiro Ito. Several consumers say they hadn’t even installed the app but their credit cards were billed for purchases they didn’t make… PayPay triggered a shopping frenzy earlier this month by promising to give users 10bn yen (US$88m) in rebates from their purchases.”


German savings banks press Apple to open up its NFC chip

Mobile payment: Sparkassen wants iPhone NFC, but no Apple Pay — Heise Online (translation) — “Apple must open the NFC transmission standard to other payment services, the savings bank association has demanded… Sparkasse offers its own mobile payment app, which until now has only been available for Android devices due to Apple’s NFC blockade. ‘Ultimately, smartphone payments should be possible on all devices, without technical hurdles and restrictions, so that customers can easily choose the right solution for them,’ the association argues.”


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