WeChat opens unmanned store in Shanghai

WeChat opens its first unmanned store in Shanghai — ECNS — “Shoppers need to scan a QR code with their WeChat app to enter the store. Sensors at the exit detect the shopper’s selections and automatically charge their WeChat wallet when they go through a ‘payment door’… WeChat payment industry operations director Bai Zhenjie said it takes less than 0.1 seconds for a customer to pay a bill. He added that facial and image recognition technology may be adopted in the store in the future.”



Japanese NFC pioneer NTT Docomo to introduce QR code payments

NTT Docomo to start QR code payment — NHK — “Major Japanese mobile carrier NTT Docomo says its subscribers will be able to pay at stores using a QR code… The payments will be added to a monthly bill, or deducted from a credit card. Subscribers will have to download an app on their smartphone to use the service. It will be available at some 19,000 retailers and restaurants nationwide. Docomo says that figure will rise to 100,000 in a year.”




Alipay reports mobile payments adoption stats

Mobile devices handle some 80% of Alipay’s online payments in 2017 — ECNS — “New data from Alipay show 82% of the transactions on its platform in 2017 were made through mobile devices, mostly smart phones. This ratio is said to be an all-time high… There were 520m Alipay users in China, or around 37% of the country’s population, in 2017… More than 40m small retailers across China, according to Alipay, established their own quick response codes in 2017… Bus and subway networks in more than 30 Chinese cities began allowing passengers to pay fares via Alipay through 2017.”


China’s central bank to begin testing QR code payments registration and settlement regulations from April

China’s central bank to standardize QR code payment — Xinhua — “The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced plans Wednesday to regulate QR code payment to contain risks arising from the popular service. Payment institutions must obtain proper permits to offer barcode-based payment services, according to a document released by the PBOC. Both banks and non-banking payment institutions must channel cross-bank transactions involving barcodes through the clearing system of the PBOC or other legal clearing houses… The standards will be put into trial use from April.”



UnionPay details its mobile payment app for China’s banks

Unified app of China’s banking industry, ‘Mobile QuickPass’ officially launches today — China UnionPay — “The ‘Mobile QuickPass’ app is a unified mobile payment portal jointly developed and maintained by commercial banks and UnionPay, under the guidance of the People’s Bank of China. Customers are able to link their bank cards to the app, manage different bank accounts, and enjoy the mobile payment services and benefits offered by each bank. The services offered by this app also include UnionPay QR code payment, signing up for various mobile payment solutions, comprehensive credit card services, P2P real-time transfer and payment services in various scenarios.”


Octopus adds QR payments for taxi rides in Hong Kong

Hong Kong e-payment operator Octopus launches QR code service, aiming to get city’s 40,000 taxi drivers off cash — South China Morning Post — “Hong Kong cashless payment operator Octopus has launched a QR code service aimed at small merchants and the city’s 40,000 taxi drivers, who have long been reluctant to accept anything but cash. The new payment method, which only requires a smartphone on each side of the transaction, eliminates the need for merchants to install Octopus card readers, which at certain locations are bound by technical limitations.”


Bangkok street food vendors switch to mobile payments

Bangkok’s street food vendors are embracing mobile payments — Travel Wire Asia — “Street food vendors in Bangkok are embracing the digital revolution by offering e-payment methods for cashless transactions via smartphones… Vendors in the capital Bangkok are offering cashless payments after the Bank of Thailand (BOT) gave the green light for five banks to implement electronic payment systems using Quick Response (QR) barcodes.”


Starling Bank integrates third party rewards into open banking platform

Starling and Yoyo Wallet: Enabling loyalty with open banking — Starling Bank — “With any other bank, in order to collect loyalty points you would have to manually pay using the Yoyo app using a QR code scanner. However we have created an experience together with Yoyo, using our APIs, which means you don’t need to use any separate apps to pay. You just need to securely connect your Yoyo account to your Starling account from the Yoyo app and allow Yoyo to view your Starling account transactions. You will then be able to collect loyalty points whenever you use your Starling card, Apple Pay or Fitbit Pay at a merchant partner.”


Issuers to adopt common QR code for payments in Singapore from 2018

Common Singapore QR code to be rolled out next year — Channel News Asia — “A common Singapore Quick Response Code (SG QR) will be rolled out and adopted by payment service providers in Singapore next year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Monday… Payment services providers in Singapore have also committed to update their mobile payment apps for consumers to read the SG QR. The newly announced NETS QR will be part of SG QR as will other payment service providers such as Singtel Dash QR.”


UK supermarkets to test face recognition for proof-of-age at self-checkout tills

Supermarket self-service tills replace ID checks with facial recognition — The Telegraph — “The technology will be used to remove in-person age checks when customers are buying alcohol and other age restricted items… Using Yoti at a self service till would involve a QR code showing up on the checkout screen, which could be scanned by the app. The Yoti app would then scan the shopper’s face to confirm their identity, and would then connect to the till over the internet to verify the purchase.”


Pinterest rolls out QR-like Pincodes for stores, brands and magazines

Introducing Pincodes! Discover ideas from brands and publishers — Pinterest — “Nordstrom will now feature Pincodes throughout select stores. When you come across one, just pull out your Pinterest app to unlock a little inspiration, like Nordstrom’s carefully curated Gifts Under $100 board. You’ll also start seeing Pincodes on products from Kraft Heinz (just imagine the recipes you’ll turn up!), in select Home Depot stores, from auto companies like Kia’s exhibit in the LA Auto Show and throughout the December issue of Real Simple.”


China UnionPay tests NFC and QR transit payments

Public transport alliances set to boost UnionPay — China Daily — “In the first 19 cities where UnionPay pilot mobile payment applications will be used in public transportation, UnionPay provides users with comprehensive solutions including mobile phone QuickPass, bankcard QuickPass and QR code payment… According to Ge Huayong, president of UnionPay, more than 40 banks now accept UnionPay’s QR code payment transactions and an additional 60 or so banks are testing their systems.”


eMarketer raises mobile payments forecast for China

eMarketer projects surge in mobile payments in China — eMarketer — “eMarketer has raised its projections by more than 86% for 2017, and now expects 461.4 million people in the country to use a phone to pay at the POS… By 2021, 79.3% of smartphone users will be tapping, scanning and swiping at the POS. By comparison, the US will have 31% of users doing so, and that figure will be 23% in Germany.”


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.”


Google reports 7.5m users of its Tez audio QR mobile payments app

Edited transcript of Alphabet earnings conference call — Yahoo Finance — “To help millions of people, we are building products specifically designed for local markets in Asia. In India last month, we launched Tez, a mobile payments and commerce app that already has more than 7.5 million users who have made more than 30m transactions. I’m really excited about the potential this brings for India’s mostly cash-based economy.”



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