Apple Pay launches in Norway

Nordea launches Apple Pay in Norway, DNB stays focused on Vipps — Reuters — “Nordea Bank launched Apple Pay to its customers in Norway on Wednesday… Visa separately said Apple Pay will also be available to Norwegian customers at Santander Bank, and soon also at Sbanken. Norway’s biggest bank DNB said it had been in dialogue with Apple, but will so far not offer Apple Pay to its customers as it would rather concentrate on its self-made Vipps payment solution.”


Ant Financial to pivot away from Alipay?

Exclusive: Ant Financial shifts focus from finance to tech services: sources — Reuters — “Ant Financial Services Group, the dominant Chinese fintech company, is shifting its main focus to technology services and away from payments and consumer finance as Beijing’s crackdown on financial risk deepens, four sources with knowledge of the matter said… They said the move was propelled, in part, by growing regulatory pressure on Ant’s core financial businesses, including payments, micro lending, credit rating and wealth management.”


Citigroup to use rewards to turn credit card customers into digital bank account holders

Citigroup won’t use high deposit rates to win digital accounts: executive — Reuters — “Citigroup Inc does not plan to use high deposit rates to attract customers to its new digital bank accounts when it begins marketing this fall, the chief of its global consumer bank said on Tuesday… Instead, the bank will market the accounts nationally to its credit card customers, such as holders of its Double Cash card and cards it issues for American Airlines Group, and Costco Wholesale Corp and Home Depot Inc… Bird said, for example, that offering additional American Airlines mileage credits will attract stable deposits to the bank.”


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.”


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.”


Apple Pay goes live in Brazil

Apple Pay arrives in Brazil, partnering with Itaú Unibanco — Reuters — “Apple Inc’s mobile payment platform Apple Pay arrived in Brazil on Wednesday with an exclusive partnership with Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, the country’s largest private lender. The bank said Apple Pay will be available during the 90-day exclusive period to Itaú’s roughly 1.2 million card holders who also own an iPhone 6 or higher. Under the terms of the partnership, Brazilian retailers such as GPA SA will offer discounts on purchases using Apple Pay.”


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 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.”


Israel considers issuing a digital currency to speed up payments

Israel central bank mulls issuing digital currency for faster payments — Reuters — “The Bank of Israel is examining issuing digital currency as a means of creating a faster payments system as well as reducing the amount of cash in the economy, a central bank source said… The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the government was ready to legislate or include the issue in its 2019 budget and economic package if the central bank gave the green light.”


Central bank requires Chinese mobile payments providers to set aside customers’ prepaid funds

China’s central bank to raise reserve funds ratio of third-party payment firms to 50% — Reuters — “China’s central bank said it will gradually raise the reserve funds ratio of third-party payment firms to 50% by April 2018 from a current rate of 20%, as it continues to ramp up regulation of the industry… It will eventually ban non-bank payment firms from making any private investments with money deposited by users, which would see the reserve rate at some point increased to 100%.”


ECB survey finds cash still dominates payments in the euro zone

Euro zone consumers still addicted to cash when they buy — Reuters — “Cash still dominates consumer payments in the euro zone, even as many Western economies are rapidly moving towards electronic payments, a survey published by the European Central Bank showed on Friday… The figures indicate that the euro zone is one of the slowest among big Western economies in giving up cash, trailing countries like the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada.”


Swiss consumers to get single digital ID

Just one password? Swiss groups plan single online identity — Reuters — “Swiss consumers will be able to use a single digital identity to buy online products and services under a project unveiled on Tuesday by nine big companies. The aim is to let people use just one login profile to order in shops, buy train tickets or do banking transactions, according to the consortium… It includes UBS, Credit Suisse, Swisscom, Swiss Post, stock exchange operator Six, Raiffeisen, Swiss Railways, Zuercher Kantonalbank and insurer Mobiliar.”


Norwegian banks to form joint venture in bid to combat threat of global tech giants

Norwegian banks to combine payment units Vipps, BankAxept, BankID — Reuters — “Norwegian banks agree to combine payment units Vipps, BankAxept and BankID Norge to improve product offering and prepare for competition against global tech firms… DNB CEO Rune Bjerke said: “We have two choices. Either let the existing payments infrastructure wither away, or join forces and push forward.”


US to open up banking market to non-banks?

US regulator says time to review mixing banking with other businesses — Reuters — “US regulations that bar companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc from providing banking services need to be reviewed as they reduce competition thereby concentrating more risk among a smaller number of banks, a US banking regulator said… Noreika on Wednesday said that allowing non-financial companies to run banks could strengthen the banking system by boosting competition and increasing diversity. The OCC is exploring providing a charter specifically for financial technology providers such as payment processor Square Inc.”



Nordea and Danske to join Norway’s Vipps mobile payment system

Nordea joins rival DNB’s Vipps payment app in Norway — Reuters — “Top Nordic bank Nordea will start offering rival DNB’s mobile payment app to customers in Norway, leading Danske Bank to shut its service in the country, the companies said on Wednesday… Copenhagen-based Danske Bank said it would no longer offer the Mobilepay service to Norwegian customers, and that it would instead seek a distribution deal with DNB.”



Federal Trade Commission to investigate Equifax data breach

FTC probes Equifax, top Democrat likens it to Enron — Reuters — “The US Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday it was investigating Equifax Inc’s massive data breach, and a top Democrat suggested the credit monitoring company’s corporate leaders might need to resign… Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer compared Equifax to Enron, the US energy company that filed for bankruptcy in 2001 after revelations of a widespread accounting fraud.”


TransferWise links with Apple Pay globally

TransferWise links with Apple Pay globally — Reuters — “The London-based money transfer company said on Thursday that it was joining with Apple Inc’s payments service in the US and a handful of other countries, following a similar move in the UK in 2015. This means users on Apple devices will no longer have to insert their payments card or bank account details to send money via TransferWise, but will be able to transfer funds through their Apple Pay account, speeding up the process.”


China’s Baidu enters strategic partnership with Paypal to tap Chinese tourists

China’s Baidu enters strategic partnership with Paypal to tap Chinese tourists — Reuters — “Baidu’s payment platform, Baidu Wallet, will be accepted by roughly 17 million PayPal merchants globally, the Chinese firm said in a statement on Thursday. ‘Partnering with PayPal on technology and product innovation will provide Baidu users with the ultimate cross-border consumer experience,’ said Baidu senior vice president Guang Zhu.”


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