China’s central bank to develop a digital currency

Central bank unveils plan on digital currency — China Daily — “The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, is organising market-oriented institutions to jointly research and develop a central bank digital currency and the programme has been approved by the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau, said at a seminar at Peking University.”



7-Eleven Japan halts QR payments rollout after hackers steal $500k in two days

Seven-Eleven mobile pay hack hits Japan’s drive to go cashless — Nikkei Asian Review — “Japan’s second-largest retail group by sales on Monday rolled out 7pay, which lets users make purchases with a smartphone app at Seven-Eleven Japan’s roughly 21,000 stores nationwide… By early Thursday, Seven & i had confirmed about 55 million yen ($510,000) stolen from 900 or so 7pay users. The company has in effect suspended the service by stopping users from adding money to their accounts.”


Telekom Slovenije launches mobile wallet that supports NFC, QR, P2P, bill splitting and transit ticketing payments

Telekom Slovenije launches the Valu smart wallet — Telekom Slovenije — “​Valu smart wallet is available in Slovenia as a mobile app from 13 June, and combines in one place mobile payment services, transfer of funds between users, splitting the bill, as well as identification and use of local infrastructure services, such as purchasing Slovenian Railways train tickets… Valu also supports payments with a QR code (on Android and iOS devices) or NFC technology (Android devices).”


Uber leverages open banking to provide in-app financial services to drivers in Mexico

BBVA, in alliance with Uber, launches first banking product in Mexico that operates in third party app — BBVA — “For the first time we are offering a BBVA product that will ‘live’ in a third party’s platform. In other words, we are bringing the bank to our partner, who in turn is bringing us to their drivers and delivery partners, so they can take advantage of all the benefits that the bank has to offer, all with a single click.”


Japanese government to reward shoppers for using mobile payments

Hoping to boost spending, Japan tries to sell shoppers on cashless purchases — Reuters — “A scheduled increase in the sales tax to 10% from 8% in October could hurt spending. Aware of that risk, the government is betting big on mobile payments, an industry only just taking root in Japan. As soon as the tax increase kicks in, the government will offer points redeemable for future discounts to shoppers who use QR codes and other cashless payments.”


Alipay to use ‘beauty filter’ to boost adoption of face payments terminals

Alipay adds a beauty filter to its facial scan payment system to encourage more female users — Radii China — “The move came after Sina Weibo’s tech channel pointed to data that showed male adoption rates of facial scan payments on Alipay were higher than those for females. ‘Be honest, when you’re using the facial payment option, do you think you’re ugly?’ asked the account via a poll. After more than 40,000 people voted, the poll showed that over 60% felt the payment method made them look ugly and ‘not as pretty as when taking a normal photo’.”


Maybank lets merchants accept contactless payments on their NFC phones

Maybank aims 10,000 device acceptance for Tap2Phone — The Star Online — “The payment solution enables small businesses to accept card payments from customers via the app on their mobile phones, without the need for a point-of-sale terminal… The Tap2Phone service accepts all contactless payments for transactions of RM250 [US$60.42] and below… Tap2Phone is supported by the latest Android-based smartphones equipped with near-field communication and trusted execution environment technologies.”


Chinese retailers use face recognition to link shoppers’ online purchase history to in-store services

Data ‘R’ Us: Alibaba, JD.com seek to lock in merchant loyalty with new services — Reuters — “One of the first firms to join an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd programme that provides years of consumer shopping history, snack food chain, Bestore Co Ltd plans to link facial recognition technology with the e-commerce giant’s account data by the year’s end. For customers opting to have their facial data in Bestore’s systems, that means shop assistants will be able to check on what food they like the moment they enter one of its stores.”


Greater Anglia lets train passengers use NFC phones to top up travel cards

Dramatic increase in Smart Card use — Greater Anglia — “We’ve upgraded our Greater Anglia app so that if you have an Android phone, you can hold your Smart Card against it and it will automatically transfer the products you have bought from the website or app, onto your Smart Card… We’ve also enabled staff phones to be able to instantly check the validity of Smart Cards. So passengers can use their card with confidence, and at the same time the systems we have introduced will help to detect and prevent fraud.”


POS terminals that support 23 different QR, contactless and NFC payments services roll out in Singapore

Unified cashless payment system rolled out at 500 hawker stalls across Singapore — The Straits Times — “The solution, provided by Nets, unifies payments from 23 providers, so dining customers can use different cashless payment options at a single payment terminal at a food outlet. This also saves hawkers the hassle of dealing with multiple e-payment firms. These include e-wallets like Singtel Dash and GrabPay, transport cards EZ-Link and Nets FlashPay, and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard.”


Mobile payments providers turn to in-app games to drive adoption in India

Payments, food delivery apps launch games to woo users — Economic Times — “Payments apps and food delivery platforms are launching games to increase user base and stickiness… Paytm has found that more than 70% of its users play these games daily… In-app games, such as Zomato Cricket Cup, Swiggy Match Day Mania, Paytm Games and Tez Shots by Google Pay, are just a few examples.”


Pentagon researchers unveil biometric identification technology that works from 200m away

The Pentagon has a laser that can identify people from a distance — by their heartbeat — MIT Technology Review — “A new device, developed for the Pentagon after US Special Forces requested it, can identify people without seeing their face: instead it detects their unique cardiac signature with an infrared laser. While it works at 200 metres (219 yards), longer distances could be possible with a better laser. ‘I don’t want to say you could do it from space,’ says Steward Remaly, of the Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, ‘but longer ranges should be possible.’”


NTT Docomo celebrates 15th anniversary of world’s first mobile payment service

NTT Docomo celebrates Osaifu Keitai 15th anniversary — Ata Distance — “It all started today, July 1, 2004, when NTT Docomo launched the iMode FeliCa mobile wallet, called Osaifu Keitai in Japanese… To celebrate the anniversary Docomo has lined up a bunch of point campaigns for all the Osaifu Keitai payment networks: Mobile Suica, iD, QuicPay, Waon, Nanaco, Edy.”


Facebook blockchain wallet boss sets sights on financial services

Facebook exec explains how the new Libra currency will help the company’s core businesses — CNBC — “If we are successful at providing a wallet that allows people to store money securely and send to anyone anywhere in the world, then over time we think there will be an opportunity to provide more financial services for people — you can imagine things like credit,’ Weil said.”


Eagle Creek lets luggage owners share their stories via NFC

Eagle Creek debuts NFC-connected luggage — Mobile Marketer — “Travellers can see a personalised dashboard that shows all the places they’ve travelled, along [with] a leaderboard that ranks their mileage against the other owners of its line of Caldera luggage. Eagle Creek also provides a lost-and-found feature to help people locate misplaced bags, warranty registration features and detailed product information and videos. Caldera owners also can share information about their trips with their friends, family and followers on major social media platforms.”


Saudi banks pilot blockchain-based cardless ATM withdrawals

Saudi banks trial blockchain-based identity technology at ATMs — Computer Weekly — “The Saudi Arabian trial will enable local consumers to use their faces and blockchain-based apps to withdraw money from cashpoint machines instead of PINs. The ID authentication prototype, currently under test, can communicate across banks and uses blockchain to confirm an individual’s identity without accessing the bank’s database.”


Societe Generale lets cardholders add personalized bank cards to Apple Pay

Societe Generale brings personalized credit and debit cards to Apple Pay — Societe Generale — “Societe Generale offers over 180 personalised physical cards, but this marks the first time customers will see the exact same card as they have in their wallet in Apple Pay. ‘With Apple Pay’s personalisation mirroring our cards’ personalisation, we are demonstrating continuity between our digital and our physical products,’ said Julien Claudon, head of card and digital payment.”


Visa to let merchants offer instalment plans to cardholders

Visa unveils instalment payment capabilities to give shoppers simple and flexible way to pay — Visa — “Visa’s instalment capabilities are changing the game by allowing issuers to leverage an existing payment account consumers already have and are familiar with, instead of asking them to submit to a credit check, download an app or open another line of credit,” said Sam Shrauger, senior vice president, global head of issuer and consumer solutions, Visa. “We expect instalments to become a foundational method of payment at checkout for both domestic and cross-border commerce payment transactions.”


Apple Pay to go live in Greece, Portugal and Slovakia this week

Apple Pay rolls out to Greece, Portugal, Slovakia on Wednesday — Apple Insider — “Following the expansion of Apple Pay into the Netherlands on 11 June, reports indicate banks in three more countries in Europe are adding support to Apple Pay at the same time in the coming week. Believed to take place on June 26, the launches will occur covering Slovakia with multiple banks, as well as Greece and Portugal.”