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March 25, 2020

On The Web

Domains

Coronavirus Spurs a Wave of Suspect Websites Looking to Cash In

The New York Times

“A popular technology company that has helped launch thousands of online retail sites has become a favorite tool for fly-by-night businesses looking to cash in on the coronavirus pandemic. New e-commerce sites that use the company’s services are filled with wildly exaggerated claims about virus-fighting products that may not even exist.”

Global

Russian Prime Minister Introduces Bill to Allow Fintech Sandboxes, Blockchain Included

CoinDesk

Introduced in a new bill on March 17 by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the plan does not directly mention blockchain or cryptocurrencies, but an explanatory note mentions distributed ledger as one of the technologies that could be explored in the new “experimental regulatory regimes.”  Such regimes can be established to live-test the new technologies in medicine, transporation, distant learning, financial markets, online commerce and other sectors. The bill gives Russia’s regulators scope to deal with novel tech in a more flexible way, the document says. It’s also suggested that the country’s regions would be able to set up their own local sandboxes.”

March 24, 2020

TOP POST

Systems

New Coronavirus Stimulus Bill In Congress Creates U.S. Digital Dollar

Forbes

“As the markets continue to drop and the U.S. looks to Congress for agreement on a massive stimulus package to save the economy from impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the newest offer by House Democrats includes a very forward-looking kind of stimulus: the creation of a ‘digital dollar’ and the establishment of ‘digital dollar wallets.’ In what will send shock waves through the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, particularly for those following central bank digital currencies around the world, this signals the U.S. is serious in establishing infrastructure for a central bank digital currency.”

On The Web

Domains

Digital Payments Soar Amid Coronavirus Restrictions

Wall Street Journal

“Digital-payment services are facing a surge in demand as efforts to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic result in housebound shoppers stocking up on groceries, prescription drugs, audiobooks and movies online. Many e-payment providers are falling back on contingency plans put in place to handle seasonal bursts in online shopping, such as Black Friday, in part by tapping additional on-demand capacity in the cloud, industry analysts said.”

Providers

Popular European Banking App Revolut Is Launching in the US Today

The Verge

“Mobile banking app Revolut, which has more than 10 million customers in Europe, is launching today in the US, the company announced. Like Monzo, a UK-based banking app that made the jump to the US last June, Revolut is entirely app-based and doesn’t operate any brick-and-mortar locations. That means you can sign up for an account and a debit card in just a few minutes right from within the app. That account is insured for up to $250,000 by the FDIC.”

Providers

UK fintech community comes together to build Covid Credit and let sole traders self-certify lost income

TechCrunch

“It all started with a tweet from 11:FS co-founder Simon Taylor. If the U.K. government could be persuaded to provide financial support to the self-employed during the Coronavirus crisis, as it has already pledged for full-time employees, then Open Banking technology could be used to self-certify lost income, and therefore overcome one of the main hurdles of administering potential compensation.”

Regulation

UK Raises Contactless Transaction Limit by 50%

NFCW

“The spending limit for contactless card payments in the UK is being increased from £30 (US$35.33) to £45 (US$52.99), UK Finance has announced. The new spending limit will begin to roll out from 1 April 2020. “The changes were already under consideration by the industry, but the process has been expedited as part of the industry’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless at this time,” UK Finance says.”

Systems

Russian Banks Act to Decontaminate Cash

Finextra

“The Russian central bank already keeps banknotes for up to 14 days before distributing them and is now asking other banks to do the same, Vladimir Demidenko, deputy head of its cash circulation department told Reuters.”

Tech

Demand for Online and Contactless Payments Soars in South Africa Due to Coronavirus

Intelligent CIO Africa

“Demand for secure online and contactless payments is surging in South Africa on the back of fears around the spread of coronavirus, with many people reluctant to use cash or to touch point of sale machines.  As the number of confirmed cases increases daily, growing numbers of retailers are scrambling to get online payment systems in place to meet a spike in demand from customers looking for contactless payment options, said Thomas Pays, the Chief Executive of online payment platform Ozow.”

March 23, 2020

On The Web

Deals

Global Savings Group acquires French cashback company iGraal for €123.5M

TechCrunch

“Specifically, the deal was reached with iGraal’s majority owner M6 Group and consists of €35 million in cash; the remaining is made up of an exchange of shares. The acquisition is said to be one of the largest in the cashback and loyalty space in recent years, with iGraal considered the leading digital cashback player in France.”

Global

Singapore, Australia to Collaborate on Digital Economy Initiatives | ZDNet

ZDNet

“Singapore and Australia have wrapped up negotiations on a digital economy pact that will see both nations collaborate on multiple fronts, including artificial intelligence (AI), cross-border data flow, and e-payments. The trade agreement aims to provide a framework to facilitate “deeper cooperation” to “shape” international rules and establish interoperability between digital systems.”

Industry

Metlink Bans Cash Payments for Transit Tickets

NFCW

Metlink , the transportation agency for the Greater Wellington region of New Zealand, has ceased accepting cash payments on all buses, trains, ferries and stations “to stay one step ahead of Covid-19 and give our passengers and staff more peace of mind”.”

March 20, 2020

TOP POST

Domains

‘I Have Bills I Have to Pay.’ Low-Wage Workers Face Brunt of Coronavirus Crisis

Wall Street Journal

“As coronavirus shutdowns halt commerce across the U.S., low-wage workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, are being quickly stung. The affected jobs, by their nature, often require broad personal contact, such as running a cash register or cleaning hotel rooms. That substantially raises the risk of infection. Many such workers also hold positions most vulnerable to quick job cuts and pay cuts, especially in service industries .”

On The Web

Domains

PhonePe Becomes the First Digital Payments Platform to Launch One Click Payment With Visa

BW Disrupt

“Users with Visa debit or credit cards will have the option on the PhonePe app to activate the new payment feature through a one-time validation process to register their card. Users can then carry out transactions on recharges, bill payments, switch platform and many more use cases on the PhonePe app without having to enter an OTP or CVV for every subsequent transaction.”

Global

Contactless Limits Raised Around the Globe

NFCW

Risk

Security Breach Disrupts Fintech Firm Finastra — Krebs on Security

Krebs on Security

“Finastra, a company that provides a range of technology solutions to banks worldwide, said it was shutting down key systems in response to a security breach discovered Friday morning. The company’s public statement and notice to customers does not mention the cause of the outage, but their response so far is straight out of the playbook for dealing with ransomware attacks.”

Use

Instagram founder launches gift card site for quarantined restaurants

TechCrunch

Coronavirus quarantines are hurting local businesses, but Instagram  co-founder Mike Krieger  wants to help them keep revenue rolling in. Krieger and his wife Kaitlyn this week launched SaveOurFaves, a directory of Bay Area restaurants selling gift certificates to offset lost income amidst “shelter in place” orders across the region. Users can search for restaurants or browse by neighborhood, and then click through to buy gift certificates straight from the eateries with no added fee from SaveOurFaves.

March 19, 2020

TOP POST

Companies

Square Gets Conditional Approval for Industrial Loan Charter

MarketWatch

“Square Inc. announced late Wednesday that it had received conditional approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to conduct deposit insurance related to an Industrial Loan Company (ILC) banking charter. The company also received approval from the Utah Department of Financial Institutions for this purpose. The approval grants Square the ability to operate a bank, Square Financial Services, that will be an independent direct subsidiary of the company. Its main objective will be to provide small-business loans for Square’s Capital lending business and to offer deposit products. The bank is expected to launch in 2021.”

On The Web

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