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October 14, 2019

On The Web

Companies

Google Shuts Out Payday Loans With App-Store Ban

WSJ

“Google has barred high-interest consumer loan services from its app store, limiting payday lenders’ access to customers. The technology giant recently prohibited apps from offering personal loans with an annual percentage rate of 36% or higher on its Google Play app store. The move inserted the tech giant into a fight over payday loans, which often carry triple-digit interest rates. The shift was implemented in August with an update to Google’s app-development guidelines for the Android operating system , prompting an outcry from payday-lending companies.”

Companies

Why Each Libra Member’s Mutiny Hurts Facebook

TechCrunch

“There’s a strategic cost to the defection of Visa, Stripe, eBay, and more from the Facebook-led cryptocurrency Libra Association. They’re not just names dropping off a list. Each potentially made Libra more useful, ubiquitous, or reputable. Now they could become obstacles to the token’s launch or growth. Fearing regulators’ inquiries not just into their Libra involvement but the rest of their businesses, these companies are pulling out at least for now. None had made precise commitments to integrating Libra into their products, and they’ve said they could still get involved later. But their exit clouds the project’s future and leaves Facebook to absorb more of the blowback.”

Deals

Paytm Nears $2 Billion From Backers Including SoftBank, Ant

Bloomberg

“Indian fintech giant Paytm is close to scoring $2 billion of new financing from investors including Jack Ma’s Ant Financial , Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management to fend off an influx of new rivals, a person familiar with the matter said. The funding will be split evenly between equity and debt and values the country’s top online financial services firm at $16 billion, the person said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The talks are in their final stages but the terms could still change, the person added.”

Tech

Chinese Banking Giant CCB Expands Blockchain Platform As Volume Breaks $53 Billion

CoinDesk

“China Construction Bank, one of the largest Chinese commercial banks, has expanded its trade finance blockchain platform with new abilities, including cross-chain and inter-bank transactions, as trading volume surpasses $53 billion. Speaking in Beijing at the official launch of the upgraded platform BCTrade2.0, CCB vice president Ji Zhihong said the new platform will leverage blockchain technology to provide better financial services for Chinese exporters, according to a Chinese media report .”

On The Wires

Use

Cubic and Google Pay Enable Transit Cards for Android Phones

“Cubic’s mobile platform provides travelers with new tools to manage their transit cards and enhance their journey. Passengers can add transit cards to Google Pay, securely reload funds and purchase tickets directly from their mobile device – eliminating the need for a physical transit card. The technology provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for travelers to access real-time schedules for trip planning, a simplified way to purchase and select the right fare as well as real-time notifications and alerts.”

October 11, 2019

TOP POST

Systems

Facebook’s Libra Association Crumbling As Mastercard, Stripe, and EBay Exit

The Verge

“Mastercard, eBay, and Stripe have all withdrawn from the Libra Association, dealing a major blow to Facebook’s plans for a distributed, global cryptocurrency. The withdrawals were first reported by the Financial Times and Bloomberg . Mastercard, eBay, and Stripe backed out just one week after PayPal (eBay’s former parent company) withdrew from the association . The move also comes just days before the first official meeting of the Libra Association, scheduled for October 14th in Geneva, which will likely result in more specific commitments from all the members involved. Still, the defections leave Libra in a precarious place as they hope to move beyond initial criticisms of the project.”

On The Web

Deals

Uber Acquires Cornershop, a Grocery Delivery Start-Up

The New York Times

“Uber has acquired a majority stake in the grocery delivery start-up Cornershop for an undisclosed sum, the company announced on Friday, as it seeks to build its food delivery business. The company has looked to expand beyond ride-hailing, particularly since its troubled debut on the public markets in May. Although the growth of its core business has slowed, Uber is building its food and freight delivery businesses, as well as expanding into bicycle and scooter rentals.”

Regulation

Virtual Currency: IRS Issues Additional Guidance on Tax Treatment and Reminds Taxpayers of Reporting Obligations | Internal Revenue Service

IRS

“The IRS is aware that some taxpayers with virtual currency transactions may have failed to report income and pay the resulting tax or did not report their transactions properly. The IRS is actively addressing potential non-compliance in this area through a variety of efforts, ranging from taxpayer education to audits to criminal investigations. For example, in July of this year the IRS announced that it began mailing educational letters to more than 10,000 taxpayers who may have reported transactions involving virtual currency incorrectly or not at all. Taxpayers who did not report transactions involving virtual currency or who reported them incorrectly may, when appropriate, be liable for tax, penalties and interest. In some cases, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution.”

Systems

Portugal Cautious About Risks Posed by Facebook’s Libra

Reuters

“Portugal’s Secretary of State for Finance raised concerns about Facebook’s digital currency Libra on Friday, stating that it should not circulate until the risks it could pose for the financial system are addressed. “It is clear from the outset that it is a high-risk phenomenon with systemic implications,” Ricardo Mourinho Felix said at a conference. “It is essential that no ‘stable currency’ project – like Libra – is launched until all concerns have been duly addressed.””

Use

Instacart Shoppers Are Organizing a Nationwide Protest

TechCrunch

Instacart has long been at odds with its shoppers — the people who go to the grocery store on behalf of customers. From November 3-5, thousands of Instacart shoppers plan to protest with three demands. They want Instacart to change the default tip amount to at least 10%, ditch the service fee and commit to always giving 100% of the tip to the shopper.”

October 10, 2019

TOP POST

Reports

Are Americans Embracing Mobile Payments?

PEW

“Previous research by The Pew Charitable Trusts found that age is the best predictor of mobile payment use, with younger Americans driving the growth of these transactions, motivated in part by rewards or loyalty programs offered by mobile app providers. However, Pew’s study also found that across generations, consumers remain skeptical of this financial technology, have persistent concerns about security, and are more likely to trust traditional methods, such as debit and credit cards.”

On The Web

Deals

To Beat Amazon Go, Standard Cognition Buys Cashierless DeepMagic

TechCrunch

“Valued at $535 million, autonomous retail startup Standard Cognition has emerged as a soon-to-be tech giant and the best hope for merchants to compete with Amazon Go. Cashierless checkout is poised to transform brick-and-mortar commerce, and shop owners fear having to battle Amazon’s technology alone or partner with it, exposing data it could use against them.”

Global

Nigeria Is Finally Turning to Telcos to Drive Financial Inclusion Through Mobile Money

Quartz Africa

“The regulatory caution and conservatism often blamed for holding Nigeria back finally looks set to change with the central bank reversing a longstanding stance on declining to issue mobile money licenses to telecoms operators. In the wake of the central bank’s change in tack, MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecoms operator, with more than 60 million customers, has launched its MoMo Agent mobile money service. And, on the back of a $1.2 billion funding boost last year, Airtel Nigeria, Nigeria’s third largest operator, is expected to follow suit. 9Mobile and Globacom, the country’s two other major operators, have also reportedly been issued licenses to become payment service banks.”

Reports

New Survey Shows Banks Are Fumbling GenZ Relationships

Lightico

“This data reveals that this entrenched industry isn’t making their desired impact on Generation Z. That’s despite banking’s attempts to become more innovative to appeal to these digital natives. That may seem like a disconnect, since digital transformation has been a goal of banks for many decades. But these initiatives just aren’t yet enough for the “always on” Generation Z demographic. Digital and mobile platforms are critical banking systems that they must build in order to thrive with Generation Z. As the report shows, it is key for banks to start serving these new audiences through new channels to improve their customer experience.”

Risk & Fraud

Hackers Breach Volusion and Start Collecting Card Details From Thousands of Sites | ZDNet

ZDNet

“Hackers have breached the infrastructure of Volusion, a provider of cloud-hosted online stores, and are delivering malicious code that records and steals payment card details entered by users in online forms. More than 6,500 stores are impacted, but the number could be even higher. In a press release published last month, Volusion claimed it had more than 20,000 customers.”

Systems

SWIFT’s Banking Head Invites All Real-time Payment Systems to Build ‘partnership’

AMBCrypto

““I think it’s the way we live today. Everyone wants everything instantly. And because we want instant in our daily lives, we start to want it in our business lives, in parallel to everything else being instant.” He further spoke about how instant payments have existed domestically in the UK since 2008, with the ability to transact at any time of the day, every day. According to Newman, there are over 60 communities worldwide that have adopted instant payments.”

Systems

For FedNow, a Lot More Questions Than Answers

Digital Transactions

“Two Fed officials fielded questions about those topics and more during a 90-minute Fed-sponsored webinar last month. Much of what was discussed wasn’t new, but some new factoids emerged as well as identification of issues that will be getting much more attention as the service develops (“The New Reality in Real-Time Payments,” September). For example, one inquirer asked about FedNow’s cost. The answer is that pricing hasn’t been set. But Kirstin Wells, principal economist in payment studies at the Fed, said a price structure could take its cues from pricing for existing Fed services, such as for automated clearing house transactions, that have participation and transaction fees.”

On The Wires

Domains

Ingenico Launches Full Suite of Chinese Payment Methods for International Ecommerce Players

“As 82% of the local Chinese population are unique mobile users, Ingenico has partnered with leading mobile payment platforms, Alipay and WeChat Pay, as well as with local card scheme UnionPay. Ingenico is one of the very first international payment service providers (PSP) to support all use cases for WeChat Pay, including the capability to integrate into WeChat Official Accounts and Mini-Programs. This is a crucial advantage that allows the 1.1 billion WeChat users to complete their purchase without leaving the WeChat environment.”

Use

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Continues to Make Shopping so Much Smoother With Klarna

“Abercrombie & Fitch Co., a leading global specialty retailer of apparel and accessories for men, women and children through three renowned brands, and Klarna today announced A&F Co. customers in the U.S. will now have access to Klarna’s Pay in 4 service when shopping online. This enables customers across A&F Co.’s brands – Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie kids and Hollister Co. – to pay in four installments bi-weekly.”

October 9, 2019

TOP POST

Use

The Top 25 Women Leaders In Financial Technology of 2019

The Financial Technology Report.

“The Financial Technology Report is proud to announce and celebrate the exceptional women who are playing leading roles at the companies shaping the financial technology sector. The awardees of 2019 were selected based on a detailed review of their professional background and career accomplishments. Their positions range from Presidents and COOs to VPs and CEOs. These women are pivotal to a new dawn in fintech and the broader tech industry, paving the way for young women across the world, looking to follow in their footsteps. We congratulate the following accomplished individuals who embody the attributes of persistence, integrity and intelligence required to be named a Top 25 Woman Leader In Financial Technology.”

On The Web

Providers

Robinhood Revives Checking With New Debit Card & 2% Interest

TechCrunch

“This time it actually has insurance. Zero-fee stock-trading app Robinhood is launching Cash Management, a new feature that earns users 2.05% APY interest on uninvested money in their account with the ability to spend it through a special Mastercard debit card. The waitlist opens today in the U.S. with the first users to be admitted soon. “If you have $5,000 in your account while you’re thinking about what to invest in, you’d have an extra $105 at the end of the year” thanks to Robinhood Cash Management’s interest, co-CEO Baiju Bhatt tells me.”

Tech

Expensify Launches Corporate Card: Business Travel News

Business Travel News

“Expensify is launching a corporate card that links directly to the company’s expense system, obviating the need for corporate clients’ employees to submit receipts for reimbursement. The company’s new Visa-branded Expensify Card, issued by Sutton Bank, represents a return to form for the expense company, which launched in 2008 as a debit card to help small and midsize enterprises track expenses. The company subsequently shifted focus to its companion expense reporting system as it scaled up to serve larger corporate clients.”

Use

Walgreens Partners With FedEx to Accept Online Returns, Print Labels

TechCrunch

FedEx and Walgreens are partnering to make online returns more convenient, in a move that’s part of a growing trend where brick-and-mortar retailers cater to the needs of e-commerce shoppers in order to increase foot traffic at their stores. Under the new agreement, consumers will be able to drop off their online returns at thousands of Walgreens locations nationwide. They’ll also be able to print their return shipping label in the store, if need be.”

Users

Toys ‘R’ Us Relaunches Its Website, Where Online Sales Are Powered by Target

TechCrunch

“Toys “R” Us is back online, thanks to a new deal with Target. Tru Kids , the parent company that acquired the defunct toy chain following its bankruptcy, has announced the relaunch of the ToysRUs.com website as it begins the process of opening its retail stores across the U.S. As a part of its comeback strategy, the Toys “R” Us website’s product pages will redirect to Target.com when consumers click the “buy” button to make an online purchase.”

On The Wires

Use

Intuit QuickBooks and Visa Enable Real-Time Access to Funds Anytime, Anywhere for Small Businesses

“Cash flow is one of the most significant challenges facing a small business’ growth. In fact, 69% of small business owners have been kept up at night about issues related to cash flow and 61% of businesses have regular issues with cash flow1. In an effort to continue to solve cash flow issues for small business owners, Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) QuickBooks today announced Instant Deposit , a new feature that enables real-time2 disbursements for small business owners using QuickBooks Payments to directly access funds with their eligible debit card using Visa Direct, Visa’s (NYSE: V) real-time3 push payments solution.”

October 8, 2019

On The Web

Domains

Supreme Court Allows Blind People to Sue Retailers If Their Websites Are Not Accessible

Los Angeles Times

“In a potentially far-reaching move, the justices turned down an appeal from Domino’s and let stand a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling holding that the Americans With Disabilities Act protects access not just to restaurants and stores but also to the websites and apps of those businesses. Guillermo Robles, who is blind, filed suit in Los Angeles three years ago and complained he had been unable to order a pizza online because the Domino’s website lacked the software that would allow him to communicate. He cited the ADA, which guarantees to persons with a disability “full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services … of any place of public accommodations.””

On The Wires

Tech

Global Payments Expands Its Mobile Integration Payments Solution to Samsung

“Samsung smartphone users with Samsung Pay eligible devices will be able to access an auto-provisioned prepaid card called Samsung Pay Cash. This Netspend mobile-integrated digital Mastercard allows smartphone users to establish a digital prepaid card within their mobile wallet to hold funds for a variety of use cases, including spending and budgeting. The prepaid card also uses Mastercard token services that enable users to store and use the card without ever exposing card details to ensure safety for digital payments.”

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