India moves towards interoperable mobile wallets

Reserve Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, has issued the final set of guidelines for new rules designed to enable mobile wallet users to easily make payments and transfer funds to users of competing mobile wallet services... More


Bank of America links its mobile apps to let customers access multiple services without re-authenticating

Bank of America unveils new mobile capabilities — Bank of America — “Bank of America today announced that it is introducing a new feature that will allow clients to move seamlessly between the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Merrill Edge and US Trust mobile apps without having to re-authenticate… The new app-linking feature will be available at Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Merrill Edge today and at US Trust in November.”


Micro loans let Chinese consumers buy snacks and lipsticks on credit

Chinese millennials are buying hamburgers on instalment, fuelling micro loan industry — South China Morning Post — “A small layer cake can be had for as low as 0.46 yuan per month for three years, or there’s lipstick for only 1.93 yuan (3 US cents) per month for two years. Interest rates differ based on the product price and repayment period but some loans are offered interest free.”


Alipay builds travel guide into mobile payments app

Alipay launches in-app guide for Germany’s Oktoberfest — Alizila — “Alipay said Friday it launched an in-app travel guide in Chinese for visitors to Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration and the city’s 211-year-old downtown Viktualienmarkt… The pilot service will offer ‘a wealth of information on the culture and history of both venues,’ including a map, a guide to individual stalls and products, information on German behavioural norms, like how to toast with a glass of beer and advice on when and where it’s OK to take photos. Users can also pay for what they buy through the Alipay app.”


Survey: Merchants are winning the US mobile wallet adoption battle

Merchants winning the battle for mobile wallet supremacy — Javelin Strategy & Research — “In the rush to market, the main wallet value proposition, paying at the POS, wasn’t particularly compelling. In reality, loyalty and rewards will drive adoption, something merchants are doing particularly well,” said Krista Tedder, director of payments at Javelin Strategy & Research.”


Samsung Pay adds funds trading service in Korea

Samsung Pay begins funds trading service — Yonhap News — “Fund Online Korea Co said Tuesday it launched services for the trading of investment funds via Samsung Pay, the country’s top mobile payment tool. The service allowed users to shop for a variety of funds at the Samsung Pay platform after a simple process of opening accounts, according to the firm. ‘We are aiming at offering an easy, convenient and accessible investment channel,’ said company official Kim Seung-hyun.”



Google rebrands its Tez mobile wallet to Google Pay

Building services for every Indian, in their language — Google India — “Since launching our India-first payments app Tez last September, over 22 million people and businesses have used Tez to make over 750m transactions that are collectively worth over $30bn annually. We believe that many of the innovations and features we have pioneered with Tez will work in other countries. To take Tez beyond India, we will be unifying all of Google’s payment offerings globally. As a first step, Tez will now be called Google Pay.”



Berkshire Hathaway invests in Indian mobile payments provider Paytm

Berkshire Hathaway confirms investment in Paytm parent One97 Communications — Economic Times — “Berkshire Hathaway has confirmed that it has made an investment in Paytm parent One97 Communications… ET had reported that Berkshire Hathaway is in talks to invest about Rs2,000-2,500 crore (US$285m-US$356m) in One97 Communications, that could value the company at $10bn. One97 Communications already counts China’s Alibaba Group Holdings and Japan’s Softbank among its major investors.”


Facebook approaches banks for Messenger bot banking

Facebook taps banks, but for chatbots not purchase data like Google — Techcrunch — “Account linking enables people to receive real-time updates in Facebook Messenger where people can keep track of their transaction data like account balances, receipts, and shipping updates… The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone — and it’s completely opt-in. We’re not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences — not for advertising or anything else.”


Barclays files blockchain funds transfer and KYC patents

Barclays seeks twin blockchain patents for banking services — Coindesk — “The US Patent and Trademark Office published two applications by the UK’s second-largest bank Thursday, both of which revolve around account security. Perhaps most notably, however, was an application for a patent which outlined a blockchain platform which could facilitate cryptocurrency transfers. The bank also proposed streamlining know-your-customer processes by storing identifying information on a private blockchain.”


Survey finds money saving product recommendations will drive adoption of open banking

Brits cite money saving product recommendations as the biggest incentive to use open banking — Equifax — “Two fifths (40%) of Brits willing to share their bank transaction data with a new lender would do so if it provided them with product recommendations which save them money. Other motivations to share transaction data through open banking include the ability to easily compare products from different financial institutions (36%), being offered tailored incentives for switching to a new provider (34%), and a streamlined process when applying for mortgages (28%) and loans (25%).”


JPMorgan Chase to reward mobile-only bank account customers for using key features

JPMorgan Chase takes smartphone account ‘Finn’ nationwide — Reuters — “JPMorgan is offering $100 to people who open accounts and complete 10 transactions of certain types, such as sending money to another person or paying a bill. The incentive is designed to make customers familiar with using the app, said Melissa Feldsher, head of Finn. She believes customers will stick with the accounts after seeing they can automatically make deposits to their savings accounts, such as moving $2 from their checking account every time they spend $5 with the app at a Starbucks coffee shop.”


Citi to let customers check their bank account from within Facebook Messenger

Citi joins chatbot arms race, unveils Facebook messenger tie-up that will launch later this year — South China Morning Post — “Citi’s offering will be the first Facebook Messenger-embedded chatbot to let customers access their own financial records and potentially conduct transactions in future. It plans to roll out the service worldwide following its launch in Singapore in March.”


Paytm integrates games, TV, sports and news into its mobile wallet app

Now enjoy news, live TV, cricket, entertainment & games in Paytm Inbox — Paytm — “We have added a host of new features to ‘Inbox’, our in-app messaging service that allows you to chat with friends and family and send/request money at the same time. You would now be able to enjoy in-app live TV, news, cricket, entertainment videos and games on-the-go for free.”


Mastercard to build open banking connectivity hub

Mastercard unveils solutions to underpin open banking transformation — Mastercard — “Mastercard announced today that it is developing a new suite of services to underpin the transformation taking place in the industry as partners ready themselves to take advantage of Europe’s PSD2 legislation… They will incorporate a pan-European directory of third party providers to help banks to ensure that parties seeking access to a customer’s account are legitimate… They will also feature a connectivity hub that will help third parties establish and maintain communication with banks.”




Nordic banks announce KYC joint venture plans

Nordic banks to explore common KYC joint venture — SEB — “Leading Nordic banks DNB Bank, Danske Bank, Nordea Bank, Svenska Handelsbanken and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken have decided to explore the possible establishment of a Nordic Know Your Customer (KYC) infrastructure… The banks intend to set up a joint venture, Nordic KYC Utility… The company will be owned and controlled by the founding banks, however, the plan is that the company will also offer its services to third parties.”