What's New in Payments

MUFG to use digital currency for mobile payments in Japan

MUFG digital currency finds second life as mobile payment — Nikkei Asian Review — “Users will convert funds from their bank accounts or elsewhere into the digital currency using a smartphone app. The service will use this currency in transactions, which will be handled through QR codes. Money sent via the app can be moved back into an account as cash, allowing for transfers between individuals.” 


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Octopus triples its stored value card limit

Octopus stored value limit increases to HK$3,000 to meet consumers’ greater spending needs — Octopus — “Any customer who possesses a Smart Octopus issued before 1 October 2019 or an Octopus product issued before 1 December 2019 can upgrade the stored value limit from HK$1,000 (US$127.75) to HK$3,000 (US$383.26) via Octopus App or at any Octopus Service Point. Once the stored value limit has been upgraded, customers can also make payment of up to HK$3,000 for each transaction starting from 1 December at over 3,200 retail outlets.” 


What's New in Payments

Hang Seng adds mobile cash withdrawals to Hong Kong ATMs

Hang Seng launches mobile cash withdrawal service — Hang Seng Bank — “Customers in Hong Kong can initiate cash withdrawal instructions on their mobile phones by using the Hang Seng Personal Banking mobile app and then collect their cash at the nearby Hang Seng ATM… At launch, all Hang Seng ATMs will support QR code cash withdrawals and over half will support both QR code and NFC cash withdrawals. NFC connectivity will be extended to all ATMs in the first half of 2020.” 


What's New in Payments

Juniper forecasts mPOS transaction market

mPOS transaction values to exceed $1.9tn by 2024 — Juniper Research — “Juniper Research forecasts that mPOS (Mobile Points of Sale) transaction values will exceed US$1.9tn by 2024, up from $850bn in 2019. This growth will be driven by service adoption from new business users, including pop-up stores and street vendors, for whom the acceptance of card payments was previously inaccessible.” 


What's New in Payments

Russia’s domestic payments system to expand into Europe

Presentation of the first European acquirer of the Mir card scheme at the Russian-British business forum — Roscongress — “The ability to make transactions through the Russian system will simplify payment transactions for customers of companies that offer products or services in the Russian market and, as a result, increase their turnover. For the UK, which will be the first launch country, the Mir payment system opens up access to the Russian consumer market.” 


What's New in Payments

Discover lets cardholders pay with points at PayPal merchants

Discover and PayPal collaboration gives cardmembers new way to redeem rewards — Discover Financial Services — “Discover cardmembers can now use their Cashback Bonus or Miles to pay for purchases at millions of online stores through PayPal… Once cardmembers link their Discover card with PayPal, they can instantly redeem any amount of their rewards on eligible purchases at checkout.” 


What's New in Payments

Ant Financial to create $1bn fund for Asian payments and financial services startups

Ant Financial to raise a $1bn startup investment fund — Bloomberg — “Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is planning to raise about US$1bn for a fund that will invest in startups from Southeast Asia to India and help strengthen its foothold in fast-growing mobile internet markets, a person familiar with the matter said. The internet finance company is looking to back more startups in those regions that focus on payments and online finance.” 


What's New in Payments

BMW lets drivers order meals from their cars

Olo and pilot brands experiment with in-car ordering trial — Olo — “The online ordering experience is designed for easy pre-configuration of orders, making saved favorites and repeat orders easy. Trial participants can order and pay with the push of a button and follow driving directions to pick up their orders… Nekter Juice Bar and Portillo’s Hot Dogs are the first live brands to participate in the in-car ordering pilot.” 


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Transport for London tests Apple Pay Express Transit mode

Apple Pay’s Express Transit mode working in parts of London Underground — MacRumors — “Apple Pay’s Express Transit mode has been functional on at least some tube and bus routes in London since last Tuesday or so, according to multiple MacRumors readers… Express Transit mode eliminates the need for users to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode or even wake their device when they pay for rides with Apple Pay.” 


Orange Bank opens for business in Spain

Orange Bank launches in Spain — Orange — “Orange Bank in Spain will be 100% mobile based, offering Orange customers a choice of savings account, cheque account, Mastercard debit card, group management, as well as discounts on Orange phone bills.” 


What's New in Payments

Ghana to launch national QR mobile payments service in December

Govt to launch universal QR code to make Ghana cashless society — GhanaWeb — “The government will in December 2019 launch a Universal QR code in a bid to make Ghana a cashless society, vice president Dr Mahammudu Bawumia has announced. He says with the code which leverages existing technologies, traders and businesses will be able to receive payments without a point of sale device.” 


Chinese government forms face recognition standards body

Government asks SenseTime to lead plans for national facial recognition standards — Caixin Global — “The working group, which also includes Tencent, Xiaomi, and Ant Financial, is overseen by the National Information Technology Standardization Technical Committee (NITS), which is in turn affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. It will also promote the further formulation of facial recognition standards at an international level.” 


NatWest launches digital bank

Bó — the digital bank to help people do money better — is now live in App Store and Google Play — NatWest — “As we’re part of NatWest, people can rely on to keep their money safe. But as a digital bank, built entirely on a separate cloud-based technology, Bó is also able to harness new technology and develop rapidly in line with our customers’ needs and expectations.” 


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JR East to pilot hands-free mobile ticketing

JR East eyes introduction of ‘walkthrough’ ticket gates — The Mainichi — “East Japan Railway Co is looking to introduce ‘walkthrough’ ticket gates at stations that will enable passengers to access gates via a specialized smartphone application. Under the envisaged system, millimeter waves will be emitted from an antenna placed on the ceiling above a gate that will open once data sent from the passenger’s smartphone application has been received.”