What's New in Payments

Chinese shopping street adopts face recognition payments

China’s first facial recognition payment-based shopping street opens in Wenzhou — ECNS — “A historical shopping street in Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province, has become the first in China to extensively apply facial recognition in making payments… Mao Xinqin, director of the street’s administration, said facial recognition payments can improve efficiency during the peak season for tourism and shopping. Yang Peng, vice president of Ant Financial, said Alipay has upgraded the payment system using a 3D structured light camera and can ensure accuracy of 99.99%.”


What's New in Payments

Alipay offers POS terminals that combine face recognition with QR payments

Alipay Box to utilize facial recognition tech for payments — Shine — “Alibaba’s financial and payment affiliate Ant Financial has released smart payment hardware called Alipay Box, integrating barcode scanning and facial recognition features… The plug-and-play device, which is smaller than a traditional self-service point of sale (POS) machine, does not require an overhaul of the merchants’ existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.”





What's New in Payments

CIMB deploys multi-QR POS terminals that support six different mobile payment services

CIMB is first in Malaysia to bring QR acceptance from six mobile wallets on one payment terminal — CIMB Bank — “The six mobile wallet partners to be accepted on CIMB terminal are Alipay, Touch & Go Digital, Boost, KiplePay, Mcash, and Vcash. These six mobile wallets have a combined estimated customer base of about 4.5 million in Malaysia and 520 million registered mainland Chinese users.”


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.”


NFC World

Huami includes NFC for travelcards, payments and access control in $116 budget smartwatch

Huami announces launch of new Amazfit Verge smartwatch — Huami — “Digital wallet functionality in conjunction with UnionPay and Alipay, combined with integrated one-touch public transportation payment in over 160 cities in China, [helps] users capture the convenience of full digital transactions (through NFC and QR codes). The Verge can be also used as entrance access device utilising NFC technology.”




What's New in Payments

Chinese consumers have now deposited $150bn with Alipay and Tencent

PBOC to raise reserve funds ratio for third-party payment firms to 100% — Caixin — “The two largest third-party payment firms, Alipay and Tenpay, combined hold nearly 1tn yuan (US$151bn) of customers’ funds, about 90% of the total reserve funds… Reserve funds are prepayments from online shoppers held temporarily by payment companies that can then earn income on the cash by depositing it in banks or even buying government bonds… The requirement means payment firms such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd backed Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Tenpay can no longer invest money deposited by their respective clients.”


What's New in Payments

Line Pay aims to convert 1m Japanese merchants to QR payments with free transactions for three years

Japan’s Line Pay throws down gauntlet to Alipay — Nikkei Asian Review — “Line has sought to minimize the hassle for retailers by allowing the retailer to use the service by simply downloading a free app on a smartphone… Retailers can also send messages to individual shoppers later, such as sales promotions. The service can be used free of charge for the next three years… There are also incentives for customers, offering them loyalty points valued at 3% to 5% of every purchase they make with Line Pay.”


NFC World

US merchants increase support for NFC in stores, cut back on Apple Pay and Google Pay online

New survey finds fewer merchants accepting Apple Pay — Kount — “Support is up across the board for near field communication (up from 29% to 37%) and other mobile payments at the physical point-of-sale… Online merchant support for Apple Pay has gone down from 48% to 35%, Google Pay (previously Android Pay), is down from 38% to 25%, support for PayPal increased (from 48% to 64%) while 10% accept AliPay and 10% accept other e-wallets. The share of merchants who accept Samsung Pay, Visa Checkout, MasterPass, and Chase Pay all stayed constant from last year.”


What's New in Payments

Ant Financial to pivot away from Alipay?

Exclusive: Ant Financial shifts focus from finance to tech services: sources — Reuters — “Ant Financial Services Group, the dominant Chinese fintech company, is shifting its main focus to technology services and away from payments and consumer finance as Beijing’s crackdown on financial risk deepens, four sources with knowledge of the matter said… They said the move was propelled, in part, by growing regulatory pressure on Ant’s core financial businesses, including payments, micro lending, credit rating and wealth management.”


What's New in Payments

Hong Kong to be global battlefront for mobile payments?

A payments battle is brewing in Hong Kong — Bloomberg — “Alipay’s azure blue logos began appearing two years ago in Hong Kong’s airport, greeting travelers from China who rely on the popular payments app back home. In recent months, taxis got them. Now stores and boutiques have them. They’re all signs of a battle brewing in Hong Kong that will test whether a Western-style financial system — based on banks, credit and debit cards — can fend off a pair of apps that have come to dominate how people spend and send money throughout China. If Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat Pay can expand into the city and win new customers there, why not in Europe and the US, too?”


What's New in Payments

Ant Financial raises $10bn at a $150bn valuation

China’s Ant Financial raises $10 billion at $150 billion valuation: sources — Reuters — “Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China’s biggest online payment platform by market share, Alipay, has closed its latest funding round having raised US$10bn from a clutch of global and local investors, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Ant’s first fundraising targeting global money values the firm at US$150bn, the people said, compared with about US$60bn after its previous fundraising in April 2016.”


Transit Ticketing Today

Beijing Metro begins accepting QR code mobile tickets at turnstiles

QR code smartphone tickets available for subway — China.org.cn — “Travellers in Beijing can now use a QR code on their smartphone as a ticket to ride the subway… Passengers can download an app called RuubyPay that generates a QR code ticket that can be read using a scanner built into the subway turnstiles. The QR code scanning app can be used on any smartphone running iOS or Android that is connected to the internet, according to Sina.com. Tickets can be paid for using a linked bank, Alipay, or JD Finance account.”


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