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Ukrgasbank starts to accept UnionPay cards, recently, Ukraine’s Ukrgasbank announced its cooperation with UnionPay International to enable its terminals and ATMs to accept UnionPay card payments. In addition, it is known that the two parties next will cooperate to develop payment products.

After being stopped in Brazil, WhatsApp’s payment service gains hope of getting permission in India, July 1, one week after Facebook’s social platform WhatsApp launched its payment service in Brazil, the service was suspended by the Brazilian government for the reason of protecting the competition environment. WhatsApp later said that the Indian market is still its key target. The platform is working with local banks and regulators in India in a bid to formally launch its payment service in India. It is learned that WhatsApp reported to the Supreme Court on June 19 that its payment service now fully complies with the data localization standards of the Reserve Bank of India. Some people in the banking industry also said that with the gradual completion of relevant regulatory work, the government is also preparing to approve WhatsApp’s payment service.

PBOC cuts re-discount and re-lending rates by 25 basis points, June 30, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has decided to cut the re-discount and re-lending rates by 25 basis points as of July 1. The three-month relending rate for small firms and rural sectors will be cut to 1.95 percent while the six-month rate will be cut to 2.15 percent and the one-year rate will cut to 2.25 percent. The re-discount rate will be cut by 0.25 percentage point to 2 percent. What’s more, the central bank will also cut the re-lending rate related to financial stability by 50 basis points to 1.75 percent, and the re-lending rate related to financial stability (during postponed period) is 3.77 percent.

PBOC pilots large-scale cash management in Hebei starting July 1; registration needed for any individual to deposit or withdraw CNY 100,000 or more, July 1, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has decided to conduct large-scale cash management in Hebei Province staring July 1, 2020, to fix the regulatory shortcomings in related fields, regulate the use of large amounts of cash, curb the use of large amounts of cash for illegal crimes, and maintain economic finance order. It is learned that the starting point for the management of private accounts in Hebei Province is CNY 100,000 and the starting point for the management of public accounts is CNY 500,000. In other words, any individual depositing or withdrawing CNY 100,000 or more and any entity depositing or withdrawing CNY 500,000 or more are required to make an appointment and registration. They should clarify the purpose of the withdrawal and the source of the deposit, and the information will be recorded in a large-value cash management information system to realize information support and sharing.

Alipay ranks first in world with 212 authorized patents on blockchain, July 1, the Patent Protection Association of China (PPAC) released the “Global Blockchain Patent Report for 2020”. According to the report, by number of authorized blockchain patents, Alipay ranked first in the world with 212 blockchain patents, and the second and third places were IBM (136) and Coinplug (107), respectively.

Taiwan “NIA” supports using diversified payment services for fee payment, June 30, in order to facilitate residence in paying various “immigration” business fees, the “National Immigration Agency (NIA)” of Taiwan will allow the public to make payments with Visa, Mastercard, JCB and other credit cards, as well as mobile payments including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Taiwan Pay, etc. The policy will take effect from July 1, 2020.

Origami Pay stops providing all services, June 30, Origami Pay has stopped providing all services since the night of June 30. It is learned that Origami Pay began to provide services in May 2016 and is a pioneer in the QR code payment industry in Japan. As the competition is intensified due to the launch of PayPay and other reasons, the Japanese mobile payment industry has become a battlefield of competition among large companies with capital, resulting in a reduced presence of Origami Pay.

PayPal to be available on Pundi X’s blockchain-based POS devices, June 30, Singapore-based blockchain developer Pundi X has recently announced that its blockchain-based point-of-sale device, the XPOS®, is now capable of supporting PayPal. The XPOS® has been providing scores of brick-and-mortar stores with an alternative payment method to cash by allowing them to securely and efficiently transact on the blockchain. PayPal on XPOS® devices will work in pretty much the same way as anywhere else. PayPal’s inclusion to XPOS® devices brings more than just streamlined transactions. It also means that users can easily purchase cryptocurrencies such as BTC at any XPOS® merchant who has activated the device’s “Crypto Sale” feature.

Visa: Contactless payments increased by 40 percent in Russia during Covid-19 pandemic, June 30, Visa said that the use of contactless payments in Russia during the Covid-19 pandemic increased by 40 percent and mobile payments increased by 30 percent. In addition, Visa also analyzed changes in consumer preferences during the pandemic. The survey revealed that 38 percent of Russians started to use e-commerce platforms for the first time, while 23 percent started to use home delivery services.

PayPal announced stopping transfer service in Russia from August, July 1, PayPal sent a letter to the Central Bank of Russia stating that because PayPal’s business profits in Russia in 2019 are only 4 percent, and PayPal’s competitive advantage in Russia is cross-border transfer services, it will stop the transfer service in Russia from August and transition to a new business model, which will focus on the development of cross-border transfer services.

Apple Pay comes to its first bank in Serbia, June 30, Apple Pay is now available to ProCredit Bank customers in Serbia, and others are expected to follow. ProCredit Bank’s support for the payment method has been revealed by Mastercard’s website in the region. Raiffeisen bank is also expected to add support for Apple Pay.

Zenus Bank becomes Visa principal member, June 30, Zenus Bank, the American digital bank is announcing it is the first International Financial Entity to become a Principal Member of Visa. By leveraging Visa’s brand, scale and global acceptance footprint, Zenus will bring a robust and innovative value proposition. Under the agreement, Zenus will exclusively issue Visa-branded debit cards.

Uganda to benefit from UGX 149 billion Mastercard foundation Covid-19 fund, June 30, Uganda is set to benefit from a USD 40m (over UGX 149 billion) special fund set up by the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to boost the Covid-19 fight. The COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program aims to accelerate Covid-19 testing on the continent and strengthen tracing, and treatment of Covid-19 cases. These funds will be used to purchase 1 million test kits, as well as train and deploy 10,000 community healthcare workers and 80 surveillance rapid responders to support contact tracing as well as strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a continental response to the pandemic.

Apple launches programme for unsuccessful credit card applicants, June 30, Apple has launched a new Apple Card programme designed to build credit for those who have had their applications declined. Path to Apple Card is a four-month, opt-in programme, which enables applicants to assess and improve the financial markers that made them unsuccessful. The programme leverages the information used by Goldman Sachs to determine credit worthiness and outline why they were declined.

PayPal expands “buy now, pay later” option to France, June 30, qualified customers who make purchases in France via PayPal can now pay in four equal installments over three months. Merchants will be paid in full immediately, PayPal said. Purchases must fall between EUR 100 and EUR 2,000, or between about USD 112 and USD 2,240. The program should be especially helpful for small business owners, who are often excluded from France’s existing popular installment payment programs. PayPal already offers similar financing in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

Banco Santander confirms Apple Pay will be introduced soon, June 30, Banco Santander just confirmed via Twitter and Facebook that it will support Apple Pay but that there is no official launch time yet. In addition to Banco Santander, there are 13 institutions supporting Apple Pay in Portugal, including Curve, Millennium BCP, N26, and Revolut.

Brazil’s central bank may cut benchmark interest rate again, July 1, the Central Bank of Brazil released its latest forecast, lowering Brazil’s GDP forecast for this year to a negative growth of 6.54 percent, and predicts that the benchmark interest rate may see another cut, lowering from 2.25 percent to 2 percent.

BIS selects seven central banks to expand its Innovation Center, June 1, the Board of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announced on June 30 the expansion of its Innovation Hub in cooperation with major central banks in Europe and North America. The BIS is aiming to open new centers over the next two years in collaboration with the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and four Nordic central banks – Danmarks Nationalbank, the Central Bank of Iceland, the Central Bank of Norway, and Sveriges Riksbank in Stockholm. “The Innovation Hub is an investment in the future of central banking and the financial system,” said the BIS. “These new centers will expand our reach significantly and help create a global force for fintech innovation.”

To encourage e-payments, Italian government reduces limit for cash payments from EUR 3,000 to EUR 2,000, July 1, starting July 1, extremely strict cash control measures will be implemented in Italy. From January 2022, the limit for cash payments will be reduced from EUR 3,000 to EUR 2,000, another cut of EUR 1,000. Violators will be heavily penalized, and fines will be determined according to the amount of cash transactions, with a maximum of EUR 250,000. At the same time, businesses using POS machines can enjoy tax relief. Bank fees incurred by merchants for using POS machines will be returned in the form of tax refunds (30 percent of bank fees). This rule only applies to businesses with revenues not exceeding EUR 400,000 in 2019. The policy is intended to encourage people to use e-money and promote social digitization.

Banks in Russia must inform CBR of relevant information about foreign payment service providers, July 1, the amended version of Russia’s “National Payment System Law” officially came into effect on July 1. Now, Russian banks must send information about foreign payment service providers to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). However, the new version will not affect UnionPay, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and JCB because these international payment systems have registered operating companies in Russia. The CBR also stated earlier that the amended version of the National Payment System Law will not have an adverse effect on the operation of international payment systems.

Smart Code introduces au PAY, July 1, JCB recently announced that Smart Code, its code-scanning payment solution, will introduce au PAY starting July 1, 2020. In this way, users will be able to make payments with au PAY at Smart Code’s partner stores.

Qoo10 introduces LINE Pay, July 1, eBay Japan recently announced that its online shopping platform Qoo10 has introduced LINE Pay since June 2020 and has held corresponding promotional activities.

GCash to begin to charge fees for withdrawals conducted via credit cards, July 1, GCash, the electronic payment service company of Globe Telecom, a telecommunications company in the Philippines, announced on June 29 that starting July 6, users who use GCash electronic currency-enabled Mastercard or Visa credit cards to withdraw money will be charged a 2.58 percent handling fee.

Liquid Group partners with NICE Payments to expand cross-border contactless QR payment network, July 1, Liquid Group, a regional mobile payment services group headquartered in Singapore, will partner with NICE Payments (NICE) as its merchant acquirer in Korea. Through this partnership, customers of Liquid Group and its issuer partners will be able to use their preferred payment apps and e-wallets for their local and overseas QR payment transactions at more than 33,000 of NICE’s QR-enabled merchants, including one of the largest duty-free shops in Korea and many other popular tourist destinations.

Coupang to officially introduce Coupang Pay on August 1, July 1, South Korea’s e-commerce company Coupang announced that it will officially launch Coupang Pay, its payment service, on August 1. Coupang said that through a series of measures, Coupang Pay will be developed into a leading integrated fintech platform. It is learned that previously Coupang Pay can only be used on the Coupang website. In the future, the service will be extended into other online shopping sites and offline scenarios.

BPC’s O-CITY joins Visa Ready for Transit program, July 1, O-CITY, BPC’s smart city payment division, has joined Visa’s Ready for Transit program in a bid to benefit transit agencies and riders from tapping to ride system with a contactless card or digital wallet. O-CITY is now a certified partner and will be available to cities globally for accelerating digital transformation. O-CITY enables tap-to-pay for travellers using their existing Visa card, mobile phone or a wearable device such as a smartwatch.

MCB Bank, JCB team up to launch co-branded debit cards in Myanmar, July 1, Myanmar Citizens Bank (MCB Bank) has partnered with JCB International to roll out co-branded debit cards in Myanmar. The new card is dubbed MCB MPU-JCB Co-Branded Card, comes in Platinum and Classic debit card variations, and can be used for all face-to-face and e-commerce payments as well as for ATM transactions.

TransferWise partners with two Swiss banking services, July 1, TransferWise, the cross-border money transfer fintech, is firming up its presence in Switzerland. Swiss challenger neon, and the digital bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg have integrated with the fintech. Neon’s 30,000 users can send money abroad through their banking apps using TransferWise’s technology and Google-level rates.

Swedish central bank keeps interest rates unchanged, July 1, Sweden’s central bank announced keeping the target interest rate unchanged at the zero level, in line with market expectations. In addition, the central bank said that the asset purchase structure has expanded from SEK 300 billion to SEK 500 billion since the crisis and that the purchase will last until the end of June next year.

Central Bank of Kazakhstan demonstrating feasibility of introducing CBDC Tenge, July 1, at present, the Central Bank of Kazakhstan is demonstrating the feasibility of introducing the CBDC Tenge. The bank said: “The main task of the central bank is to maintain inflation targets and financial market stability, and the digital currency solution is the second priority. The key is to ensure that the design of a digital currency system is consistent with the objectives of monetary policy.” The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) is willing to provide test support and formulate a legal basis for Kazakhstan to introduce its digital currency.

European Commission: Caps on interchange fees have proved their worth, July 1, the European Commission says regulations to cap the interchange fees charged to merchants by the global card schemes have had the desired effect of reducing costs to merchants and driving cross-border acquiring. The main objectives of the initial 2015 Regulation were the creation of a single market for card payments and the prevention of competition restrictions. The separation of card schemes from entities processing card transactions was specified by Regulatory Technical Standards, which entered into force on 7 February 2018.

Uber to deprioritize business including credit cards and digital wallet, July 2, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber will “deprioritize” some of its finance-related projects, which include credit cards, a digital wallet and instant payments for drivers.

Scale of Vietnam’s e-commerce market to reach USD 15 billion in 2020, July 1, Vietnam’s e-commerce market is set to maintain its recent growth momentum this year with a 30 percent year-on-year rise to reach USD 15 billion. The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a change in Vietnamese consumption habits with many shifting to online shopping, according to the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM). Businesses have also been paying more attention to mobile shopping, with 50 percent allowing customers to order and pay for products via smartphone, up 7 percentage points from 2018, the VECOM said.

Coronavirus accelerates shift to online shopping as consumers fear contracting the disease from handling banknotes, July 2, the coronavirus pandemic is speeding up consumers’ preference for contactless and digital payments as hygiene concerns about handling banknotes become a top priority for consumers in Asia-Pacific, according to Mastercard. In Asia-Pacific, save for Japan and South Korea, eight other markets polled by Mastercard found that more than half of consumers consistently said they plan to use cash less often, led by 69 percent of Australians, and 67 percent of Singaporeans.

SAR will be a totally cashless society within five years – Macau Pass Director, July 1, the Director of Macau Pass S.A., Joe Liu, stated Wednesday that he believes Macau will be a totally cashless society within five years. According to Liu, transactions handled by the MPay mobile payment platform – including Alipay and WeChat Pay transactions – last year amounted to some MOP10 billion (USD 1.2 billion), with the service currently used by some 400,000 local residents, or more than half the local population. According to the businessman, the group is now looking to expand MPay services further into cross-border transactions and payments but admits the scope of this expansion will always be dependant on the level of restrictions imposed by local financial regulations enforced by the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM).

SMCC to continue maintaining the payment processing fee cap of 3.25 percent, July 1, Sumitomo Mitsui Credit Card Company (SMCC) recently announced that it will continue to help promote the cashlessness of small and medium-sized enterprises in Japan. Therefore, it will continue the payment processing fee cap of 3.25 percent. In addition, SMCC is also working hard to improve the payment cycle, and launched a six-month transfer cycle so that partner stores can get turnover every five days.

Nayax Australia to begin accepting Eftpos, American Express and JCB in August, June 1, as of next month, August 2020, the eftpos, American Express and JCB will be accepted at more than 20,000 Nayax-powered vending machines. With the recent integrations of Wechat Pay and Alipay, and the addition of the aforementioned popular payment schemes, Nayax has solidified its position as the most accepted cashless provider in Australia.

ASX announces delaying rollout of blockchain clearing system, July 1, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has come under pressure to further postpone the launch of a blockchain replacement for its decades-old settlement and clearing system. The Clearing House Electronic Subregister System, or CHESS, is the existing infrastructure responsible for clearing and settlements of trades and transactions on the ASX’s network. The stock exchange is planning to overhaul the current system with distributed ledger technology to enable same-day settlements. One of the main share registry companies in Australia, Computershare opposed the new system and has required a two-year delay to the implementation of the ASX’s new blockchain-based system. The broker CPS Capital stated that if ASX launches a new system, the system will make ASX a monopolist, which will eventually force many companies to shut down.

BRI launches new digital wallet options, opening up contactless payment options for Americans returning to work, July 1, Benefit Resource, LLC (BRI) announced the launch of its digital wallet options on Apple Pay®, Google Pay® and Samsung Pay®. The contactless payments enabled through the digital wallet provide participants with a Beniversal® Prepaid Mastercard® and eTRAC® Prepaid Mastercard® a safe, convenient method to pay for eligible items. The digital wallet options from BRI allow participants to use their pre-tax account funds to pay for their commuter benefits and health care expenses through a contactless payment experience.

SCT Inst transaction limit increased to EUR 100,000, July 1, As of today, the maximum amount per Sepa Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) transaction went up from EUR 15,000 to EUR 100,000. Users can use the SCT Inst scheme in higher-value business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions. This new transaction limit means additional freedom for users to pay and be paid in an instant.

Gala Technology expands to Germany, July 1, Gala Technology, the innovative UK based company, behind the SOTpay payment solution, have announced that they have extended their capabilities to support merchants in Germany, to support demand from their acquiring partners. This expansion will enable German merchants to use the ‘out-of-the-box’ cloud based technology to process card not present (CNP) transactions.

Visa turns to IDfy for Video KYC of cardholders in India, July 1, Visa has selected India-based fraud detection solutions provider IDfy as the preferred partner for remote verification and onboarding of its cardholders. Under the partnership, IDfy will complete the Video KYC of Visa’s credit cardholders in India. IDfy’s Video KYC platform will allow Visa card-issuing banks in the country to issue credit cards to their customers instantly. Banks can now complete a customer’s KYC process via a live video call – which will help them accelerate customer onboarding.

Binance to buy majority stake in Swipe startup to issue payment cards, July 1, the cryptocurrency exchange Binance is preparing to acquire majority stake in cryptocurrency startup Swipe. After the acquisition is completed, Binance will soon be able to issue its own Binance Card in the UK and European markets.

Reduniq: Contactless payments accelerated with the pandemic, July 1, Reduniq, a financial institution in Portugal, said that compared with the same period last year, card payments on its network in March and April (up to the 13th) dropped 23.8 percent and 51 percent, respectively. However, the data also shows that compared with the same period last year, an increase of 241 percent in online transactions and an increase of 103 percent in contactless payments were recorded from April 1 to and April 13, 2020.

First CBDC in Eurozone to be issued in Lithuania, July 2, the first blockchain-based central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Eurozone will be issued in Lithuania. Dubbed LBCOIN, the digital coin will be sold in packs of six for EUR 99, and 24,000 LBCOINs will be issued totally. It is learned that the sharp decline in the use of cash and the prospect of Facebook’s 2.5 billion users adopting its currency Libra are the main reasons why central banks start to study issuing a CBDC. In addition, the spread of the Covid-19 virus has promoted millions of people in switching to cashless payments, which has also accelerated the generation of the CBDC.

Japan accelerates preparations for CBDC, July 3, in order to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will accelerate preparations. The BOJ released a summary report on technical issues on July 2 and said it will conduct experiments to solve related issues to explore the feasibility of a CBDC. Although the start time of the trial has not been disclosed, it is estimated that the bank will cooperate with private financial institutions and payment operators to verify at a technical level whether payment can be made in an offline environment.

NBK: Kazakhstan’s international reserves reach USD 90 billion, July 2, according to the data from the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NBK), at the end of May 2020, Kazakhstan’s international reserves reached USD 90 billion. The NBK’s international reserves reached USD 31.5 billion. In May, the NBK’s international reserves saw an increase of USD 951.2 million, up 3.1 percent MoM.

ITU publishes Alipay’s international standard of intelligent risk control technology to provide security services to 40 million merchants worldwide, July 2, according to the official website of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), recently, the international standard of intelligent risk control technology whose development was led by Ant Financial, the parent company of Alipay, was officially launched. Dubbed ITU-T X.1451 (Risk identification to optimize authentication), the international standard was published by the ITU. After the release of this international standard, the risk control technology of Alipay may become the standard for the overseas mobile payment market, extending the infrastructure construction of security capabilities to the world. Alipay also said that in next three years, it plans to cooperate with 40 million merchants worldwide to deliver security capabilities.

Process of going cashless in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam begins to accelerate, July 2, Saigon Co.op, a large Vietnamese retail company, recently announced that the number of users of cashless payment methods in Ho Chi Minh City has increased from 3 percent to 5 percent last year to 21 percent. It is reported that the Covid-19 pandemic leads to a sharp increase in the use of payment methods other than cash. In addition, the process of going cashless in gas stations and schools in Ho Chi Minh City has also made progress.

Number of PayPay users has exceeded 30 million, July 2, PayPay held a press conference on July 1, 2020 to introduce the development status of the service. So far, the number of PayPay users has exceeded 30 million, and the number of partner stores has also exceeded 2.3 million. In the first quarter of 2020, the number of payments made via PayPay reached 430 million, 8.6 times as many as the same period last year and 1.2 times as many as the previous quarter, and kept growing amid the pandemic.

Zero Pay partners with WeChat Pay, July 2, it is reported that the QR code interoperability between South Korea’s mobile payment service Zero Pay and WeChat Pay has entered the final stage, and it is expected that as soon as October this year, Chinese tourists will be able to use WeChat Pay in 500,000 partner stores of Zero Pay across South Korea. The cooperation between the two companies will be beneficial to the increase in the revenue of South Korean tourism.

South Korea’s Sulbing announces introduction of PAYCO, July 3, South Korea’s Sulbing said that it will introduce PAYCO, a mobile payment service, to provide more convenience for customers. It is learned that the payment service will be available in more than 360 stores of Sulbing across South Korea.

Russia’s TKB Bank launches Visa phone number transfer service, July 2, Russia’s TKB Bank announced the launch of Visa phone number transfer service. Now the bank’s cardholders can transfer money via a phone number in messagingapps such as Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., without using the bank’s mobile app.

Russia’s Post Bank launches service to enable transfers to bank account of CIS countries, July 2, Russia’s Post Bank announced the launch of a service for customers to transfer to bank accounts of the CIS countries. The service fee is 1 percent. Now the bank’s Mir cardholders can transfer money to bank card accounts in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and in the future they can also transfer money to other CIS countries.

Apple Card users can now make online card payments, July 2, with a new website Apple has launched, Apple Card holders will be able to check balances and do business online. The site,, allows users to sign in and see their balance, their next payment due date and the total limit of their card. Users can download monthly statements, and they can visit the Settings tab to add another account, schedule a payment or view the Mastercard benefits related to Apple Card.

Zwipe, Publicenter partner to launch biometric payment cards in Europe, July 2, Norway-based biometric fintech firm Zwipe has partnered with Italy-based smart card manufacturer Publicenter to launch advanced biometric payment cards. The partners will also roll out wearables, and both these products will be brought to financial institutions and end-consumers across Europe. Publicenter said that in Italy 50 percent of transactions processed at point of sale (POS) terminals were contactless before the Covid-19 pandemic began. As the need for contactless payment surged during the pandemic, it plans to extend the new biometric payment solutions to its customers as businesses commence.