Welcome to our new Payments Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital payments industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHES A MOBILE PAYMENT PLATFORM. China has a new national mobile payments platform. The system, which the People’s Bank of China began testing last year, provides a ubiquitous mobile payments infrastructure for financial institutions and mobile operators.
What this means is that all the different enterprises that offer mobile payments will use one set of rails so that mobile payments can be rolled out smoothly.
The new system was developed for NFC-based smartphone payments, which require users to move their mobile phones in close proximity to a scanner in order to make a payment.
The decision to create infrastructure for NFC-based payments is a bit odd. Especially since NFC-based proximity payments accounted for just 0.8% of payments made with mobile devices in China in 2013, according to iResearch.
On the other hand, part of the reason for low proximity payment volume may be that there aren’t enough point-of-sale devices that currently accept proximity payments. In that case, the new infrastructure could drive a surge in mobile payment adoption. (China Daily)
MOBILE PAYMENTS ARE HUGELY POPULAR IN AFRICA. As we’ve reported, over two-thirds of Kenyans have used mobile money transfer services. A similar trend can be seen throughout Africa as well, according to new data from Pew Global. Half of Ugandans, for example, have made or recieved a payment via mobile device. In South Africa, nearly a third have used their mobile devices for payments. One explanation is the relatively high level of mobile device penetration in those regions versus a much smaller number of people with bank accounts. (Pew Global)
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SQUARE CASH LETS YOU REQUEST MONEY FROM AN INDIVIDUAL OR A GROUP VIA EMAIL. Square Cash announced a new feature yesterday that will allow users to request payments from an individual or a group via email by adding “[email protected]” in the CC space of an email. (Square)
PAYMENTS PROCESSOR VANTIV ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS. We recently covered fourth quarter earnings reported by four of the top payments processors in the U.S. Today, Cincinnati-based Vantiv joins the list. Vantiv saw strong net revenue growth in its merchant services segment rising to $US225.6 million in the fourth quarter, — a 20% increase from the same period in 2012. (Vantiv)
GEMALTO STRIKES DEAL TO BRING MOBILE PAYMENTS TO HONG KONG AND MACAU. Global digital security firm Gemalto announced yesterday that it would provide software to support Chinese Joint Electronic Teller Services Limited (JETCO) for its rollout of NFC payment capability in Hong Kong and Macau. The deal will make it possible for smartphone users to make payments at retailers who have NFC-compatible points-of-sale. (Gemalto)
BITCOIN MARKETPLACE FOR ILLEGAL GOODS GETS HACKED. In the early days of Bitcoin, there was a site called Silk Road that acted as a marketplace for people to buy black market goods. Silk Road was seized by the FBI, but a new version sprang up, ingeniously named “Silk Road 2.0” Yesterday, Silk Road 2.o administrators announced that the site had been hacked by one of its sellers and the site lost $US2.6 million worth of bitcoins. The administrators say that the hacker exploited the same software bug that led Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox to freeze withdrawals during the last week. (Forbes)
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