This week’s payments roundup comes from Payments Insider, the daily briefing delivered first thing every morning exclusively to BI Intelligence members.
RUSSIA REPORTEDLY FREES CYBERCRIME CONVICT TO BUILD NATIONAL PAYMENTS NETWORK
An ex-con granted early release from a Russian penal colony will play a key role in building that country’s national payments network, according to Russian journalist Irek Murtazin.
Convicted last year of organising a web attack on Russian airline Aeroflot, Pavel Vrublevsky, the co-founder of major Russian e-payments company ChronoPay, was inexplicably released last week on early parole.
Vrublevsky’s release came with “an offer he couldn’t refuse,” writes Murtazin — to help run Russia’s new national payments network, set to roll out on July 1.
APPLE WARMS UP TO BITCOIN, ALLOWS FIRST WALLET APP
Just days after reports surfaced that Apple had updated its app developer guidelines to allow “approved virtual currencies,” Australia-based Bitcoin wallet CoinJar reappeared on the iOS app store in Australia.
Apple had previously rejected apps designed to send or receive payment in Bitcoin, though an official ban was never announced.
The new developer guidelines allow apps that “facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions.”
“This is a sign that the [Bitcoin] ecosystem is maturing and gaining credibility,” Bill Lee, an investor in bitcoin wallet BitGo, told Bloomberg in an email. In addition to CoinJar, several Bitcoin wallet developers were reportedly planning to submit previously rejected wallet apps as soon as this week.
FTC WINS COURT ORDER IN PAYDAY LENDING CRACKDOWN
A U.S. federal judge last week found payday lender AMG Services liable for engaging in deceptive practices, another blow in a widespread federal crackdown on the payday lending industry, which originates an estimated $US27 billion in annual loan volume.
The judgement comes in a civil suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one of several suits filed in an FTC “crackdown” against payday lenders that it accuses of tricking customers into what are effectively triple-digit interest rates.
As we’ve reported, the U.S. Department of Justice, a separate federal enforcement arm, is cracking down on banks that allow allegedly deceptive lenders access to borrower bank accounts via the federal ACH electronic money transfer system.
NIGERIANS CLAMOR FOR PAYPAL ACCESS
A group of Nigerians have issued a plea to PayPal, and it doesn’t involve dubious schemes for moving massive sums of money abroad on behalf of a deposed ruler. Nigeria-based responsive web-design shop Creativity Kills has posted a petition on Change.org asking the U.S.-based PayPal to extend operations to Nigeria, one of the few countries it does not currently serve.
“Granted, Nigeria is known for internet fraud, but NOT everyone in Nigeria is a fraud,” the petition reads. “This has become a source of frustration for us the Legit people who want to carry out ecommerce online.”
The petition had attracted 464 signatures at press time.
“We would like to thank the people of Nigeria for their enthusiasm,” PayPal wrote in a statement to BI Intelligence.
“While we do not comment on future plans, we can confirm that we [are] evaluating ways to improve our product offerings to best serve the needs of merchants and consumers in this market.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.