Apple wins support from ING, Macquarie in Australia: While Apple battles a group of large Australian banks over terms of its mobile payments app, it has entered separate deals with ING Direct and Macquarie, according to Apple's site in Australia. ING and Macquarie join about a dozen banks, credit unions and U.S. card brands in supporting Apple Pay in Australia. The remaining holdouts include the country's largest Australian-based banks, which are petitioning the government to allow collective bargaining in negotiations on Apple Pay's terms. The banks say they do not want to negotiate on fees, but want Apple to open its Near Field Communication technology to support contactless pay in stores. The government has issued a preliminary ruling against the banks, but is expected to issue a final ruling early next month. A win for the banks could have major impact. Apple could be compelled to open its NFC technology to banks and merchants in other markets, and the large Australian banks could seek to collectively bargain on other issues.

Bloomberg News

Ant gets aggressive in Asia: Ant Financial is investing $200 million in Kakao Pay, a pending subsidiary of KakaoTalk, a Korean messaging app. TechinAsia reports the app will allow people to make payments through their phones for web and in-store purchases. KakaoTalk launched in 2010 and counts 97% of South Korea's smartphone owners as users. Ant, which is run by Chinese tycoon Jack Ma and is affiliated with the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and the Alipay P-to-P app, has made several investments in the region lately, including in mobile payment companies in the Philippines and Thailand. Ant is also acquiring MoneyGram, its first major investment in a U.S. company.

Mastercard's tech catalyst in Russia: Mastercard is working with a group of Russian banks and Accenture to operate a technology lab and accelerator to expedite the introduction of financial services products in Russia. CustomsToday reports Ak Bars, VTB 24, Bank Saint Petersburg and Home Credit Bank will participate in the lab, considered the first such collaboration in Russia. Mastercard will sponsor the lab while Accenture will consult on the lab, drawing on its experience from running similar labs in Hong Kong, New York and London. Russian universities and the government will also participate in the initiative. The U.S. card networks have not always found it easy in Russia, as Russia develops a government-run payments network in response to U.S. sanctions over its moves in Crimea several years ago.

Less paper, more action on AML: The Clearing House is asking its members to change their approach to anti-money laundering, focusing more on innovation to stop the crime and less on producing suspicious activity reports. Finextra reports the organization, which is already challenged to upgrade AML technology because of the move to faster processing, polled bankers, financial technology company executives, law enforcement and lawyers and found banks spend billions of dollars yearly on AML compliance with limited effect.

NAB lends payments tech to health care project: Medipass Solutions is developing a new digital platform designed to connect patients with health care providers. ZDNet reports the platform will work similar to the ridesharing app Uber, enabling patients to use an app to make appointments and receive upfront cost estimates. NAB will supply its health claims and payments system to process transactions for the platform. NAB has been working with Medibank and a group of health care providers on the project for the past year, and expects a full market launch by the middle of 2017.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Uber would have to allow drivers to collect tips from credit cards under a new California bill
Los Angeles Times • Liam Dillon
Essential Politics: Democrats in Congress hear from ICE, California lawmakers consider making election day a paid state holiday Feb. 17, 2017, 5:07 p.m. This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:...

This Richard Branson-Backed Firm Wants to Help You Send Money Overseas Using Facebook
Fortune Magazine • Reuters
TransferWise says it'll be the first to allow international transfers entirely within Messenger.

Paathshala: Decoding BharatQR
The Economic Times of India • Pratik Bhakta
Along with UPI or card swiping on PoS machines, the government has introduced QR code based payment which can be done through the customer's smartphone..

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