3.1.19 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Clearing the airspace
Air Canada's marketing program has been in a state of flux over the past year, but the confusion is settling down as the airline has entered a 10-year partnership with American Express that includes co-branded cards, access to Amex membership rewards and other cooperative deals.

Amex will join TD Bank, CIBC and Visa as part of a new loyalty program the airline will launch next year. Mastercard in late 2018 signed a marketing deal with WestJet and RBC, leaving most major card brands and banks assigned to airlines in Canada.

Air Canada in late 2018 reacquired Aeroplan, an older loyalty program the airline had earlier spun off in anticipation of starting a new program. The negotiations over bank participation in existing or "pending" programs had caused confusion over which brands were part of which airline's marketing program.
Their own office
Facebook's blockchain unit is making progress, reports The New York Times, which cites unidentified sources that say Facebook is approaching cryptocurrency exchanges about selling a product later this year.

Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Square have been rumored to be working on cryptocurrencies for some time, though payment experts say these companies will have the same merchant and consumer acceptance problems that slow other crypto payment projects.

Facebook is reportedly working on a stablecoin that uses its WhatsApp messaging platform. Facebook's blockchain unit has been hiring experts with payments backgrounds, which is fueling the speculation, and creating a air of mystery. The Times report, for example, mentions people who are working on crypto projects at Facebook have their own office with a separate key access.

Blockchain pay
South Africa's Standard Bank is building a permissioned payments blockchain that's scheduled to go live later this year.

The blockchain will cover Standard and Stanbic bank (another bank in the region) as well as the banks' clients and other third parties, according to Business Tech, a South African publication. Transactions will cover foreign exchange and Shyft, a company that builds blockchain networks.

Standard Bank is a frequent adoptor of new payments technology in South Africa, including mobile wallets and merchant services.

Plugging in
Apigate is partnering with One97, which operates Paytm, to boost Paytm's global profile among merchants.

Apigate's API will connect is international partners, including 3.5 billion consumers, 110 mobile network operators and 300 merchants.

Paytm has spent the past year diversifying beyond its mobile payment roots, adding new revenue streams via entertainment, investments and services for restaurants.

From the Web

Square’s Surging Bitcoin Business Will Restore Confidence in Crypto
CCN | Thu February 28, 2019 - Square, the $31 billion payments giant, processed over $166 million in Bitcoin purchases throughout 2018. Square processed the sale of $52.4 million in Bitcoin in the fourth quarter of last year, up nearly two-fold from its previous quarter.

Privacy complaints received by tech giants’ favorite EU watchdog up more than 2x since GDPR
TechCrunch | Thu February 28, 2019 - The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) received more than double the amount of complaints post-GDPR vs the first portion of 2018 prior to the new regime coming in: With 2,864 and 1,249 complaints received respectively.

Razer Pay launches in Singapore for beta testing
The Straits Times | Thu February 28, 2019 - Local gaming company Razer's electronic payments wallet has hit Singapore's shores - albeit in a limited testing phase. The Razer Pay e-wallet was launched for beta testing by gamers and other users, ahead of a full rollout that has now been scheduled for within the first six months of 2019.

More from PaymentsSource

Thailand bank to issue JCB rewards card for young adults
Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is launching its first credit card through Japan’s expanding JCB card network, targeting young adults who like to travel throughout Asia.

Why ACI needs Speedpay—and Western Union is better off without it
ACI’s $750 million deal to acquire Western Union’s Speedpay allows Western Union to clear its decks while ACI clears its runway.

TransferMate, Tradeshift team up for cross-border B2B payments
As the cross-border B2B payments segment drives new activity among partners and investors, TransferMate has teamed up with Tradeshift, a startup specializing in payments within the supply-chain marketplace.

Interac's P2P scale extends into B2B payments
P2P transfer apps aren't just for splitting the rent — they can also be portals to a wider array of financial services, as Canada’s national Interac debit network plans to prove.

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