Morning Brief 5.27.20: Alipay gets closer to banking in China

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Alipay is inching closer to banking through a partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which will offer three-year term deposit services.

It's a quick expansion of an earlier one-year term deposit service that Alipay and ICBC launched in January. The bank reports a 700% increase in the scale of the one-year service in its first four months.

ICBC is also accelerating a digital transformation, planning to add more financial and payment services through Alibaba and Alipay. Alipay has also expanded its network of users through partnerships with parties outside of China, such as TransferWise.

ATM desert

Declining ATM access during the growth of mobile payments has long been a political hot button in the U.K., and the coronavirus has inflamed tensions.

About three dozen MPs warn the U.K. cash system may "collapse" as people abandon ATMs during the coronavirus outbreak, reports Finextra. ATM usage has plunged more than 60% during lockdowns, and 75% of U.K. residents say they are using paper money less.

The legislators are pushing a measure that would support free cash machines and cut ATM fees. The group also contends the Link ATM network's pledge to use member banks to backstop the loss of free ATMs is inadequate.

Mobile harvest

Mastercard and Airtel Payments Bank will co-develop NFC payments, credit access and locally tailored financial services for small businesses and farmers in India.

The two companies hope to push digital technology in agriculture, considered a key piece of financial inclusion in India, reports Economic Times.

Mastercard has had regulatory disputes with India over data storage, but has invested more than $2 billion to build new payment technology in the country.

Token beat

eMusic has launched its own digital currency to support payments directly to recording artists, which the company says will allow the musicians to have more visibility into how their music is being consumed.

Called eMU, the token is listed on Bilbox, and is designed as an alternative to streaming, which eMusic contends is prone to third parties extracting fees.

eMusic was founded in 1998 and has sold about one billion downloads from a catalog of more than 26 million recordings. It relaunched in 2017 as a fully digital service and is building a decentralized platform.

From the web

Payment giant Stripe launches in five new countries
THE TELEGRAPH | Wed May 27, 2020
Payments giant Stripe will start processing payments for businesses in the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta.

MoneyGram shares surge after coronavirus partnership with Uber
FOX | Tue May 26, 2020
Shares of MoneyGram surged 16 percent Tuesday on news it will team up with Uber to support drivers and delivery couriers during the coronavirus pandemic by offering a discount on digital money transfers sent to family and friends in over 200 countries and territories.

GoBear raises $17 million to expand its consumer financial services for Asian markets
TECHCRUNCH | Tue May 26, 2020
Singapore-based fintech startup GoBear has raised $17 million from returning investors, which will be used to expand its consumer financial services platform in seven Asian markets. The startup serves consumers who don’t have credit cards or other access to traditional credit building tools.

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