Morning Brief 1.23.20: Alipay reaches deeper into Italy with Helbiz micro travel deal

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

Scooting along

Alipay has partnered with micro-mobility firm Helbiz to enable payments for Helbiz devices in Italy.

Helbiz offers leasing for scooters and similar devices for short trips in highly dense areas. The Alipay partnership will focus on the European Football Championship, which will begin June 12 in Rome, and the Lunar New Year this month.

Alipay will support login and payments for the devices, with a focus on Chinese travelers looking for micro transportation. Alipay has built a substantial market outside China by focusing on travelers.

Real-time remittance

Western Union and Bharti Aitel plan to co-market near-instant transactions in India and more than a dozen nations in Africa. The two companies will work through Airtel Payments Bank in India and through mobile wallets in Africa.

The addressable market will include more than 15 million consumers in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and other nations, with service scheduled for launch later this year.

In India the partnership will work through Western Union's connection to India's government-backed UPI digital payment rail, boosting Western Union's presence in one of the world's largest remittance markets.

Cash-back moves forward

Visa is expanding its cash-back program beyond a test with Lloyds, hoping to reach underserved regions of the U.K.

The Visa/Lloyds program offers merchants a fee for handling cash-back transactions, mainly in remote areas or communities with low ATM access.

The decline of ATMs in the U.K. has created "cash deserts," sparking political pushback as banks weigh the expense of maintaining cash access while digital financial services expand.

Broken record

Microsoft has disclosed a security loophole that allowed more than 250 million customer service records to be accessible to most internet users.

The data included information that could have easily been used for phishing attacks, which could trick users into sharing information usable for payments and financial fraud. Microsoft fixed the database error, reports Engadget, adding Microsoft has bolstered its customer service security.

It's the second customer service incident in the past year at Microsoft, which suffered a hack in April 2019 that left email accounts exposed, according to Engadget.

From the Web

Exclusive: Eurazeo hires banks for $2.2 billion sale of payments firm Planet - sources
REUTERS | Wed January 22, 2020
European buyout fund Eurazeo has hired Citigroup and Evercore to prepare the sale of its payments business Planet in a deal that could value the Irish firm at up to 2 billion euros ($2.22 billion), three sources told Reuters. Eurazeo wants to launch an auction process in March as it seeks to capitalize on the rise of online shopping and mobile phone payments, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The Changing Face Of The Cashier
FORBES | Wed January 22, 2020
Digital transformation in the payments industry helps to enhance the customer experience while growing revenue and increasing operational efficiencies. Our own data revealed that in the next five years, frictionless payments will become an industry norm (the World Economic Forum predicts something similar) and a renowned focus on self-service technology will likely be the end of cashiers as we know them today.

Jack Dorsey’s Square Wins Patent for Fiat-to-Crypto Payments Network
YAHOO FINANCE | Thu January 23, 2020
Granted Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent details a payments system allowing users holding different asset types to transact with one another in real-time. The network itself can automatically exchange the sender’s payment into the asset specified by the receiver; this new system could be especially advantageous for the retail sector.

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