Morning Brief 2.4.20: Amazon develops more tech for in-home ordering

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

Shopping list

Amazon has added a feature on the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 that allows users to scan bar codes of items in their home to add to a shopping list.

It builds on a couple of earlier Amazon features, including Show and Tell, which helps identify pantry goods, reports Venturebeat. It's also a more advanced equivalent of the discontinued Dash buttons and wand that Amazon used to help users order household items.

Consumers can also use the feature by verbally asking the Alexa digital assistant to add the item to a shopping list.

Why Mastercard left Libra

One of Facebook's major challenges with its Libra cryptocurrency project has been managing the loss of several high-profile partners such as Visa, Mastercard and PayPal.

The departures have been generally attributed to compliance concerns, though Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga has revealed more details to the Financial Times. Banga told the paper he believes members weren't fully transparent regarding security controls. He also could not see how Libra would make money. When there's a lack of understanding of how money gets made, it "gets made in ways you don't like," Banga told the paper.

Vodafone also recently left Libra, saying it could support financial inclusion better through the MPesa mobile money service, which Vodafone financially backs.

More banking

Remitly is diversifying beyond remittances, adding broader payment and financial services through a partnership with Visa.

Remitly will offer a debit card that supports authentication through methods immigrants typically use, such as individual taxpayer ID numbers and government documentation, as opposed to Social Security numbers, reports Geekwire.

The initial service offers discount remittances for members, and Remitly plans to offer more banking services.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is upgrading dozens of stations to support contactless payments, reaching about 200 stations — or nearly half the subway network — by the end of February.

That's up from the two dozen stations from early tests, reports CurbedNY. Most of the system's major transfer points should have contactless payment terminals by that time.

Contactless payments in New York subways have outperformed expectations thus far, with the project expected to add Metro North and Long Island Railroad commuter trains in 2021.

From the Web

Inside China's mission to create an all-powerful cryptocurrency
WIRED | Tue February 4, 2020
As China expands trade globally as part of the belt and road initiative, DCEP has the potential for China to carve out significant financial autonomy and less exposure to the US. China’s moves in this arena will help to shape the future of digital currencies, swerving them dramatically away from the decentralised ideals that spurred their creation.

Banks temporarily close some branches in HK and Macau
THE STRAITS TIMES | Mon February 3, 2020
OCBC, HSBC, Standard Chartered and United Overseas Bank (UOB) have closed some branches in Hong Kong, while others have limited services; HSBC shut 24 branches, premier centres and business centres yesterday until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China.

BSP and Bank of Indonesia to work together on digital banking, payments
MANILA BULLETIN | Tue February 4, 2020
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Bank of Indonesia (BI) has agreed to help out each other in advancing banking and financial systems’ digital and payments sectors. The MOU aims to provide a framework for closer cooperation between the two central banks to achieve a more secure, efficient, and reliable payment system, and to promote digital financial innovation, according to the two central banks.

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