Morning Brief 4.7.20: Amazon Prime Day may get pushed back

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

Not prime time?

Amazon may postpone its annual Amazon Prime Day online shopping extravaganza that's usually around July 15 to later this year, due to COVID-19. Plans to delay the event surfaced in an internal Amazon memo, Reuters reports.

The move could dent Amazon’s mid-summer sales, based on data from previous years. Dangling deals and promotions for more than 100 million Amazon Prime members who pay a $119 annual fee, the event last year drove sales of 175 million items, exceeding the company's sales volume for the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, Amazon said.

Amazon Prime Day launched in July 2015 and gradually expanded from 24 to 36 hours, becoming a critical factor in third-quarter sales and the top source of new Amazon Prime memberships, according to Amazon.

No contact

Publix Super Markets has added contactless payment technology to all 1,200 of its stores as more shoppers demand a way to pay without touching checkout terminals.

The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer said the pandemic caused it to expedite efforts to add NFC contactless payments ahead of schedule, Supermarket News reports. “In these unprecedented times, we recognized the need to make our customers’ trips to our stores faster and more efficient,” Publix’s CEO Todd Jones told the publication.

Globally, banks are working with merchants and the major payment networks to increase limits for contactless payments to stem the spread of COVID-19. Australia’s self-regulatory body for payments last week doubled the limit to AU$200 (US$121) for consumers making a contactless payment without manually entering a PIN. Mastercard last month authorized boosting Canada’s PIN-free contactless limit from CA$100 to CA$250 (US$177).

Direct connection

Intuit’s TurboTax is collaborating with the IRS to enable the estimated 10 million eligible individuals who don’t regularly file a tax return to receive the coronavirus stimulus payments via direct deposit, according to a press release. The CARES Act guarantees direct payments of $1,200 from the U.S. Treasury to about 80% of U.S. citizens.

The TurboTax Stimulus Registration tool, available online, invites users to fill out a form to confirm their identity, add their bank account details and choose whether they want to receive funds electronically or via check. Eligible taxpayers who filed their taxes online within the last two years will automatically receive their stimulus funds via direct deposit, the government said earlier this month.

The IRS plans to begin delivering stimulus funds in mid-April, when it will also make a secure online portal available at for taxpayers to update their bank details online. Stimulus recipients who don’t provide bank account details will receive a mailed check, the IRS said in a recent bulletin.

Don’t leave home

American Express has adapted its ongoing Shop Small campaign to the COVID-19 era, using social media to encourage home-bound consumers to shop online at small businesses hit hard by the pandemic. On Instagram Amex invites users to nominate friends to #StayHome and #ShopSmall, while small businesses are using Amex's tags to directly link to their e-commerce websites. Lin-Manuel Miranda also is urging his fans on Facebook and Twitter to follow Amex's Shop Small suggestion.

Separately, Amex and Hilton are leveraging their strategic partnership—Amex is the sole issuer of Hilton Honors cobranded cards—to help frontline workers during the pandemic. Beginning next week the companies will donate up to 1 million hotel room nights across the U.S. to doctors, nurses, EMT's, paramedics and other frontline medical personnel who need respite. Hilton will work with 10 medical employee associations to provide free access for qualified individuals to various Hilton-branded hotel rooms from April 13 to May 31, with Amex and hotel owners sharing costs.

From the web

As coronavirus layoffs surge in richer countries, poorer ones lose vital remittance payments
THE WASHINGTON POST | Mon April 6, 2020
Billions of dollars in remittances from wealthier nations to poorer ones may be vanishing, threatening the welfare of millions of families globally and the health of their countries in the months ahead, economists say. The breadth of the pandemic’s economic shock is being felt around the world, and it is not possible to compensate for the loss of remittances from one country with those from others.

How A Bitcoin ATM May Offer Equal Access To Digital Money In America
FORBES | Mon April 6, 2020
With national banks announcing last week they were not ready to offer the U.S. Government’s payment protection program loan designed to provide economic relief during COVID-19, the opportunity to improve customer experiences with accessing money is at an all-time high. At least that is the hope, particularly for the crypto industry.

Huawei joins China’s UnionPay to launch mobile payment service Huawei Pay in Singapore
China’s Huawei Technologies has launched its Huawei Pay service in Singapore in collaboration with China’s UnionPay in the latest effort to expand the service globally. Huawei will face stiff competition in Singapore’s fragmented mobile payments sector, with local platforms such as GrabPay, FavePay and PayNow.

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