Morning Brief 10.19.20: Apple Pay adds holdouts in Ireland; British Airways breach fine cut

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

Closing the app's gap

The Bank of Ireland is close to supporting Apple Pay, giving the app coverage of all major Irish banks and continuing Apple's recent record of winning over holdouts.

AIB, Ulster Bank and KBC already support Apple Pay, as do major fintechs such as N26 and Revolut, making Bank of Ireland a lone omission among financial institutions with a major presence in Ireland, reports the Independent in Ireland. The article didn't give a specific time for deployment but said the app is being marketed.

Apple Pay is also reportedly close to launching in Mexico, reports MacRumors, adding another large market after several years of waiting. Among large merchants, Kroger recently added support for NFC, and thus Apple Pay. Walmart is still among the major retail brands that does not accept Apple Pay.

Going digital

The Bank of Japan plans to experiment with central bank digital currencies, but it has not yet committed to a formal digital yen project.

The experiments and lack of a formal timeline suggest that while there is momentum toward government-backed digital currency, particularly as a way to counter the influence of the Facebook-affiliated Libra cryptocurrency, progress will be slow.

China is considered to be the furthest along, though its digital yuan has not yet launched; and Australian officials have questioned the need for a digital currency.

Donor box

Pret A Manger is collaborating with philanthropic fintech GoodBox to deploy contactless devices in Manchester and London to support the restaurant chain's charitable foundation.

The service began a pilot about two weeks ago, and found the contactless terminals boosted donations by 122% over cash giving. Goodbox offers terminals and other digital channels to accommodate digital giving.

As cash donations wane, digital tools are becoming a popular way to accommodate the shift. Adyen, for example, recently built a feature that allows its merchants to funnel consumer donations to various charities.

Shorter penalty

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office has reduced the fine for British Airways' 2018 breach from about $200 million to about $26 million, citing the impact of the pandemic on the airline industry and the airline's work in the wake of the incident, reports TechCrunch.

The British Airways breach included the theft of payment details and other personal information for more than 400,000 consumers. The information stolen covered both PCI and GDPR compliance, raising the possibility of a large penalty.

Even with the reduction, the new fine is the Information Commissioner's Office's largest fine thus far.

From the web

Visa Takes Stake in U.K. Fintech Global Processing Services
BARRON'S | Monday, October 19, 2020
Two weeks after Mastercard invested in Marqeta, its archrival, Visa, has taken a stake in another fintech, Global Processing Services, or GPS.

Alibaba Group will spend $3.6 billion to take control of Chinese supermarket giant Sun Art
TECHCRUNCH | Monday, October 19, 2020
Alibaba Group said today it will spend about $3.6 billion to take a controlling stake in Sun Art, one of China’s largest big-box and supermarket chains. After the transaction is complete, Alibaba Group will own 72% of Sun Art.

Amid tensions with China, India warns Amazon, Flipkart over country of origin rule
REUTERS | Saturday, October 17, 2020
The Indian government has warned Amazon.com’s local unit and Walmart’s Flipkart that sellers on their platforms are not complying with a rule requiring that a product’s country of origin be specified.

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