Apple Pay approaches South Africa, Shopify suspends Trump stores

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Room to grow

Apple Pay is still adding markets seven years after its launch, with South Africa set to become the latest country to introduce the app.

Several South African banks have indicated upcoming support through messaging on their own apps and sites, according to MyBroadBand, a local technology news site. Other mobile wallets are already active in South Africa, including Samsung Pay, the technology site reports.

Apple Pay's growth has accelerated during the pandemic as consumers move to digital channels and Apple extends the payment app into more venues such as transit systems.

Fallout

Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify has removed two Donald Trump-related campaign and merchandise stores following the anti-democracy violence in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

Shopify, which provides a range of digital merchant services, technology and a network effect for e-commerce sellers, say the Trump stores violated the company's policy against sellers promoting violence, reports CBS.

Several technology companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have either cut off Trump or distanced themselves from the outgoing president since Wednesday.

Credit now, travel later

Atalaya Capital Management has extended a $68 million credit line to Uplift, a point of sale credit provider that serves more than 100 travel brands, including airlines such as Air Canada.

Uplift is among the growing class of Buy Now Pay Later companies, though by focusing on travel it targets a niche that's different from the general retail merchants that are Affirm and Klarna's sweet spot.

The investment also shows confidence that travel, which has declined severely during the pandemic, will recover and benefit from pent up demand as coronavirus vaccine rollouts accelerate. Uplift has raised about $700 million since launching in 2014.

Going public

Consumer fintech SoFi plans to go public through a merger with Social Hedosophia Holdings Corp V, a deal that could value SoFi as high as $8.65 billion.

SoFi has its roots as a student loan technology firm, but has added other services, fueled in part by a 2018 acquisition of Galileo that bolstered SoFi's payment technology and ability to work with other fintechs.

Venture capital investor Chamath Palihapitiya founded Social Hedosophia Holdings as a "blank check" company that's designed to help startups go public, according to TechCrunch.

From the web

China's internet regulator weighs tighter curbs on payment, shopping platforms
REUTERS | Thursday, January 7, 2020
China's top internet watchdog canvassed public opinion on Friday for a plan to update rules more than two decades old, aiming to widen oversight of online services to cover payment, shopping and livestreaming platforms.

PayPal backs crypto tax startup Taxbit
REUTERS | Thursday, January 7, 2020
PayPal Holdings Inc's venture arm has made an investment in Salt Lake City, Utah-based tech startup Taxbit, which helps consumers and businesses calculate the taxes owed on cryptocurrency holdings, the companies said on Thursday.

For Bankers, 2020 Was a Bad Year to Have a Good Year
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Thursday, January 7, 2020
Wall Street banks have had a decent crisis so far. That is unlikely to translate to bumper bonus payments for bankers and traders, as chief executives and boards grapple with the optics of big payouts amid economic hardship on Main Street.

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