Morning Brief 5.14.20: Apple Pay drives coronavirus contactless surge in Australia

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

Contactless bite

Australia's largest four banks have completed their rollout of Apple Pay following a lengthy battle, and the app is quickly driving uptake in contactless payments.

In all, 10.8% of Australians use non-bank contactless mobile payments, up from 7.1% a year ago, reports 9to5Mac. Apple Pay accounts for two thirds of those users. Google Pay is also up, moving to 4.1% of users from 3.6%.

The site attributes the growth to a move to contactless payments due to concerns over handling paper money during the coronavirus outbreak.

Steel block

While China works on a digital yuan, the traditional version of the currency is proving adaptable to blockchain.

Standard Chartered has issued its first blockchain-supported international letter of credit using the yuan. CoinDesk explains the supply chain transaction involved Chinese steel company Baosteel and Australian mining company Rio Tinto.

The blockchain trade finance network Contour executed the transaction, following on an earlier blockchain supported payment between two petrochemical companies in Asia. Standard Chartered made an undisclosed investment in Contour in January.

Order of VC

KKR has invested $43 million in Slice, an online ordering platform that supports payments and other business operations for small pizzerias. The New York-based Slice will use the funds to add to its mobile technology, reports VentureBeat.

The investment comes as most restaurants have been limited to delivery or pickup during coronavirus closures. Even as lockdowns ease, restaurants will have extra restrictions that will encourage digital ordering and payments.

Slice offers a branded app and a white label option for pizzerias, as well as a dashboard, and tools to manage menus, promo codes and hours.

Alphabet court

The Delhi High Court will hear a complaint that Google Pay has violated India's United Payments Interface rules by not allowing new users to use existing virtual payment addresses.

The petition says Google requires users to create a new UPI ID, which allegedly does not allow for choice among UPI platforms, reports Inc42.

Google has used its connections to UPI to offer a range of payment services in India, and controls more than half of UPI's total volume.

Going global

Featurespace, the U.K.-based maker of financial fraud prevention technology, raised £30 million pounds (US$36 million) in a funding round led by Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited, according to a press release.

Featurespace over the last 16 months has raised a total of £55 million, which has powered expansion into more global markets, including Singapore.

From the web

Payment apps may pose a coronavirus scam threat, AARP says
CNBC | Wed May 13, 2020
Mobile payment apps like PayPal and Venmo could expose consumers to coronavirus-related scams, according to AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans.

Wirecard first quarter up 26% thanks to boost from consumer business
REUTERS | Thu May 14, 2020
Wirecard on Thursday said its first-quarter profit rose 26%, days after the German payments company overhauled its management as a way to restore investor confidence following accounting accusations and regulatory probes.

Consumers are having a tougher time getting credit -- and keeping it
CNN | Wed May 13, 2020
Credit card companies are increasingly reducing cardholders' credit limits or closing cards entirely, according to Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards.

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