Morning Brief 9.13.19: Australian legislators push faster payments for fintechs

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

Opening up

Australia is moving closer to open banking regulation, and is also considering ways to improve access to the country's real-time payments scheme for technology startups.

A Senate committee will spend the next year investigating policies for fintech and regtech firms, consumer control over data and how non-banks engage with banks and other parties, reports the Financial Review.

The government has already moved to create more competition for Australia's "big four" banks, such as issuing more licenses to payment startups to offer expanded banking services.

Canadian collab

Western Union has allied with Canadian payment technology firm Paramount Commerce to support online or mobile bank-to-bank transfers from Canadian consumers to recipients in more than 100 countries.

Western Union is trying to reach consumers looking for digital options, as well as alternatives to credit cards, including funding from bank accounts. The company is also trying to extend its share of the USD $24.6 billion that consumers in Canada send outside the country, Western Union said.

As fintechs and blockchain companies cut into traditional cross-border payments, Western Union and MoneyGram have both invested in more digital options.

Creators' deal

Artist crowdfunding payment site Patreon has sold product curation site Kit to affiliate link service Geniuslink.

Patreon owned Kit for only about a year, but that was long enough for Kit to help build Patreon's Merch feature, which Patreon's creators use to sell customized merchandise to their followers, with Patreon handling the shipping and tracking.

Geniuslink will provide user support and improve Kit's infrastructure, Patreon said in its announcement, adding there's substantial client overlap between the companies.

Gig economy apps push back

Companies like Lyft, Uber and DoorDash are protesting a California bill that would require more traditional labor protections to gig economy workers by classifying them as employees instead of on-demand contractors.

The bill could restrict the companies' business models, and potentially the opportunity for fintechs to provide services to accommodate nontraditional payment needs such as irregular payrolls and supply chain purchases.

The companies are lobbying for an alternative resolution that would allow gig economy workers to organize and provide compensation minimums, but allow classification as independent contractors, reports Fortune. New York is considering a similar law to California's.

From the Web

Zelle Co-Founder Takes Over Stellar Startup as Ludwin Joins Spin-Out
COINDESK | Thu September 12, 2019
Adam Ludwin is stepping down as CEO of Interstellar to head a new spin-out. The company, which focuses on expanding the Stellar blockchain ecosystem, has named financial industry veteran Mike Kennedy its new CEO, effective Sept. 15.

Commuter Benefits Cards Slow to Adapt to MTA’s New Tap-and-Pay System
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Thu September 12, 2019
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new fare payment system is supposed to make paying for transit rides quicker and easier—with a tap of a bank card or a smartphone. But technology delays at third-party administrators of commuter benefits programs mean that thousands of riders will continue to swipe their MetroCards to enter subways and buses and not switch to the new system anytime soon.

Max Levchin’s Affirm seeks capital amid surge in fintech funding
TECHCRUNCH | | Fri September 13, 2019
Another consumer finance business is lining up investors for its largest cash infusion yet. Affirm, founded by PayPal’s Max Levchin, is said to be raising as much as $1.5 billion in a combination of debt and equity, according to people with knowledge of the company’s fundraising activities.

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