Morning Brief 2.12.20: China opens the door another inch to U.S. payment firms

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

Cracking China?

The People’s Bank of China has given Mastercard the green light to eventually establish domestic bank card clearing operations, another sign of China thawing toward foreign financial institutions operating within its borders.

Mastercard, which last year renewed an earlier application to operate in China, said in a Tuesday press release it will work with NetsUnion Clearing Corporation of Beijing in a joint venture that within one year may apply to China’s central bank for formal approval to begin clearing bank card transactions.

Last year PayPal obtained a payments license to operate in China by purchasing a Chinese online payments company called GoPay, and American Express received preliminary permission from China to work with local fintech LianLian.

Cashless in Seattle

Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, where the National Football League’s Seahawks play, is the latest major stadium to go cashless. All concessions, retail and onsite parking now require payment with credit, debit or prepaid cards, Seattle’s KCPQ TV reports.

To accommodate visitors who prefer to use cash, CenturyLink has installed 10 kiosks around the stadium that convert cash—as little as $1—to a prepaid card which can be used anywhere, at no cost.

Several U.S. sports venues from Tampa’s Tropicana Field to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium recently began converting to cashless technology to streamline the sale of concessions inside arenas.

Tanking up

Shell Oil Co. and Dunkin’ are deepening their partnership with a promotion that triggers fuel discounts with every fifth beverage purchased at Dunkin’.

Consumers enrolled in Dunkin’s DD Perks loyalty program save 5 cents per gallon at Shell stations after every fifth Dunkin’ beverage purchase. The offer doubles to 10 cents per gallon for consumers who are also enrolled in Shell’s Fuel Rewards national coalition marketing program.

Consumers who sign up or link their existing DD Perks and Fuel Rewards loyalty programs online before April 30, 2020 may save up to 25 cents per gallon during an introductory period. Shell and Dunkin’ tested the promotion—which will run through the end of this year—at stores in the Northeast U.S. before rolling it out nationally.

Amex unlocks

The new Android 10 update adds Face Unlock for secure apps, and American Express has unveiled a beta version of its credit card app leveraging facial recognition technology for newer Google Pixel phones, 9to5Google reports. The move means Amex users can open their credit card app by looking at their Pixel 4 phones, bypassing the need to enter a password or other account details.

Apple Inc. in 2017 added Face ID for iPhones to unlock secure apps and the feature is now in widespread use for opening banking and payment apps.

From the Web

A Million EPayments Accounts Frozen Due to Regulation Control
COINTELEGRAPH | Tue February 11, 2020
EPayments Systems Ltd, a United Kingdom-authorized electronic money institution, must suspend online payment operations due to the Financial Conduct Authority’s anti-money-laundering (AML) procedures. With the current ban, customers will be unable to transfer, deal, withdraw or deposit funds and will be unable to use their ePayments cards.

Cyprus urged to go after laundering of foreign illicit cash
ABC NEWS | Wed February 12, 2020
Moneyval, which is part of the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights organization, said in a report that Cypriot law enforcement should be more aggressive in going after laundering of revenues that criminals rake in abroad because it's an international financial center within which many foreign clients operate. Moneyval said ill-gotten money from abroad flowing in or through Cypriot banks is the main money laundering and terror financing risk that Cyprus faces.

Singtel, SPH Magazines and others fined $66,000 for data protection breaches
THE STRAITS TIMES | Wed February 12, 2020
Singtel, SPH Magazines and Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia) were among the latest seven organisations which have flouted the data protection law and been fined $66,000 in total, according to decisions published by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) on Tuesday. Singtel encountered a technical issue during its migration to a new billing system in early 2018, resulting in the personal data of 750 mobile subscribers being exposed.

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