Morning Brief 2.20.20: Coinbase joins with Visa, getting closer to card issuance

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

In the club

Visa has granted principal membership to Coinbase, giving the crypto exchange the ability to add more features to its card program.

The membership allows Coinbase to directly issue cards and process payments in bitcoin, ether and XRP at Visa retailers, reports Forbes. Coinbase would be able to reduce reliance on third parties for incentives or other products. Coinbase has been working with Paysafe to offer debit cards, reports TechCrunch.

But Coinbase told Forbes it does not have imminent plans to directly issue Visa cards, and Visa said the card brand itself would not accept cryptocurrency.

Tourist attraction

Chinese mobile payment apps have found travel to be a major revenue source, causing other payment companies to jump on the opportunity.

VR Payments has developed what it calls the "China Solution" which is a bundle for retailers that includes support for AliPay, WeChat Pay, and payment specialists at Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken Cooperative, which helps retailers build e-commerce sites tailored for Chinese users.

The company hopes to reach merchants outside China that sell to travelers, then gain repeat business online when those travelers return home. The collaboration features language support for chat, marketing strategy and cross-border logistics.

Phone block

Asia Pacific Telecom and a U.S. telco have tested a cross-border blockchain transaction, allowing a customer of one carrier to make a payment to a user of the other carrier while roaming.

The Carrier Blockchain Study Group, which includes Softbank, Sprint and other telcos, is pushing the Asia Pacific model, which the telcos predict could create an alternative to global card networks, reports Ledger Insights.

Telcos have an uneven past in building payment networks, with the former Softcard wallet failing in the U.S. But there's recent activity, such as Verizon's partnership with Synchrony to issue a credit card.

MIR's landing

Russia's national payment system will be part of a national effort to reduce cash in Tajikistan.

MIR cardholders will be able to make card and contactless payments at merchants and access Amonat Bank ATMs, with the initial users expected to be travelers from Russia. The bank and MIR will later expand to other MIR countries.

MIR was created in 2015, partly to counter U.S. payment card brands and partly to counter U.S. sanctions against Russia.

From the Web

Gait analysis — a step too far for payment tech?
TECH HQ | Wed February 19, 2020
In essence, our unchangeable human traits and characteristics have become our signatures. As such, mobile biometrics are predicted to authenticate US$2 trillion worth of in-store and remote digital payment transactions yearly by 2023, according to Juniper Research.

Leaked Document Shows How Big Companies Buy Credit Card Data on Millions of Americans
VICE | Wed February 19, 2020
Yodlee, the largest financial data broker in the U.S., sells data pulled from the bank and credit card transactions of tens of millions of Americans to investment and research firms, detailing where and when people shopped and how much they spent. Multiple senators have urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Envestnet, which owns Yodlee, for selling Americans' transaction information without their knowledge or consent, potentially violating the law.

Infibeam Avenues expands digital payments biz to US
THE TIMES OF INDIA | Thu February 20, 2020
BSE-listed Infibeam Avenues Ltd on Wednesday said it has forayed into the US, the world's second largest digital payments market by revenue, and will offer its solutions to web and mobile-based small and medium enterprises (SME). The company will explore opportunities to partner and collaborate with large financial institutions including selective acquisitions to extend its digital payments solution reach to merchants and customers in the US.

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