Morning Brief 4.29.20: EU considers digital currency for coronavirus recovery

Register now

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

How much money?

European central banks are concerned about the rapid changes in banknote supplies, a trend that could push development of a "digital Euro."

There have been sudden spikes in cash demand because of the coronavirus outbreak, with a record level of €19 billion in circulation in March, quickly falling to below normal by mid-April over fears of banknote handling and surges in online payments, reports Finextra. There are also bottlenecks in printing that could further complicate banknote supplies, though officials say supply chain issues have been resolved.

European officials have also formed a task force to discuss an EU digital currency to address supply issues. Central bank digital currencies have gotten more attention during the outbreak as a way to move more funds quickly within countries.

Contactless rent

Zillow has rearranged its rental user experience to support virtual tours, online applications, related paperwork and payments through the same function.

The real estate site previously offered these services, but has created a digital bundle to accommodate social distancing, reports Engadget.

Rental payments are frequently still paper-based, so it's not a given that all landlords that use Zillow would support the centralized online feature, Engadget explains.

Going shopping

Shopify has developed its own consumer shopping app to reside alongside its business of supporting other business' online stores.

Called Shop, it's a rebuild of Arrive, an existing Shopify feature that tracks packages for Shopify's merchants, reports TechCrunch.

The new Shop feature will have a feed of recommended products, information about brands and a one-click checkout process.

Buying local

A town in central Italy is printing its own banknotes for residents to redeem at local stores in an attempt to make it easier for people to shop and access currency.

Castellini, which is 158 miles south of Rome, is calling the bills "Ducati," with each worth about one euro, reports Euronews. The businesses can return the Ducati to the town and receive the same number of euros.

The bills have pictures of local attractions and churches. About 4,000 of the bills have been used at a local butcher shop, for example.

From the web

WhatsApp eyes lending feature in India as Amazon rolls out Pay Later to tens of thousands of customers
TECHCRUNCH | Tue April 28, 2020
On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled and began rolling out Amazon Pay Later. WhatsApp’s expansion in mobile payments in India could create new challenges for the aforementioned player, but the company has yet to receive approval from New Delhi for a nationwide rollout of Pay in India.

Bitmain-Backed Platform Matrixport Enables Users to Buy Crypto With Credit Cards
COINTELEGRAPH | Tue April 28, 2020
Bitmain-affiliated financial service platform Matrixport has teamed up with Simplex, an EU-licensed payments processing firm, to allow users to purchase select cryptocurrencies using their credit and debit cards.

Half a million debit cards to be issued to bank customers to help them shop online
9NEWS | Wed April 29, 2020
More than half a million debit cards are being issued to bank customers around Australia to help them shop online or use contactless transactions during the coronavirus pandemic.

More from PaymentsSource

Coronavirus opens new doors for open banking
At the start of 2020, the overriding security concern when it came to payments was fraud. After all, before the days of the global coronavirus pandemic, no one had really viewed hygiene as being a particular selling point.

Why aren't financial institutions sharing check fraud data?
Whether presented at the teller line or through digital channels, the best way to prevent fraud is by triangulating items in real-time against a robust fraud database. To strengthen the database, fraud data needs to be contributed in return, says Advance Fraud Solutions' Ted Kirk.

Libra gains new payments industry support, but its battle is far from over
Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency has been climbing uphill from the start, losing many prominent partners along the way — though the recent addition of will partially make up for those setbacks.

Coronavirus-driven loosening of contactless payment limits boosts volume for Barclays
Barclays has experienced an incremental £264 million (about $330 million) in contactless spend in the month since it raised its per-transaction limit in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has created an aversion to cash and contact payments.

Paytronix raises $10M to boost restaurant digital ordering tools during pandemic
Paytronix, whose technology enables mobile payments and ordering at restaurants, has received $10 million in funding to help support increased demand for its services through the pandemic.

5 fintech war stories from the front lines of PPP lending
Fintechs in the payments industry saw problems coming when the CARES Act’s SBA Paycheck Protection Program opened the floodgates for millions of coronavirus-stricken small businesses to apply for loans via largely unprepared financial institutions.

How ACI rapidly put Western Union's tech to work in the coronavirus pandemic
When ACI Worldwide acquired mobile and bill payment technology from Western Union last year, it couldn't have predicted an environment in which consumers would be handling nearly all of their finances from home.

Standardization should push biometric authentication
It’s clear that biometrics is key to many organizations’ plans for privacy and security, but don’t just take our word for it. Many industry and government initiatives are moving quickly.

Digital dollars would deploy financial relief faster
As lawmakers move forward on another stimulus package, this one amounting to $484 billion so far, two conclusions seem inescapable at this point.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.