Morning Brief 10.17.19: EU inches toward an Apple antitrust investigation

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

Asking around

The European Commission is asking payment companies about Apple Pay, which is a signal of a possible investigation into competitive balance.

The regulators are concerned Apple's limitation of the iPhone's NFC chip to Apple Pay may make it harder for third parties to offer mobile payments, reports Apple Insider.

Apple has faced similar complaints about NFC access in the past, including a recent squabble in Europe in which TWINT, a payment app operated by a group of the Swiss banks, and Apple pointed fingers at each other — with each claiming the other was hindering access.

A different take

Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency, which doesn't exist yet, has been hit by high-profile defections and aggressive regulatory pushback.

But it hasn't been all negative. Terry Gau, a Taiwanese businessman and founder of manufacturing company Foxconn, is pushing Taiwan to "roll out the red carpet" for Libra, reports Yahoo Finance.

Gau contends Libra could boost Taiwan's position as an international financial hub, adding Taiwan could serve as a connection between Libra and mainland China's planned central government digital currency.

'Pay my light bill'

Amazon Pay is supporting Alexa voice payments for utility, internet, mobile and satellite cable TV bills in India.

While Alexa can be used for similar bill payments in other markets, the Amazon Pay app is particularly popular in India, reports TechCrunch.

Tying Amazon Pay and voice technology to recurring utilities is a way to create habitual payments as Amazon competes with local payment companies such as Paytm. Amazon also recently partnered with Axis Bank to issue United Payments Interface IDs, giving Amazon access to India's national digital payments system.

Identifying blockchain

Bermuda is launching a blockchain-powered federated digital identity program, covering citizens, businesses and government agencies.

The initial use cases will include regulatory compliance information, reports Coindesk. The Perseid Network, which operates an identity program, and the Shyft Network, which manages a decentralized credential verification protocol, are operating the Bermuda project.

While Bermuda's a relatively small jurisdiction, the project will give a view of how blockchain can secure interoperable and user-driven digital identity, considered a key piece of the economy's migration away from static authentication.

From the web

Singapura Finance to pay $6.9m for 1.6% stake in mobile payments firm MatchMove Pay
THE STRAITS TIMES | Wed October 16, 2019
Mainboard-listed Singapura Finance will pay US$5 million (S$6.9 million) for a 1.6 percent stake in the enlarged share capital of homegrown digital payments firm MatchMove Pay. The finance company's agreement to subscribe for 587,035 Series Bc preference shares in MatchMove, or about US$8.52 per share, will be funded by internal resources and paid for in cash.

Square serves up custom-built platform for Australian restaurants
ZDNET | Wed October 16, 2019
Square has rolled out Square for Restaurants in Australia, its latest product from its suite of tools, which was designed specifically for the restaurant industry. The company said the custom-built cloud-based point of sale system was designed with large-scale and multi-location restaurant operators in mind.

Brazilian unicorn Ebanx will hit $2 billion in payments processed by the end of the year
TECHCRUNCH | Wed October 16, 2019
Ebanx, the newly minted Brazilian financial services unicorn, expects to process $2 billion in payments by the end of the year and is looking to expand its offerings into domestic payments as it grows. Since its launch in 2012, Ebanx has primarily focused on helping international merchants sell locally in Brazil.

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