Morning Brief 4.30.20: Fiserv, MetaBank may issue stimulus Visa cards

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

Prepaid contract

The U.S. Treasury will reportedly permit MetaBank and Fiserv to issue prepaid Visa cards that can load coronavirus stimulus payments.

The move follows lobbying from payment industry groups, reports Reuters, which cited unattributed sources.

Efficient distribution of government funds has been a challenge, a problem the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier said would be addressed through digital delivery and prepaid card providers.

Blockchain recovery

A bipartisan group of Congress members are asking the U.S. Treasury department to use blockchain and other distributed ledgers to improve transaction processing for coronavirus recovery stimulus.

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., who is leading the effort, contends blockchain provides security and can address pain points the government has faced in distributing funds during the crisis, reports CoinDesk.

Other members of Congress, mostly progressives, have pushed for central bank-backed digital dollars or public P2P apps as a way to reach underbanked consumers and to avoid delays in sending checks.

Closing time

Banco Santander has received the necessary regulatory approvals to complete its $450 million deal to acquire 50.1% of Ebury, a U.K. fintech that offers cross-border payments, foreign exchange and cash management.

The deal was initially announced in late 2019. The bank hopes to use Ebury to improve international B2B payments for small to medium businesses. Ebury has a presence in 17 countries and 140 currencies.

Santander has about 4 million small businesses in its customer base, with 200,000 requiring international payment processing.

Authentication pushback

The European Payment Institutions Federation wants the European Banking Authority to delay the migration to tougher identity security standards, citing challenges from the coronavirus outbreak.

Called Strong Customer Authentication, or SCA, the rules are designed to improve safety of digital transactions that often result from open banking integrations between fintechs and banks.

The work required to comply has long been a sore point for payments industry stakeholders, which successfully pushed for at least one delay from the original deadline of October 2019.

Searching for restaurants

Google Pay has added a feature in Singapore that allows users to find food pickup and delivery services.

The payment app has added the feature as coronavirus cases expand in Singapore, causing a large number of local businesses to shut down, reports CNA in Asia.

The move comes shortly after Google Pay added dLocal as a way to simplify checkout in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and other markets.

From the web

Coronavirus 'will hasten the decline of cash'
BBC | Wed April 29, 2020
The lockdown has led to a 60% fall in the number of withdrawals from cash machines, although people are taking out bigger sums.

African fintech firm Flutterwave launches SME e-commerce portal
TECHCRUNCH | Thu April 30, 2020
San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has launched Flutterwave Store, a portal for African merchants to create digital shops to sell online. The product is less Amazon and more eBay — with no inventory or warehouse requirements.

Using China’s digital currency could be just like using Apple Pay
Dong Ximiao, a research fellow at the National Institution for Finance and Development, explained in an interview how China’s long-awaited sovereign digital currency will work.

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