Morning Brief 8.14.20: Fortnite picks a fight with Apple, Google over 30% payment fees

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

Price war

Epic, the creator of Fortnite, is suing Apple and Google after both companies removed the game from their app stores following Epic's decision to offer its own in-app payment system at a discount.

Called the "Fortnite Mega Drop," it covers in-game payments for all platforms, reports Ars Technica, adding players on consoles such as Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch will get the discounts automatically. Players who use iOS or Android pay the regular price when paying through Apple or Google, or get the discount for Epic direct payment. The company explained its discount by directly addressing the 30% fees Apple and Google collect for game transactions, saying it would pass on the savings of Apple and Google lower the charge.

While Apple and Google both take a 30% cut of all payments made through their app store (or within apps distributed through those stores), only Apple requires apps to be distributed this way. Google allows consumers to sideload apps or to use alternative app stores.

Small business outreach

Fiserv has launched a program that combines financial support and contactless technology to boost coronavirus recovery for businesses in underserved communities, starting in Brooklyn then expanding to other markets.

Called Back2Business, Fiserv will use its relationships with its network financial institutions and acquired Clover point of sale technology from First Data.

Other services include strategic partnerships, mentoring and community engagement. Fiserv has pledged $10 million to help disproportionately impacted small businesses. Fiserv's other pandemic recovery moves include offering existing credit lines as a way to cover Paycheck Protection Program shortfalls.

Top up

Standard Chartered and Airtel Africa have formed a financial inclusion partnership that will focus on Africa and business payments.

The two firms will support real-time deposits and withdrawals from bank accounts, international money transfers and savings. Bulk disbursements and payroll are also included, extending the traditional telco-driven financial inclusion strategy to business payments.

The bank hopes to reduce the need for workers to travel long distances to access income, and businesses to travel to make deposits.

Chain link

The pandemic's economic fallout is challenging businesses to shore up liquidity, partly by fixing gaps in their supply chains.

Barclaycard hopes to extend business banking relationships by adding a platform that uses analytics to combine data points with third-party information. The businesses can then choose a payment option based on that information, reports Verdict in the U.K.

Other banks, such as BNP Paribas have turned to fintech partnerships and open banking to bolster supply chain intelligence.

New Deel

Fintech Deel is launching in Europe, hoping to gain share among businesses looking for decentralized payment support as remote work becomes widespread.

The company offers tax forms, compliance and "local currency" for geographically scattered workforces, contending it supports more than 100 currencies, reports Finextra. The firm is active in the U.S., and has landed WeTransfer, a Dutch file sharing firm, as its first client.

As the pandemic forces companies to send workers home, businesses have faced myriad challenges as most accounts payable and payroll systems remain centralized, creating an opening for firms that can support remote access.

From the Web

Waze rolls out contactless fuel payments with ExxonMobil, Shell
CNET | Thursday Aug 13 2020
Waze on Thursday rolled out a new feature that allows US drivers to link the navigation platform to fuel partner apps for contactless payments at participating Exxon, Mobil and Shell gas stations.

The Federal Reserve Is Experimenting With a Digital Dollar
TECHCRUNCH | Thursday Aug 13 2020
The U.S. Federal Reserve is actively investigating distributed ledger technologies and how they might be used for digitizing the dollar.

China to launch digital currency pilot program in some cities: MOFCOM
REUTERS | Friday Aug 14 2020
These cities include those in the northern Chinese region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, eastern region of Yangtze River Delta, “Greater Bay Area” around the Pearl River Delta, and some cities in Midwestern China, according to an online statement.

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