Morning Brief 8.14.20: Fortnite picks a fight with Apple, Google over 30% payment fees
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:
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.
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.
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.
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.
More from PaymentsSource
Why Kamala Harris matters to fintech in the 2020 election
An obscure government initiative tied to Obamacare’s troubled online rollout could position Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's running mate, as a key figure in modernizing government stimulus and disbursement payments.
OCC's Brooks questions need for government-owned payment systems
WASHINGTON — Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks questioned the idea of government-owned payment rails as the future of money transmission on Thursday, arguing instead for a decentralized system led by private companies.
U.S. seized cryptocurrency from three terrorist groups
The Trump administration has dismantled digital campaigns by al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups that used social media to obtain cryptocurrency for carrying out terrorist attacks, the Justice Department said Thursday.
APEXX Global adds Venmo through PayPal collaboration
Payments platform APEXX Global is working with PayPal to expand payment methods to e-commerce merchants using APEXX, including the addition of the Venmo P2P digital wallet.
Philippines confirms death of ex-Wirecard executive Bauer
The Philippines confirmed a former Asian executive of disgraced German payments firm Wirecard AG, who is part of an ongoing investigation, has died.
Political squabbling jeopardizes the digital dollar, and the economy
Once or twice in the past I’ve used PayThink to applaud congressional efforts to introduce a digital dollar to speed up relief payments. But now, I'm beginning to wonder if lawmakers can launch a decentralized payment system when they are incapable of negotiating a financial stimulus bill in the middle of an economic meltdown.
PayActiv raises $100 million in VC funding to expand wage-access products
PayActiv, an earned wage access provider, has secured $100 million in a new funding it will use to accelerate its growth.
What Mastercard's crypto plans signal for the future of digital payments
Major payment companies have long looked on at cryptocurrencies as too risky to touch, but too tempting to ignore. Mastercard's latest move signals that the card brands are ready to make a firm pitch for crypto spending.
Political squabbling jeopardizes the digital dollar, and the economy
Paralysis between Republicans and Democrats hurts the people who would benefit the most from digital delivery of government stimulus funds, argues Polyient Labs' Jeff Hinkle.
Gas EMV can't be just about chip cards
The complexity of the migration is an opportunity to examine other elements of the payment experience, says TNS' Brian DuCharme.
Stripe hires high-profile execs, but insists it’s not planning an IPO
Stripe is expanding its digital payment technology into new industries, and is also welcoming a series of notable executives with backgrounds that are mostly outside merchant technology. But they also have experience with much larger companies, a necessary skill as Stripe tries to grow out of its status as fintech upstart.