Morning Brief 11.1.19: German banks want a digital currency to counter Libra

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

Digital euro

The Association of German Banks, which includes Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Commerzbank and more than 200 other institutions, is pushing for a common European payments platform and a digital version of the euro.

While the association says a digital currency can bolster the mission of the Single Euro Payments Area, its call is more about countering Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project, which the association calls out in the first sentence of its press release.

While politicians have criticized Libra globally, officials in France and Germany have been particularly vocal, promising to "stop Libra." The German banking association also mentions China's plans to develop a central bank digital currency as an impetus.

A vote against central bank crypto

Not all central banks are keen on the idea of building a digital currency, as South Korea appears to be moving away from the idea.

Hong Kyung-sik, the director of financial settlement for South Korea's central bank, says that in most developed nations there is scant need for a central bank digital currency, reports CoinDesk.

In South Korea, there is an advanced payment and settlement structure, and a high amount of openness that allows money to move fast and inexpensively, Hong said.

Moving further

Discover is extending its reach to Asia through a new partnership.

AsiaPay, a Hong Kong-based payment processor focused on the hospitality and e-commerce sectors, has added the Discover Global Network so its merchants may accept Discover and Diners Club cards in the region.

Discover-branded cards will be accepted immediately at AsiaPay’s merchants in Hong Kong, and AsiaPay will eventually extend acceptance to add at least 12 more markets including Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Ticket to ride

U.K. bus company First Group is adding Google Pay to enable mobile ticketing, bringing the system in line with a large portion of the U.K. and London's rail networks, which have open contactless payment systems.

The bus deployment has started with a pilot in Glasgow, reports SmartCitiesWorld, adding the overall addressable user base is about 1.6 million daily riders. Riders purchase First Bus tickets on their Android handsets, and the system is integrated with Corethree, First Bus' mobile ticketing and data management provider.

The move is also part of a broad global trend to automate and open transit ticketing, as systems look to offload responsibility for operating closed payment systems.

From the web

RBI asks Indian banks to probe alleged data leak of 1.3 mln cards
REUTERS | Thu October 31, 2019
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to ensure customers’ debit and credit card data is secure and investigate reports that say data of 1.3 million accounts was available online, a notice seen by Reuters showed.

Apple Card users can now finance iPhone purchases for 24 months, interest-free
TECHCRUNCH | Thu October 31, 2019
Apple on Wednesday introduced a new program that will allow Apple Card users to finance their iPhone purchases for 24 months, without paying interest. With the Goldman Sachs Apple Card, those iPhone users will have another option — and one without the associated interest and fees of a traditional credit card purchase, Apple says.

Bank of Spain warns of litigation risks in credit card business
REUTERS | Thu October 31, 2019
Spanish banks could face a rise in legal claims related to consumer lending activities such as revolving credit, adding to risks faced by the financial sector that stem largely from global and European trends, the Bank of Spain said on Thursday.

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