Morning Brief 9.29.20: Google will force app makers to use its billing system

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Pay to play

Google is cracking down on its payment policy for Android app developers, closing a gap in which some developers were accepting consumers' credit cards for digital content directly instead of going through Google’s billing system.

Under new rules Google announced on Monday, developers must use its in-app payment system, which typically takes a 30% fee, TechCrunch reports. Developers have 12 months to comply.

About 97% of app developers already comply with Google’s billing rules, but a few including Spotify and Netflix have billed consumers directly. Developers may continue to communicate with consumers about alternative payment methods.

Robotic attitude

Japanese restaurants will soon deploy robots amid labor shortages and the need for social distancing that arose during the pandemic, according to Reuters.

The Servi robot, developed by California-based Bear Robotics, will launch in Japan in January through SoftBank’s robotics business, using layers of trays to carry food and drinks to diners’ tables — and fetch dirty dishes — with the aid of cameras and sensors. SoftBank earlier this year announced a $32 million investment in Bear.

SoftBank in 2014 developed a human-sized robot called Pepper that HSBC tested as a banking assistant, but the concept failed to catch on in banking.

Open season

The U.K.’s open banking policies are gaining momentum, with participation doubling to 2 million users in the last six months.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity estimates open banking is growing at a rate of about 160,000 users per month, according to Finextra.

The number of consumers relying on open banking’s data-sharing requirements for money-management apps rose sharply during the coronavirus outbreak, a recent survey of 2,000 U.K. consumers suggested.

Fraud perimeter

JPMorgan Chase is helping its small- and midsize business checking account customers battle fraud attacks with a new online hub called Fraud Protection Services, according to a press release. A Chase survey indicated 80% of business owners experienced fraud last year.

Businesses using the new service can enroll for fraud-monitoring features including blocking all or specific ACH withdrawals, monitoring checks by setting up payment limits and alerts and authorizing Chase to validate checks presented for payment.

The new services are complimentary for businesses with eligible Chase business checking accounts.

From the web

Amazon One uses your palm to approve store purchases
ENGADGET | Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Amazon is putting contactless payments in the palm of your hand. No, seriously. Today, the company has revealed Amazon One, a service that uses your unique palm signature to authenticate purchases and let you into gated locations, such as offices, gyms and stadiums.

Pandemic spurs Africa's mobile telcos to ramp up banking bid
REUTERS | Tuesday, September 29, 2020
When COVID-19 hit Ivory Coast, Bonaventure Kra, who works at an import-export business, began to worry. Handling hard cash all day was a risk. Queuing in crowded bank branches exposed him to infection.

Crypto exchange Bitpanda closes $52M Series A from Valar Ventures, backed by Peter Thiel
TECHCRUNCH | Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Bitpanda, a crypto assets platform, has closed a $52 million Series A funding round form Valar Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by Peter Thiel. Vienna-based VC Speedinvest also participated, alongside other unnamed investors.

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