Morning Brief 1.17.20: Grab's prepaid card is coming to new markets

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

In the cards

The GrabPay Card is adding new markets, with debuts expected shortly in the Philippines and Malaysia, according to Lowyat, a local news site.

Grab's card recently rolled out in Singapore and is supported across Mastercard's merchant network. Grab hopes to compete with Go Jek by adding more financial services to its ride-sharing app.

Grab has been working on its prepaid card as part of a broader project with Mastercard for about two years.

Final touches

The People's Bank of China has finished tests on the central bank's digital currency, and has identified areas that need to be improved before launch.

That includes scale and some processing, reports China Daily, noting other elements of the currency's structure have emerged.

The PBOC will issue digital RMB to banks, which will then issue the currency to consumers, similar to traditional currency — the PBOC will not issue the digital currency directly to users.

Electric shield

The Electric Coin Company has published an Android and iOS software development kit to build
"shielded" mobile payments, or transactions using a structure to obscure information in an attempt to protect privacy.

Called zcash wallets, the structure is relatively common for desktop computers but more rare on mobile devices, reports Yahoo Finance.

The Electric Coin Company claims it has streamlined the data requirements that made support for shielded payments difficult for mobile devices.

Pay later

Swedish fintech P.F.C. is joining the installment payment market with what it's calling a "buy now, pay later" feature that ties personal finance to payment plans.

P.F.C.'s app allows users to track spending and budgets, control cards and convert purchases to installments, reports Swedish site MyNewsDesk.

P.F.C. competes in a market that includes firms such as Splitit and Klarna, another Swedish firm that has seen its valuation soar to nearly $6 billion as it expands internationally.

From the Web

China’s $7.6 Trillion Online Payments Market Is No Longer Enough For Jack Ma’s Ant Financial
FORBES | Fri January 17, 2020
Ant’s president of advanced technology business group, Geoff Jiang, told Forbes Asia in an interview that the operator of the popular Alipay e-wallet wants to offer Chinese banks a wide range of technology products and services. While there are few details regarding how Ant will work with its former competitors, a partnership could involve the banks using Ant’s data technology to process loans, design tailored products or combine diverse sets of data to assess risks and creditworthiness.

Liven x Apple Pay partnership encourages Aussies to leave their wallet at home when they dine out
MOZO | Fri January 17, 2020
Melbourne-based fintech startup Liven announced today that Aussies using the Liven app, will now be able to make use of invisible payments with Apple Pay. With the LVN wallet you can manage payment methods and view your transaction history, making it much easier to keep track of how much you’re spending on dining out, hit your monthly savings goals and build up your stash in your savings account.

West Africa’s new ‘eco’ currency sparks division over timetable and euro peg
CNBC | Fri January 17, 2020
Following a meeting in Abuja on Thursday, the anglophone nations of Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, along with Guinea, issued a communique condemning the WAEMU decision to unilaterally rename the CFA franc as the eco. Regional currency and independent monetary union is a long-standing ambition of the wider ECOWAS bloc, and when its leaders met in June 2019 there was an agreement to adopt the common currency in principle.

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