Morning Brief 5.12.20: IBM invests $100 million in Canadian credit union payments

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

Big Blue Canada

IBM has signed an 8-year $100 million deal to apply its software-as-a-service engine to power the Prairie Payments Joint Venture, an initiative to modernize credit union payment services in Canada.

PPJV has more than 75 credit unions signed on, and the project comes as digital payments increase sharply in Canada. As of December, digital payments were 73% of all transactions, according to Payments Canada. And Interac reports contactless card transactions have increased 62% in March and April 2020 over 2019, attributable to the boost in contactless payment activity during the coronavirus outbreak.

The credit unions are updating payments amid a broader multi-year project in Canada to rebuild most of the national payment rails to accommodate e-commerce.

Carbon footprint

Blockchain companies Loyyal and Clara Terra are partnering on an app that enables companies to tie incentive marketing to carbon offsets.

Corporations can use the app to match employee loyalty points to a value that's used as a liquidity to purchase carbon offsets, which reduce the use of fossil fuels in one area to compensate for the usage of fuels in another.

For example, Clara Terra can trace a consumer's purchase of a 5-cent carbon offset for a cup of coffee back to a local wind farm. Loyyal's technology uses a blockchain to manage the ledger of traceable consumer loyalty points.

PayPal grads

A group of former Braintree staffers have formed Primer, a fintech company that helps merchants consolidate payment methods while adding new payment types in the future.

The London fintech has raised about $4 million in seed funding from Balderton Capital and Traavet Hinrikus, the co-founder and former head of TransferWise, according to TechCrunch. Its co-founders include Braintree alums such as Paul Anthony, who was previously head of solutions for EMEA at Braintree, the technology development firm which became part of PayPal in 2013.

Its model is built on e-commerce merchants that increasingly rely on different countries to source and sell products, creating different payment requirements that can hurt user experience and add technical overhead.

Digital euro's key step

The European Central Bank is investigating a digital currency for retail customers, a major step in making government-backed digital currencies available to a wide audience.

Yves Merch, an ECB executive, said most central bank digital currency projects address wholesale users such as large banks, which add speed but do not create greater access, reports Finextra.

Making central bank digital currencies available for retail use could enable digital currency for government stimulus distribution, the same argument that's driving the "digital dollar" debate in the U.S. and digital yuan work in China.

From the web

More U.S. banks, credit unions given remittance fee exemptions
REUTERS | Mon May 11, 2020
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said the measure raises the transaction threshold at which companies may be entirely exempted from providing exact figures from 100 to 500 or fewer remittances annually, reducing the burden on more than 400 banks and almost 250 credit unions.

Exclusive: Brazil bank Banrisul aims to sell card business, close to hiring JPMorgan - sources
REUTERS | Mon May 11, 2020
Brazilian state-controlled bank Banrisul is in talks to sell its card business, as its controlling shareholder, the state of Rio Grande do Sul, struggles with a sharp drop in tax revenue, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Ransomware Hit ATM Giant Diebold Nixdorf
KREBS ON SECURITY | Mon May 11, 2020
Diebold Nixdorf, a major provider of automatic teller machines (ATMs) and payment technology to banks and retailers, recently suffered a ransomware attack that disrupted some operations.

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