Morning Brief 6.1.20: Mastercard opens tools for coronavirus recovery

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

Recovery guide

Even as global lockdowns start to ease, merchants face myriad challenges from the coronavirus, ranging from safety to adding new payment systems to navigating tighter restrictions.

Mastercard has launched a set of technology products and that the card brand is bundling into a guide for different user categories such as restaurants, banks, consumer product companies and government agencies. Mastercard is making some services available for free to help businesses track spending trends and other economic data.

Mastercard's move comes as other large payment companies have launched product suites to address rapidly changing payment and business management needs for merchants.

New request

Pay.UK has released rules, standards and terms for its Request to Pay service, which will allow billers to use digital requests to replace invoices.

The release comes a few days after Visa finished a pilot program, and after a delay of about a month because of the coronavirus.

The digital requests accompany options such as full payment, extension, communication with the biller or a decline.

Prepaid help

The Salvation Army is partnering with fintech B4B Payments to produce cashless payment technology for victims who have been recently rescued from modern slavery, often people who work in unregistered factories, farms or other facilities that attempt to skirt regulation.

The two companies are attempting to minimize the use of cash, which is traditionally distributed to victims under agreements between the Salvation Army and local governments.

Cash is often an unsafe option for these workers, B4B payments says, a problem the coronavirus has made worse given concerns of the potential contagion of paper money.

Digital dollar blueprint

As politicians push for a central bank digital currency to help distribute government stimulus money, the Digital Dollar Project is floating a structure.

The group, which includes former banking and Wall Street regulators, contends the digital dollar, or some form of tokenized currency, could help the U.S. keep the dollar's status as the world reserve currency, reports Coindesk.

The structure would include commercial banks and other financial institutions as a middle step between the Federal Reserve and users. The digital currency could also operate with private stablecoins, a potential nod to the Facebook affiliated Libra project.

From the web

UK banks granted 1.5m payment holidays on credit cards and loans
THE GUARDIAN | Fri May 29, 2020
Figures released by the banking lobby group UK Finance show that 877,800 credit card accounts had been given a payment freeze by 21 May. Monthly repayments on 608,000 personal loans had been put on pause by that date.

African migrant workers are unable to send money home, cutting off a lifeline to vulnerable communities
CNBC | Fri May 29, 2020
Sub-Saharan Africa is projected by the World Bank to suffer a 23.1% decline in remittances over the course of 2020. To compound the tighter financial conditions for African migrant workers, in the first quarter of 2020, the region continued to have the highest average remittance costs, with the average transfer of $200 charged at about 9%.

Discover Financial says employees can work from home through 2020
REUTERS | Fri May 29, 2020
U.S. payment services company Discover Financial Inc. said on Friday it allowed employees to work from home until the end of the year.

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