Morning Brief 10.22.20: Mastercard pilots biometric card; Westpac adds Afterpay

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Battery parked

Mastercard is piloting a biometric card in Asia that requires a fingerprint to authorize payments at point of sale terminals.

The card brand is partnering with digital ID firm Idemia and Singapore fintech MatchMove, reports Finextra. The card does not have a battery, instead drawing energy from the payment terminal. It also stores the biometric data on the card's chip instead of a database.

Biometric cards are potentially a more sanitary option compared to PIN authentication and other methods that require touching a point of sale terminal.

After party

Buy now/pay later firm Afterpay is the first third-party fintech to join Westpac's banking-as-a-service platform as open banking takes hold in Australia.

The bank is using 10x's cloud-hosted technology to enable fintechs to add banking services. Afterpay can reach 3.3 million people in Australia through its connection to Westpac, reports ZDNet, adding the link will be completed early in 2021.

Similar to PSD2 in Europe, Australian open banking went into effect in July, with fintechs and mobile wallets among the first services available. P2P accounts, credit cards and mortgage and loan services will be added in November.


The Central Bank of the Bahamas has likely become the first to have a central bank digital currency, beating dozens of other nations that have projects in different stages of development.

Called the sand dollar, the government announced it would make regulated payments and financial services more inclusive, reports Coindesk. As part of the rollout, banks and credit unions are building compliance exams for digital wallets that plan to use the sand dollar. The sand dollar is backed by the Bahmanian dollar, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar.

China, the EU and other countries are working on central bank digital currencies, but the mix of privacy, security and the role of the private sector have proven complicated, leaving most projects in pre-launch.

In process

Crane Venture Partners led a seed round of about $4 million in Amsterdam-based payments technology company Silverflow ahead of its 2021 launch.

Silverflow uses the cloud to power merchant access to the card networks, and has a pair of Adyen execs on its founding team; Adyen's former card acquiring and processing exec Anne-Willem de Vries is Silverflow's CEP; and Adyen's former chief operating officer Robert Kraal is Silverflow's chief business development officer.

Silverflow is approaching merchants with transactions totalling from about $750 million to about $14 billion yearly, offering a single connection to card networks instead of multiple connections in different countries.

From the web

Amazon announces $100 million logistics investment in Mexico
REUTERS | Thursday, October 22, 2020 Inc said on Thursday it has invested $100 million in opening new warehouses in Mexico, including its first shipping centers outside the populous capital area, in a bid to offer faster deliveries.

Mass. fintech sector finds itself at crossroads during Covid-19
BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL | Thursday, October 22, 2020
A new EY report identifies access to capital and a lack of collaboration as the biggest impediments to the state’s financial services technology sector.

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao swaps punching for payments
BBC NEWS | Wednesday, October 21, 2020
His company Pac Technologies aims to launch PacPay later this year to make faster and safer cross-border transactions.

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