Morning Brief 12.12.19: Mastercard pilots digital ID in Australia

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

Going digital

Mastercard has started initial tests of a digital ID strategy that's designed to cover both digital and offline environments.

Australia Post and Deakan University are the first participants, using model that combines information from a user's mobile device with other stored data such as a bank account or government ID. The system is not reliant on a centralized identity database, Mastercard says, and more markets will be added throughout 2020.

Mastercard recently detailed its guiding principles for identity in an effort to spark a broader dialogue among payment companies.

New bit regs

New York was one of the first states to regulate cryptocurrency when it issued its "Bitlicense" in 2014, long enough ago to require an upgrade as major new projects such as Facebook's Libra take shape.

The state's Department of Financial Services has proposed several updates, including a framework for coin-listing and policies for existing licensees that issue new coins. The DFS will take comments on its proposals through Jan. 27.

New York set up a cryptocurrency task force early in 2019 in anticipation of a new licensing protocol and regulations.

Google to add PayPal's Ready

Bill Ready announced last summer that he was leaving his post as executive vice president and chief operating officer PayPal at the end of this year. He'll quickly start a new gig as Ready revealed Wednesday that he is joining Google as the company's new commerce chief. According to TechCrunch, Ready will not be in a position that would have him in direct competition with PayPal through Google Pay.

Starting in January, Ready will report directly to Prabhakar Raghavan, the senior vice president of ads, commerce and payments at Google. Ready will replace Sridhar Ramaswamy, who left Google in 2018 after 15 years.

Iran protest breach

Several hundred bank branches were burned in Iran in the past month as part of anti-government protests, which indirectly resulted in a data breach that leaked more than 15 million bank debit cards.

The breach affected the country's three largest banks and will likely impact Iran's economy, which is already struggling from international sanctions, according to The New York Times. Close to a fifth of Iran's population may have been affected by the breach.

Iran's government attributed the breach to a "disgruntled contractor," claiming the banks' computers had not been hacked.

SMB app

U.K. digital firm Metro Bank and Candian fintech Sensibill are collaborating on a digital receipt system for small businesses.

In a trial, businesses will capture receipts with a smartphone and reconciliation data with their bank transaction history. Metro Bank plans to integrate bookkeeping, invoicing, receipt management and VAT into mobile banking and accounting.

Both firms hope to extend their reach among businesses that are looking to automate accounts payable and other B2B payments, which are modernizing quickly after years of trailing consumer payments.

From the web

Robinhood starts up cash management service, a year after a botched launch
LOS ANGELES TIMES | Wed December 11, 2019
Robinhood Markets Inc. has finally launched its take on a bank account, albeit a very different version of the service it once hoped to offer. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based online brokerage firm rolled out Cash Management to a subset of users. The product will sweep the money customers don’t currently have in stocks into a separate account with 1.8% interest.

Fintech startup Qwil raises $24.4 million in equity and $200 million in debt
REUTERS | Thu December 12, 2019
Qwil, a startup that provides financing to freelancers and small businesses, has raised $24.4 million in equity and $200 million in debt funding from investors including Jefferies Financial Group Inc, the company said. The equity round was led by venture firm PeakSpan with participation by Mosaik Partners, Reciprocal Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Cantos, Sam Hodges, and Prosper President Emeritus Ron Suber.

Fashion Is The Next Battleground For Payment Companies
FORBES | Wed December 11, 2019
In this highly-competitive space, it’s not enough for payment companies to be just a payment provider, a payment gateway, and a facilitator of payments. The only way forward is in reinventing themselves, expanding their offerings and adding extra value to merchants and consumers. The future of payments is about knowing implicit and explicit wants and needs of consumers and merchants, and the next battleground is fashion.

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