Morning Brief 5.29.20: Mastercard, Visa push for higher contactless limits in India

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Higher tap and go

Visa and Mastercard are pushing for higher limits for contactless payments in India, adding another country to a growing list of markets that are easing restrictions amid the coronavirus.

The Payments Council of India, a local payments trade group, is joining the card networks in petitioning the Reserve Bank of India. Their goal is to boost the limit to Rs 5000 ($66) from Rs 2000 (about $26), reports Businessworld in India. Contactless payments have surged during the pandemic as consumers and merchants look for digital alternatives.

The card brands contend the higher limit will boost confidence by enabling consumers to avoid touching point of sale systems, though Businessworld reports Indian regulators see the lower limits as a fraud protection and may be reluctant to make a move.

Crypto bank?

Coinbase will pay EU and U.K. users what it's calling a 5% "staking reward" on the Tezos currency that closely resembles the interest a traditional bank account would pay.

The offer is available in the U.K., France, Spain and the Netherlands, joining the U.S., which began the offer earlier. Coinbase is positioning the offer as a way to incentivize participation in the network rather than becoming a bank, reports Finextra.

Coinbase also contends there is risk in the investment in Tezos, which makes it different from an interest payment from a bank, which would be insured. Tezos launched in 2018 after raising $232 million in an ICO. It uses a "proof of staking" protocol to manage the currency, which is designed to avoid the electricity output of bitcoin mining.

Cross-border pair

Cape Town mobile money app Mama Money has integrated with Western Union, enabling the regional Mama Money to reach more than 200 countries and territories.

Consumers pay for transactions in the Mama Money app through transfers from their bank account or at cash centers at South African retailers. The firm hopes the Western Union alliance will boost usage among underbanked users and boost remittance payments in and out of South Africa.

Mobile money apps such as MPesa are often gateways to financial inclusion in Africa, with international payment firms playing a key role in global expansion of the services.

Last mile resumption

Delivery is a major cog in the battle between Walmart and Amazon, given the ability to tie fulfillment and speed to enrollment in the companies' mobile apps, and thus payment revenue.

One of Amazon's major delivery projects, involving a stake in electric car maker Rivian, was stalled during the coronavirus but appears to be resuming. Rivian has resumed production at its plant in Illinois, reports TechCrunch.

One of Rivian's projects is to deliver 100,000 delivery vans for Amazon, a project e-commerce giant contends is still on track despite the delay. Amazon hopes to have the vehicles deployed as part of its own fleet by the end of the decade.

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