Morning Brief 8.24.20: MoneyGram, Airtel seek remittance boost in Africa

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

Mobile connection

MoneyGram has gained access to Airtel Money's 19 million customers through a new partnership, potentially reaching 14 countries in Africa.

Transfers from outside Africa can be made directly into mobile wallets, allowing MoneyGram to bolster its network effect while supporting real-time access through Airtel Africa's branches, kiosks and agents. The deal is still subject to local regulators.

Airtel will be able to access MoneyGram's footprint of more than 200 countries. Mobile money is a primary means of financial inclusion in Africa, and the MoneyGram collaboration follows similar Airtel integrations with Mastercard and Adyen.

Going global

The National Payments Corporation of India plans to internationally sell technology that supports the RuPay network and United Payments Interface.

A subsidiary called NPCI International Payments Limited to supervise the strategy. Former Mastercard and Visa executive Ritesh Shukla will lead the effort, reports Finextra.

RuPay is India's largest card network, while UPI, India's real-time payment platform, has been a driving force behind payment automation, with Google in particular using it to expand their mobile wallet reach in India.


More than $50 billion in cryptocurrency transferred from inside China to other countries over the past 12 months, suggesting that Chinese investors are getting around restrictions in a nation that's taken a general hard line on investments in non-Chinese currency.

Chinese citizens can only buy $50,000 in foreign currency each year through a financial institution, explains CNBC, adding wealthy citizens have traditionally used foreign real estate investments to get around that limit. But the government has also tightened those restrictions, so it's possible cryptocurrency is getting through as an alternative.

Crypto is also a challenge, given China's heavy restrictions on activities such as bitcoin mining and ICOs, though China is more permissive of the blockchain technology that supports cryptocurrency and stablecoins. China is also developing its own digital currency to counter the U.S. dollar and the influence of companies such as Facebook and Amazon.

The cost of 'silence'

Joseph Sullivan, Uber's former chief security officer, has been charged with obstruction of justice and other crimes connected to a 2016 data breach at Uber that exposed records for 57 million riders and drivers.

Sullivan allegedly helped orchestrate a cover-up of the breach, reports Coindesk, citing a criminal complaint in California. Uber reportedly tried to pay off the hackers with $100,000 in bitcoin that came from the ridesharing company's bug bounty program.

Sullivan is accused of trying to get the hackers to sign a non-disclosure agreement, then sending security staff to look for the hackers — who refused to sign the NDA.

From the Web

Wirecard innovation team moves to Berlin-based fintech
REUTERS | Monday Aug 24, 2020
A technology team from Wirecard , the German payments company that collapsed in June, is joining a new digital innovation unit being set up by Berlin financial technology group finleap.

Apple won't force WordPress to offer in-app purchases
ENGADGET | Sunday Aug 23, 2020
Apple’s row with WordPress over in-app purchases is over almost as soon as it began. Wordpress creator Matt Mullenweg has revealed that Apple “re-reviewed” the WordPress iOS app and determined that it doesn’t need to incorporate in-app purchases.

These Illicit SIM Cards Are Making Hacks Like Twitter’s Easier
COINDESK | Friday Aug 21, 2020
Little-discussed types of SIM cards offer the ability to spoof any number, can be encrypted and in some cases allows the user’s voice to be altered and cloaked. Such SIM cards are favored by criminals, and they can make social engineering attacks like those that struck Twitter last month easier to execute.

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