Morning Brief 3.16.20: Payment firms respond to coronavirus by halting fees

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

Fee cuts

Irish bank AIB will halt previous plans to charge transaction fees for contactless payments, citing the threat from the coronavirus. The bank had planned to charge about one cent for contactless transactions, but has paused that plan, reports the Irish Mirror.

The World Health Organization has advised against handling bank notes to deter the spread of the virus, which will likely lead to higher contactless payments usage.

AIB is not alone, as online payments company Skrill has dropped fees and foreign exchange charges for Italy-bound transfers using Skrill Money Transfer. Italy has been hit particularly hard by the virus.

On track

QRails, a payments processor with headquarters in both Denver and London, has raised $8 million in Series A funding to help with the launch of a real-time payroll solution.

EFM Asset Management led the funding round, bringing QRails’ total funding to date to $18 million, according to a press release.

Since launching in 2016, QRails has developed a cloud-based white-label payroll platform, accessible via API technology, which it’s targeting for use by fintechs, banks and insurance companies. The solution will be available soon in North America, and this summer QRails plans to expand to Australia, where it’s opening a Sydney office.

Viral effects

E-commerce merchants and online food-delivery operators are seeing rising demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, preliminary data from Forter suggests. Online food orders spiked 13% in the first part of March, while special delivery instructions — such as leaving food by the door — rose 20%, Forter said. Overall global e-commerce orders rose 7%, while orders of physical goods from China dropped 11% in the first part of March, Forter said.

The Forter Global Merchant Network draws on transaction data from over 100 global customers that generate $150 billion in global commerce transactions.

Fresh access

Building on a $2 million investment last year from Square, Novo Dia Group is rolling out a turnkey approach for farmer’s market merchants to accept EBT payments.

Through a card reader and app powered by Square, EBT-authorized merchants can accept SNAP and WIC payments along with credit, debit and loyalty cards, according to a press release.

As part of its expanding reach, NDG has changed its payments acceptance product name to TotilPay. NDG also is working with the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the USDA to bring a free card reader and one-year license for the TotilPay Go POS app to eligible farmer’s market merchants.

Final act

ACT Canada, established in 1989 with participation from various payment industry players to enable electronic commerce across Canada, has shut its doors.

The nonprofit organization played a key role in bringing industry participants together to help drive global collaboration for implementing more secure EMV technology and promoting contactless payments, among other initiatives.

The decision to close down ACT Canada’s operations came after a special meeting Feb. 28, 2020, following several years of declining revenue, according to a note on its website.

From the Web

Dormant PayPal Credit accounts are coming back to haunt users—and hurt their credit scores
FORTUNE | Fri March 13, 2020
While the CFPB settlement required PayPal to “reimburse consumers who were mistakenly enrolled in PayPal Credit,” there were still users who were unaware they had accounts until a few months ago.

UK's Morrisons speeds-up supplier payments during coronavirus outbreak
REUTERS | Fri March 13, 2020
British supermarket group Morrisons plans to pay its smaller suppliers within 48 hours to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Friday.

Coronavirus relief: Apple Card users can apply to skip interest payment in March
USA TODAY | Sun March 15, 2020
In order to avoid interest charges in March, cardholders must enroll in Apple's "Customer Assistance Program," the tech giant said in the email.

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