Morning Brief 4.1.20: PayPal, Amex promise no layoffs amid coronavirus outbreak

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PayPal is one of several financial companies that are promising to not dismiss workers during the coronavirus crisis, with PayPal CEO Dan Schulman making his announcement on CNBC on Tuesday afternoon.

Schulman was not specific about how long that would last. Some banks, such as Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, have pledged to retain staff through the end of 2020. American Express has also made a "no layoff" pledge, and says there will be "no significant" layoffs for the next three months.

Overall unemployment claims hit a record high in the past week, and are expected to be high again this week as companies lay off or temporarily furlough staff amid the pandemic.

Digital pilot

Ant Financial and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have expanded their partnership to allow merchants to support payments through Alipay or the ICBC banking app without replacing existing QR codes.

The upgrade has launched in Hangzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou with a further rollout in the next month.

ICBC is the first state-operated bank in China to enable this feature with Alipay.


U.K. challenger bank Dzing has released a mobile payment app for gig economy workers and students, hoping to provide another option for international payments.

The Android and iOS app includes multi-currency accounts and card options through a tiered subscription model. Dzing says it's attempting to bridge a gap between a fully-mobile challenger bank and a traditional bank by pushing long-term deposits, reports Finextra.

Blockchain harvest

Distributed ledger firm Symbiont has partnered with GrainChain, an agricultural technology company, to power digital payments through a blockchain.

GrainTrain, which operates in Texas, Mexico and Honduras, plans to expand to new markets, and hopes the integration will ease international transactions.

Blockchains are often used to streamline cross-border transactions by eliminating third parties such as correspondent banks.

NFC convert

Supermarket chain Publix will accept contactless NFC wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Publix is a family-owned Southeastern chain with more than a thousand locations, reports AppleWorld.

The move was not directly linked to the coronavirus, though the impact is expected to hasten migration to mobile checkout and other payment technology that minimizes human interaction.

From the web

Marriott new data breach affects 5.2M guests, compromising personal information
USA TODAY | Tue March 31, 2020
Marriott says guests' names, loyalty account information and other personal details may have been accessed in the second major data breach to hit the company in less than two years. Marriott said Tuesday approximately 5.2 million guests worldwide may have been affected.

Online payment service Ordo makes person-to-person usage free for coronavirus crisis
THE MIRROR | Tue March 31, 2020
Ordo has launched Ordo Neighbour2Neighbour that allows those helping others by collecting or paying for prescriptions, shopping or other essentials, to use it to pay using their bank's mobile or online service in a simple, swift and secure way.

Microsoft collaborates with Plaid to turn Excel into fintech app
VERDICT | Tue March 31, 2020
Technology giant Microsoft has partnered with Plaid on a new financial management offering, which will turn the spreadsheet software into a fintech app, dubbed Money in Excel.

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