Regulators say Ant Group must stick to payments; U.K. ad watchdog criticizes Klarna Instagram posts
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:
Ant Group’s proposed IPO is off the table after Chinese regulators ordered Jack Ma’s financial powerhouse to curb its financial services expansion and refocus on its core payments business, which includes Alipay.
Representatives from the People’s Bank of China over the weekend told Ant executives to overhaul the company, which had branched into consumer lending and wealth management, according to Bloomberg.
The move comes a month after the Chinese government postponed Ant Group’s IPO, citing changes in fintech regulations. Investors expected Ant's IPO on the Shanghai stock exchange to raise about $34 billion.
The U.K.’s advertising industry watchdog banned a series of Instagram posts Klarna sponsored because the ads allegedly promoted irresponsible spending via installment loans.
The Advertising Standards Authority, which ensures its members observe national advertising codes, issued its verdict this month about posts by four different “influencers” suggesting that using Klarna’s services to buy apparel and skincare products could be a “mood booster” during the pandemic.
In an investigation, Klarna said it believed the ads complied with U.K. advertising rules and didn’t explicitly infer that using Klarna lightened one’s mood. The ASA decided Klarna linked buying beauty or clothing products via installment loans with enhancing consumers’ moods during an uncertain period when many people are facing financial concerns and mental health problems.
Microsoft’s unbanked and underbanked customers in Europe can make online purchases with cash through a partnership with London-based Paysafe Group, which has relationships with 650,000 retail outlets in 50 countries.
Consumers may use the paysafecard to make cash purchases for online goods sold through the Microsoft Store by loading cash to paysafecard accounts in 22 countries across Europe, according to a press release.
Paysafecard customers who establish an online account have the option to combine credit balances for ongoing web shopping. Paysafe plans to add more countries to the Microsoft Store program next year, when it will extend the payment option to include purchases on the Xbox game console.
The fate of American Express’ cobranded credit card program with Jet Airways, India’s second-largest airline which discontinued operations last year, is becoming clear. The Jet Airways American Express Platinum credit card will be discontinued in early 2021, and cardholders will receive a Amex Platinum credit card minus any cobrand.
Platinum-status cardholders will receive the card free of charge. Customers of the defunct airline who typically paid an annual fee, will have the option to get an Amex Platinum card at a reduced fee, according to frequent-flyer blog Live from a Lounge.
Mumbai-based Jet Airways, a discount airline launched in 1993, closed its doors in July 2019 after failing to raise interim emergency funding following a period of rocky cash flow.
From the web
Instacart Looked Like a Savior. Now Stores Aren’t So Sure.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Monday, December 28, 2020
Grocery-delivery service Instacart Inc. once seemed like the perfect partner for supermarkets looking to break into e-commerce. After several years together, though, some grocers are starting to question the relationship.
Grubhub gig workers react angrily to change in tipping policy
ARS TECHNICA | Monday, December 28, 2020
California-based workers for food delivery app Grubhub have reacted angrily to changes to the platform which they say discourage tipping, saying they would wipe out the supposed benefits of new gig worker rules in the state.
China Envisions Its Digital-Currency Future, With Lotteries and a Year’s Worth of Laundry
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Sunday, December 27, 2020
BEIJING—The People’s Bank of China on Sunday concluded its second digital-currency pilot program, as the central bank moves closer to a formal rollout that would make China the first major world economy to introduce such a system.
More from PaymentsSource
Early stage payment tech needs to work harder to attract VCs
During the crises, most of the investment is going toward mature fintechs, creating more challenges for startups, says Global Processing Services' Richard Hodgson.
Visa relaxes ban on some of Pornhub parent’s other websites
Visa is accepting card payments again on certain adult entertainment websites owned by Pornhub parent MindGeek, while continuing to block payments to Pornhub itself.
A 'culture of security' can harden a company's defenses
As risk rises and budgets tighten post-pandemic, training all employees about security risks and conducting quarterly penetration tests helps to offset threats and potential losses.
Square has discussed acquiring Jay-Z’s Tidal service
Square Inc., the digital-payment company run by Jack Dorsey, has held talks to acquire the music-streaming service Tidal as part of a push to diversify, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Remote work gives ransomware hackers a new line of attack
By upgrading permissions and defining access, firms can get ahead of the new threat, says vArmour's Marc Woolword.
PIN payments and COVID-19: No longer a touchy subject
In the early days of the pandemic, when consumers seemed loath to touch cash or a PIN pad, it seemed that PIN authentication might have had few days left. But that hasn't been the case.