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Grab debuts innovation lab
The Asian ride sharing app Grab has more than held its own against rival Uber in innovating off its core business, aggressively adding financial services to expand relationships with merchants and consumers.

Its latest move is Grab Ventures, an innovation unit that will build new business models internally to accelerate the development and time to market for new products from internal and external sources.

Grab Ventures will work with private sector firms and government agencies in Singapore and across the region to scale travel, logistics, food and payment services in Southeast Asia. Grab Ventures will also launch "Velocity," an accelerator program for growth-stage startups looking to expand across Southeast Asia.

Image: Bloomberg News
Image: Bloomberg News

Patreon buys Kit
The San Francisco-based crowdfunding site Patreon is adding scale by acquiring Kit.com, a similar site based in New York.

While Patreon works by enabling payments from consumers to support an artist's work, Kit.com specializes in encouraging larger monthly subscriptions through a logistics system that makes it easier for creators to build content subscriptions.

This will add a dose of automation to the development and shipping of physical goods such as shirts and hats, to augment the digital content generated by Patreon's users.

U.K. pols slam Visa
Visa is feeling the heat from politicians over last Friday's outage that left people in parts of Europe unable to make payments with Visa cards.

Nicky Morgan, chair of the U.K.'s Treasury Committee, is asking Visa Europe chief executive Charlotte Hogg to explain what went wrong and how Visa will ensure it won't happen in the future, reports The Guardian, which adds Morgan is also pushing for information on compensation for merchants and consumers.

Belgian ID takes off
The Belgian mobile ID scheme has has enrolled more than 350,000 users in a federated system that supports payments, private authentication and public access in less than a year.

The expanded system is also designed to comply with PSD2 and GDPR. In its first year, the Belgian mobile ID, called itsme, was used for an average of six financial transactions and three government transactions per month.

Gemalto, along with a group of banks and MNOs, operates Belgium's Mobile ID system, which is recognized by the Belgian government as an official ID for taxes, public services, pensions and health care.

From the Web

Ripple CEO says 'dozens' of banks will use its cryptocurrency product in 2019
CNBC | Tue June 5, 2018 - Ripple will have "dozens" of banks using its blockchain product that requires a digital currency known as XRP to work, the start-up's CEO told CNBC on Tuesday. The company is developing a solution that allows cross-border money transactions between banks in a faster and cheaper way than the current system allows.

Acorns receives 10,000 pre-orders for its newly launched payments card and debit account in its first four hours
TechCrunch | Tue June 5, 2018 - Acorns, the financial management service for micro-investments, is adding a rewards debit card to its arsenal of tools aimed at getting Americans to create balanced stock portfolios for economic health. The company has already racked up 10,000 pre-orders for its new payment card that offers perks like investments into Acorns accounts when users purchase with the card at certain online and brick and mortar retailers.

Yedpay! joins queue of hopefuls seeking a virtual bank licence in Hong Kong
South China Morning Post | Tue June 5, 2018 - The Payment Cards Group, also known as Yedpay!, is planning to apply for a virtual bank licence from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to expand into the corporate banking business, according to a senior executive. The company offers Hong Kong mobile or internet payments for 3,000 taxi drivers as well as more than 2,000 small-and-medium-sized companies that accept payment via Alipay and UnionPay, according to its chief information security officer Alva Wong.

More from PaymentsSource

Retailers want high-tech payments, but low-touch partnerships
Interaction with the provider, or extra hand-holding, is becoming less common in an advancing digital payments age for e-retailers.

Colleges' international tuition payments get a failing grade
Students and their families are often not aware of how complicated the cross-border tuition process can be until they’re in the process, writes Steve Villegas, vice president of partner management for PPRO's U.S. headquarters.

Behind Visa's outage: A clash between innovation and basic expectations
One thing is clear: This outage, however brief, undermines the card networks' ability to market themselves as the fundamental platforms for a new era of payments technology.

Geoswift adds inbound P2P to Chinese cross-border payments
Geoswift has launched an inbound P2P money transfer service in China — offering the flip side of its core services supporting tuition and other corporate payments for Chinese students, workers and tourists who are outside of their home country.