Morning Brief 10.1.20: Singapore orders Wirecard to shut down

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Cut off

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has ordered Wirecard to shut down and refund all of its clients in the next two weeks.

The MAS says Wirecard cannot provide payment processing for a significant number of merchants, reports Finextra. Under the order, Wirecard will have to deposit funds in banks inside Singapore, and help move clients to new processors.

Following Wirecard's accounting scandal, the company has been trying to divest parts of its business in different countries. It's had varying degrees of success, with BBVA recently pulling out of bidding for Wirecard's German unit while Railsbank agreed to acquire Wirecard's U.K. unit.

No checkout

The push toward contactless payments during the pandemic and the competitive threat from Amazon Go have sparked a growing market of more than a dozen firms pushing varied forms of autonomous checkout.

Charlotte-based data privacy firm XcooBee has launched a system that uses QR codes and an API connection to support payments, verifications and other merchant services via the shopper's phone and the store's app, without requiring NFC terminals or scanners.

That would reduce static points of sale since the contactless self-service scans would bill the consumer's store e-commerce account. There's also an option to bill an enrolled external provider, which the startup envisions could be used by staff making purchases on behalf of their employers.

Gig sitting

ABN Amro and childcare platform Charly Cares are piloting an app that allows sitters instant access to earnings after finishing a job. That's much shorter than the normal wait of up to two weeks which is common for on-call or gig economy workers in the Netherlands.

Charly Cares is using ABN Amro's instant transfer rail for the initial wage access product. It later plans to expand the relationship to include tax returns, financing and insurance.

Both companies argue the prevailing wait for wages is a disincentive for childcare workers and other for-hire staff.

Green ledger

Ripple is partnering with non-profit Energy Web in an attempt to reduce the amount of energy used to process and manage cryptocurrency.

Ripple and the XRP Ledger Foundation will support an open source app, EW Zero, which is designed to make it easier for blockchains to locate and transfer to renewable energy through certifications, according to Coindesk.

Cryptocurrencies are notorious for energy consumption, though not all blockchains and crypto use the same amount of energy. Ripple hopes the collaborative approach will encourage traditionally competitive firms to cooperate on energy policy.

From the web

Fintech Startups Founded by Women Have Harder Time Raising Cash
BLOOMBERG | Thursday, October 1, 2020
Funding for female entrepreneurs in financial technology has grown in recent years, yet startups founded by women still face more difficulties raising cash than do other firms, a study shows.

Google expands its free Shopping listings to merchants worldwide
ENGADGET | Wednesday, September 30, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the retail industry hard, many sellers have placed more focus on e-commerce. Google has helped out merchants in the US by allowing them to list their products on the Shopping tab for free since April. Retailers throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America can soon do so too through the Google Merchant Center.

Coinbase offers severance package to employees unhappy with its new apolitical stance
REUTERS | Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Coinbase Inc Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong has offered a severance package to employees unwilling to cope with the cryptocurrency exchange's new policy of not entertaining discussions on societal and political issues.

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