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Square speeds up payments for U.K. merchants
Fresh off of adding new services to appeal to gig economy workers, Square is adding instant deposit services for U.K. businesses.

Square hopes the product will attract businesses by linking cash flow to the trend toward faster payments.

For an added 1% fee above the 1.75% in-person and 2.5% online fee, sellers can have funds available in their bank account in 20 minutes, as opposed to the standard next-day availability.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey
Square CEO Jack Dorsey Bloomberg News

Calming crypto fears
A group of economists are creating a cryptocurrency that's designed to address many of the criticisms cryptocurrencies have faced over the past couple of years.

The Financial Times reports Saga will tie to reserves in fiat currencies at commercial banks. Saga holders will claim money by cashing in the cryptocurrency. This is designed to avoid market volatility and concerns over money laundering and other crimes.

Saga is being backed by a foundation in Switzerland and will have an advisory board including Jacob Frenkel, chair of JPMorgan Chase International and former governor of the Bank of Israel; Myron Scholes, a Nobel-Prize winning economist; and Dan Galai, co-creator of the Vix volatility index.

PSD2 helpers
European banks and payment companies are getting hit with myriad regulations such as GDPR and PSD2, leading to efforts to make compliance easier.

Computing reports the U.K. government has formed a task force that will help fintech companies and banks adhere to the new standards and form the collaborations these regulations are designed to bring about.

The Fintech Sector Strategy also includes a "crypto-assets" task force, bringing together the Treasury, Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority to weigh the opportunity and risks of alternative currencies.

Movin on up
Bitcoin's use as a payments currency has mostly taken a back seat to its attractiveness as an asset trade, though there's been some actual payments action in real estate.

The New York Post reports developer Ben Shaoul has sold two Upper East Side properties by using BitPay to accept the bitcoin payments and then convert those funds to cash.

While there have been bitcoin real estate listings in Florida, the Post reports this is the first sale of a property for bitcoin in New York.

From the Web

New app lets you use your credit card like a debit card
Yahoo Finance | Fri Mar 23, 2018 - Debx is an app that lets users automatically pay off credit card purchases right away by linking the card to a checking account. Simply put, as long as you have the money to cover your expenses in your checking account, users can earn credit card rewards without worrying about racking up debt. Entrepreneur Ben Psillas launched the app last year after looking for a way to remedy one of his biggest pain points.

Atlanta hit with cyberattack demanding ransom for access to files
CBS | Thu Mar 22, 2018 - City officials say Atlanta is dealing with a cyberattack that is holding internal systems hostage using ransomware, CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports. Around 5 a.m., a written communication from the hackers warned that they had frozen the city's computer systems, CBS News homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports. The attack caused outages on several computer systems. Online bill paying services and some law enforcement data was unavailable.

JP Morgan said to examine spin-off of its blockchain project to win wider adoption
CNBC | Thu Mar 22, 2018 - J. P. Morgan Chase is reportedly working on a spin-off of its main blockchain project in part to get a wider audience for it. The report, by the Financial Times, said the bank developed its blockchain technology called Quorum two years ago for clearing and settling derivatives and cross-border payments. A spin-off of Quorum would highlight the difficulties Wall Street firms often have after developing new technologies for the industry but failing to get much outside adoption as an in-house application.

More from PaymentsSource

Even with a head start on GDPR, some U.S. companies risk missing the deadline
Under GDPR, nothing can happen with the European consumer's data unless they explicitly opt in. American consumers tend to ignore the fine print on company statements regarding the potential uses of their data, leading to an environment where companies expect them to opt in by default.

Airlines need to board the mobile revolution
Most North American airlines don’t accept cash for in-flight purchases, even for lower-cost items like drinks or snacks, writes Keith Neville, director of transportation solutions at Infinite Peripherals.

Google Pay's P-to-P finds its voice
The voice-activated payment option through Assistant has been added to Google Pay's features to address situations in which consumers have to pay someone back, for example, after a weekend activity.

Samsung Pay makes inroads in Italy via UniCredit
Samsung Pay became available Thursday, allowing users to load UniCredit credit cards, MyPay and MyOne prepaid and debit cards for payment directly from the Samsung Pay app.