Morning Brief 8.13.20: Square pilots small loans via Cash App
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:
Square is using its Cash App to lend directly to consumers, though it's a limited program with 1,000 users and small loans of $20 to $200. If the program is successful Square may expand beyond its original user base and become part of the company's response to the pandemic's economic crisis.
The loans are also short-term, requiring repayment in four weeks, with a fee of 5%, reports TechCrunch. That's an APR of 60%, which is still well below most payday loans, which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates can have APRs as high as 400%.
Cash has performed well for Square, which has expanded from its initial transfer usage to support payroll for small business and as a means for Square to cross-sell other products.
Visa has partnered with B4B Payments to support debit card transactions for expense management such as employee payments and third party expenses.
The combined product will process transactions, enable updates and notifications and reminders for receipt input. The product is being aimed at firms with variable staff expense, such as gig economy companies or those with a critical mass of contract workers.
Visa and Mastercard have made a series of separate partnerships over the past two years to improve access to payroll services for gig workers.
A Russian financial crime agency plans to build software to monitor cryptocurrency payments and identify users, a potential blow to the appeal of anonymity that cryptocurrency gives.
Rosfinmonitoring, which can block bank accounts, wants to use AI for blockchain analysis in a way that could spot people transacting in bitcoin, ether, dash, omni and monero, reports Coindesk, adding a prototype called Transparent Blockchain has been developed to support the effort.
The agency is positioning the projects a way to investigate money laundering, terrorism and other crimes that may use cryptocurrency to shield the suspects.
South African blockchain firm Apollo Fintech has finished work on its National Payment Platform, an attempt to lean into the global trend of central banks developing digital currencies to quickly disburse payments and counter private cryptocurrency projects.
NPP allows governments to issue stablecoins and helps manage an agency to add commercial banks and agents. The system would support access and transactions via an app, SMS, QR codes, cards and other methods of payment.
Visa is also working on a gateway to allow central bank currencies for any nation to be digitized.
From the Web
Google is testing domain-only URLs in Chrome to help foil scams and phishing
THE VERGE | Thursday Aug 13 2020
Google is experimenting with showing domain names only in Chrome’s address bar instead of full URLs.
Corp card startup Ramp launches expense management software
TECHCRUNCH | Wednesday Aug 12 2020
TechCrunch caught wind of corporate card startup Ramp back in August of 2019, when the company raised an early round of $7 million.
Apple Readies ‘Apple One’ Subscription Bundles to Boost Services
BLOOMBERG NEWS | Thursday Aug 13 2020
Apple Inc. is readying a series of bundles that will let customers subscribe to several of the company’s digital services at a lower monthly price, according to people with knowledge of the effort, Bloomberg News reports.
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