Morning Brief 3.26.20: Stripe makes a $20M investment in digital checkout tech

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Stripe's VC

Stripe has made a $20 million Series A investment in Fast, a San Francisco-based online checkout technology firm, in a nod to the migration toward digital shopping brought on by the coronavirus.

Fast's one-click-login shopping and checkout tool will launch over the next few weeks. Fintechs are struggling because of the outbreak, with Rosenblatt Securities projecting a market cap decline of as much as 15%, or $76 billion. Payment technology firms, however, are expected to do better given the growth in e-commerce.

Stripe's valuation has soared in recent years, placing it in a position to make investments in financial services and payment startups that serve digital channels.

India's war on cash

It feels like a long time ago now, but India's government caused a global stir when it bluntly removed about 85% of the country's cash from circulation in 2016 as part of a national effort to digitize commerce. Like much of the world, that movement is accelerating as the coronavirus threatens the country.

As India locks down for the next three weeks, the National Payment Corporation is urging Indian citizens to use digital payments, which it hopes will be helpful in streamlining transactions for essential services such as food and medicine.

India is still a cash-heavy country, though it has made strides in the past four years as the country's United Payment Interface has dramatically ramped up digital payments.

Late payment

Legal form startup DoNotPay has introduced a feature that identifies recurring bills that are eligible for extension under federal guidelines and automatically produces a request form to delay payments.

The forms are designed for utilities, rent and other similar payments, which in some cases are being temporarily waived as part of recovery efforts.

Credit card payments are not part of the service yet, though the company is "in negotiations," reports The Verge, noting some companies such as Apple are allowing borrowers to skip March payments.

New wallet

Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has launched its mobile payment service in China, with a wider rollout expected in the coming months.

OnePlus supports cards from mostly Chinese Banks and uses NFC to execute payments in stores, reports 9to5Google.

The company plans to expand the app to India and the U.S. this year.

Express train

Contactless payment limits are increasing left and right, with Dutch banks and Mastercard among those easing restrictions to encourage digital payments over cards and cash.

Ireland is also taking a national approach, with the Banking & Payments Federation bringing banks, retailers and technology companies to increase the contactless limit to about $60 from about $35 on April 1.

The move will involve more collaboration than some of the other international efforts, since there's not a centralized method to change payment rules in a sweeping manner, according to the Federation.

From the Web

Plastiq raises $75M to help small businesses use credit cards more
TECHCRUNCH | Thu March 26, 2020
Plastiq today announced that it has raised $75 million in venture capital in a Series D round led by B Capital Group. The new financing round will invest in building out features to give SMBs faster services around payments and processing.

World Bank, IMF urge debt relief for poorest countries
REUTERS | Wed March 25, 2020
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday urged official bilateral creditors to provide immediate debt relief to the world’s poorest countries as they grapple with severe consequences of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. They urged the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) to support their call for action.

Apps like Venmo, Cash and PayPal are free, but here's who they are telling your business
USA TODAY | Wed March 25, 2020
A review on behalf of USA TODAY has found that two of the most popular apps, Cash and Venmo routinely pass on personal information to third-party data firms. Security researcher Patrick Jackson of security firm Disconnect, which makes apps to curb website tracking, monitored our phone as we made the transactions to find which apps were sharing.

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