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Morning Brief 12.4.19: Trade war threats send a fresh chill for B2B payments

The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:

Trade jitters

The trade dispute between China and the U.S. has caused worries in the payments industry, mostly over how supply chain expense could hurt B2B transactions and merchant credit.

The problem isn't going away, as this week the Trump administration has considered further moves. The administration considered banning Huawei from the U.S. financial system, according to Reuters. Huawei manufactures mobile phones and provides a payments app, and has been a central figure in the U.S./China trade war.

Trump has also threatened "100% tariffs" on certain French goods such as wine, reports The New York Times and other media outlets. The French tariffs would be in response to a French tax on U.S. technology companies. The trade disputes also threaten the partnerships between U.S. merchants and China-based international payment companies such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.

ATM retreat

ABN Amro has emptied and shuttered 479 ATMs following a spike in attacks in which crooks used explosives to access machines and steal the cash inside.

That's more than half of the bank's ATM network of about 800 machines, reports Finextra, which also reports physical attacks on ATMs in Europe have increased nearly 30% since 2017 (to more than 4,500 attacks in 2019 from 3,500) with losses in 2019 approaching $50 million.

The average loss per attack is about $35,000. Most ATM explosive attacks use solid explosive materials or gas.

APAC partner

Visa has added Episode Six as a fintech partner in the card brand's Fast Track Program in Asia Pacific, which is designed to accelerate development by easing integrations between Visa and technology firms.

Episode Six, which has more than 500 APIs to connect financial institutions to technology platforms, has implemented Visa Direct and Visa's Token service. This adds to other recent moves Visa has made to ease connections with fintechs, such as its Partner Portal, which includes links for fintechs that are building digital wallets and alternative lending.

Visa and Mastercard have both expanded their outreach to fintechs to create a "network effect" for compliance with PSD2 and other open banking initiatives.

Credit unions in real time

The Corporate America Credit Union has become a funding agent for The Clearing House's Real Time Payments Network, providing the RTP project with access to nearly 500 credit unions.

CACU will allow member credit unions to use the RTP network at a discount, and will fund and manage positions in the RTP's Federal Reserve Bank account on behalf of its member credit unions.

In a related move, CACU has partnered with VSoft, a financial technology company that has expertise in faster payments.

From the web

Payments Consolidation Drives Tech Innovation (And Vice Versa)
FORBES | Tue December 3, 2019
The payments industry is a dynamic and fast-moving environment. While that’s a good thing, it also means there’s a disconnect between the pace at which we develop new technologies and how well we can manage and reconcile them with industry policies and practices. For institutional forces, keeping a competitive edge in the space demands a broad reach to effectively manage payments in a global marketplace.

OCBC ready for entry of Chinese firms into digital banking
THE STRAITS TIMES | Tue December 3, 2019
OCBC Bank is well placed to take on Chinese technology giants that are looking to join Singapore's digital banking market, its top executive said. The entry of such firms would constitute "extended competition but not necessary new competition", chief executive Samuel Tsien said, when asked about the threat posed by companies such as Mr Jack Ma's Ant Financial Services Group.

Data shows how Cyber Monday actually began on Black Friday
YAHOO FINANCE | Tue December 3, 2019
Black Friday has become an increasingly cyber affair, with annual blowout sales migrating away from brick-and-mortar toward consumers’ mobile devices. Data released in the rush of post-Thanksgiving rush of retail buying highlighted the growing power of mobile applications and web-based sales. Payment and financial technology firm Fiserv said that brick and mortar sales rose 4.2% on Black Friday compared to 2018.

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