Morning Brief 5.11.20: WeChat to launch livestream stores in China

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

Shop stream

WeChat is collaborating with Guangzhou, a southern Chinese city, to host a shopping festival on livestream in early June, using a venue for consumers to interact with merchants, place orders and make payments in real-time.

It's a relatively older technology, predating the more common short videos on mobile apps, but it's a way for shoppers who may be skittish about returning to stores to engage with staff, reports TechCrunch. As European and North American businesses look for ways to adjust models for reopening and look to China for clues, it's another option.

Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo have also increased livestreamed shopping, following an announcement from the Chinese government pushed livestreamed e-commerce as a way to boost shopping in China, which has reopened sooner than most other countries.

Cashless train

Bans on cash are accelerating, setting the stage for potential controversy as businesses reopen from coronavirus lockdowns.

Amtrak is the latest to weigh in. The rail service is restoring some Acela express trips between Boston and Washington on June 1, and will not allow cash payments for fares, reports CNBC.

Cash has declined during the coronavirus outbreak due to concerns it can spread disease. The move bumps up against rules that require cash as an option, including in Philadelphia and New Jersey, which are parts of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

Compliance chief

Wirecard has appointed former Deutsche Borse AG compliance director James Fries as its chief compliance officer and head of a new department called Integrity, Legal and Compliance.

Fries, who assumes the role at Wirecard on July 1, has a long career in compliance, including a stint as director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and head of the U.S. Financial Intelligence Unit.

Wirecard has faced scrutiny in the past tied to an alleged accounting scandal in its Asian unit.

App bug

Venmo, Spotify, DoorDash, Pinterest and other iPhone apps have experienced crashes because of a bug in Facebook's software development kit.

The glitches were caused by a new release from Facebook that triggered crashes in the operating system, according to Ars Technica.

The SDK is included in apps because it enables a deeper dive into metrics for Facebook's ads. Facebook told Ars Technica it has repaired the bug.

From the web

Vista Partners founder calls for a fintech revolution to help pandemic-hit, minority-owned small businesses
TECHCRUNCH | Sat May 9, 2020
Robert F. Smith, one of the world’s wealthiest private equity investors, called for an infusion of cash into community development financial institutions and for a new wave of technology tools to support transparency and facilitate operations among these urban rural communities that aren’t served by large banking institutions.

Affirm’s Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, on the future of money after coronavirus
FORTUNE | Sun May 10, 2020
In an interview with Fortune, Max Levchin said the pandemic will cause an immediate effect, which is the decline in using cash.

Virgin Money apologises and U-turns on credit card spending blocks
THE GUARDIAN | Sat May 9, 2020
Virgin Money has reversed a decision to block some customers from making new purchases on their credit cards, saying that it has listened to feedback and decided it is not the right time to make the changes.

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