Morning Brief 3.30.20: Western Union adds video agents to protect against coronavirus

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

Video agent

Western Union is piloting a program that allows consumers to make a voice or video call to a money transfer agent, removing the need to use an in-person agent.

The test, which Western Union says is partly a response to the coronavirus, will start in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Oman, using multiple language options.

Western Union has added myriad mobile and digital options in recent years, partly to compete with fintechs that have encroached on the cross-border payments market, and most recently to mitigate local unrest in Lebanon and South America.

Take-out grocer

Kroger is testing a pickup-only store in Cincinnati to respond to mobile order and pickup spikes as consumers try to avoid supermarkets.

While supermarkets are among the few businesses that are open in many towns, there's an increasing concern over safety.

Kroger reports higher demand for online ordering due to the coronavirus, reports Supermarket News.

License delay

Cryptocurrency firms operating in Singapore will not have to obtain a payments license until July 28, when a deadline that's part of the city's new anti-money laundering law kicks in.

The delay impacts well-known cryptocurrency firms including Binance, Coinbase, Ripple and BigGo, reports Coindesk.

The rule was passed in 2019, but the later crypto payment deadline was put in to give firms a chance to apply for a license while still operating payment businesses.

Biometric bump

Masira Digital Payments has added security from Zwipe ahead of a biometric card rollout in the Middle East and Africa.

MDP's project includes IoT and wearables in a deployment that will eventually cover about three dozen countries, according to Biometric Update.

The Norway-based Zwipe has also partnered with Mastercard to introduce biometric cards in the U.K. and Gemalto in the Middle East.

From the web

Venmo and Cash App want to deliver government stimulus payments
CNN | Fri March 27, 2020
Online payment services Venmo and Cash App are going on a public campaign to be considered as a way for the Treasury Department to deliver payments directly to Americans. Advocates for the electronic payment services argue they offer a quicker way of getting stimulus dollars to Americans than sending checks by mail.

Binance, Visa Introduce Crypto-Backed Debit Card
YAHOO FINANCE | Fri March 27, 2020
Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange and blockchain company, introduced the Binance Card, a payment solution for everyday purchases. Visa will allow Binance users the ability to make purchases and pay bills with cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, at in-store and online Visa merchant locations.

Comdata rolls out new payments platform for trucking fleets
VERDICT | Fri March 27, 2020
Comdata, a Fleetcor subsidiary, has launched a new solution dubbed as Comdata QuickPay to give fleet owners access to payments within 24 hours of delivery. The solution is designed to improve cash flow and also enable fleet owners to access payments directly on their Comdata fuel card.

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