Morning Brief 1.13.20: Western Union grows in China by going local

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Western Union in China

Western Union has increased its coverage for real-time payments in China through a deal with Du Xiaoman Financial, a move that will add about 150 million users and give Western Union access to a majority of the country's banked population.

Western Union transfers can be directed via the Xiaoman mobile app, with P2P transactions going into consumers' bank accounts.

The collaboration allows Western Union to build bulk against MoneyGram, which has increased access to Chinese payments through partnerships with Alipay, which have continued even after Alipay owner Ant Financial's planned acquisition of MoneyGram fell through.

Punting on competition

Four of Belgium's largest banks plan to jointly manage ATMs as a way to manage the decline of cash and the recent spike of ATM crime in the region.

Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING and KBC will cede proprietary control, and the joint network will likely result in a decline in ATMs while maintaining geographic coverage. The consortium's goal is to enable 95% of the country to have at least one ATM within about 3 miles, reports Finextra.

The deployment will be gradual, starting in mid-2021. Crooks have been attacking ATMs with increasing frequency over the past year, using explosive devices to gain access to machines.

New locks

Alipay will offer its own security technology to partners as a way to manage third-party risk and own more of the relationship with clients and collaborators

The Chinese payments firm will use data accumulated from its base of more than 1.2 billion users, with a focus on securing local e-wallets. Alipay will extend its "data shield" privacy product and MORSE, its multi-party security computing platform.

Alipay has built its international market largely though deals with merchants to enable Chinese travelers to shop in their home currency.

Phone call

Samsung and Syniverse plan to build a mobile payment platform that's designed for travel, hospitality, media and entertainment and retail industry users.

Samsung's SDS Nexledger Universal platform and Syniverse's blockchain platform will support money transfers, loyalty points and digital currency purchases via the user's phone numbers.

Syniverse's addressable market includes more than 7 billion mobile devices in 158 countries, with $35 billion in annual payment processing volume.

From the Web

Square's Pushing Merchants to Use Its Prepaid Card
THE MOTLEY FOOL | Sun January 12, 2020
It looks like Square is going to get more aggressive in pushing merchants to sign up and use Square Card. Its first move is to raise the fee for Instant Deposit from 1% to 1.5% -- a move it made on the consumer side in 2018. The move should push more merchants to sign up for Square Card and use it more often for less-expensive instant access to their funds.

Gambling watchdog plans to ban online credit card bets
THE GUARDIAN | Sun January 12, 2020
The gambling industry watchdog is preparing to ban bookmakers from taking credit card deposits for betting online, in the latest move to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable customers. The Gambling Commission is expected to announce the long-awaited ban on credit card wagers, with the rules due to be unveiled as soon as Tuesday.

Former Google Pay execs raise $13.2M to build neo-banking platform for millennials in India
TECHCRUNCH | Mon January 13, 2020
Two co-founders of Google Pay in India are building a neo-banking platform in the country — and they have already secured backing from three top VC funds. Sujith Narayanan, a veteran payments executive who co-founded Google Pay in India (formerly known as Google Tez), said that his startup, epiFi, has raised $13.2 million in its Seed financial round led by Sequoia India and Ribbit Capital. The round valued epiFi at about $50 million.

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