2.1.19 Your morning briefing

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

Taking no chances
WorldFirst will stop all U.S. transactions after Feb. 20 to remove a possible regulatory threat to Ant's planned acquisition, reports the Financial Times.

U.S. operations will operate independently and will be rebranded as Omega, according to WorldFirst's release, though there was no mention of when transaction services will resume. Canadian operations are not affected.

Ant's earlier deal to acquire MoneyGram fell apart last year because Ant said it could not satisfy U.S. regulators. That scuttled deal was seen as a victim of the adversarial trade relationship between the U.S. and China.
Compliance clearance
Amazon is removing items from its India website to adhere to new regulations that restrict companies' ability to to make exclusivity deals with sellers and to sell through vendors in which they have an equity interest, reports Reuters, which adds Amazon and Walmart's Flipkart unsuccessfully lobbied against the rules, which go into effect Feb. 1.

Numerous items from Cloudtail, an Amazon investment, were no longer available, as were Presto-branded cleaning products, Echo speakers and AmazonBasics products.

The new e-commerce investment rules are part of a wider crackdown in India against foreign companies taking a larger share of the local economy. Similarly, Visa and Mastercard began complying with local data storage rules following unsuccessful lobbying for regulation.

Cashless kids
Youth payment services have been adding more technology to stay relevant, including accommodations for an increasingly cashless society.

A mobile banking app called Step aims to serve young people who, despite the popularity of apps such as Venmo, still carry cash. Step, which opened its waitlist and referrals this week, offers checking and a Visa card that's both a debit and credit card, reports TechCrunch, putting Step in competition with teen-focused financial services companies such as Current.

Step, which was founded by former Gyft executives, plans to add more complex services in the future, such as college savings plans.

Cross-border sandbox
The U.K.'s wish to export its fintech sandbox is making progress through an international network of regulators that's building a testing ground for businesses.

The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority will chair the network, which will have 29 regulatory bodies and is seeking applications, reports Finextra.

The companies will be able to develop payments, blockchain services and platforms that cover more than one jurisdiction with a lower regulatory burden.

At the box office
Sinemia is adjusting its debit card strategy to add more flexibility in the complex movie theater subscription and ticketing business.

The service is cutting some prices and allowing U.S., U.K. and Australian consumer to roll ticket allocations over from one month to the next, reports Engadget.

The adjustments are available on Sinemia's debit card, which supports in-person tickets and avoids online processing fees.

From the Web

Alipay and Wechat Pay Maintain Anti-Crypto Stance, confront Huobi
CoinGeek | Thu January 31, 2019 - The two largest mobile payment networks in China want nothing to do with crypto, and they are making this known. The two, Alipay and WeChat Pay, have allegedly sent legal letters to Huobi crypto exchange asking that it take their logos down.

Binance now lets users buy crypto with a credit card
TechCrunch | Thu January 31, 2019 - Coinbase is abandoning its conservative approach to the coins that it lists, while Binance — which operates on the opposite scale with support for a glut of tokens — has moved from being crypto-only to offer fiat currency options to customers. Support for credit cards is a major part of that, and it brings Coinbase and Binance into direct competition for the first time.

Singapore digital firm InstaReM joins Visa's fintech fast-track programme
The Business Times | Fri February 1, 2019 - Digital cross-border payments firm InstaReM announced that it is joining Visa’s fintech fast-track programme in Asia Pacific. The programme makes it easier and faster for fintech partners to build and deliver new solutions on Visa’s payments network.

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