Softbank looks to rival PayPal, Apple Pay and Alipay while Mastercard, Wirecard and UnionPay International partner on the Singapore QR code initiative. Also making headlines, Paytm QR code is slated to be the new default method of payment (MOP) in Hyderabad.

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Japan’s Softbank aims to rival PayPal, Apple Pay and China’s Alipay. According to The Times, the investment and technology firm is looking for investment opportunities in payments and online finances – the ultimate goal being to create a global digital payments system.

One facet of the plan would include Softbank leading a consortium backed by several of the world’s notable banks, The Times article said, that would enable a new digital payments infrastructure leading to cost reduction and more seamless integration of products and services. Simultaneously possessing the ability to serve as a mobile-phone-based payments network, the same article reports that sources familiar with the plan have termed it “smartphone as a bank.”

A Singapore QR Code initiative is backed by seven mobile wallets, acquirers and payment networks, including UnionPay International, Mastercard, Wirecard and Diners Club. The goal is more support for electronic payments in Singapore, with the plan to enable interoperability for 500,000 merchants and 2 million customers local to the area by end of second quarter this year, according to Wirecard. These seven major payment companies have come together to offer their support.

The press release quotes Mastercard Singapore (one of the seven companies) Country Manager Deborah Heng regarding the partnership: “This collaboration will be significant in driving acceptance amongst consumers and merchants. With this partnership, consumers will have more options to make quick, seamless and secure QR code payments via their mobile phones. This is part of our commitment to support the nation’s vision to build an open-loop QR code system based on global EMVCo QR standard and grow the adoption of cashless payments in Singapore.”

Google invests in Asian ride-hailing company Go-Jek. The investment marks the first for the global brand in the Asian ride-hailing market and while the exact amount has not been officially disclosed, Pehub reports speculation that the monetary value is approximately $100 million.

The company began as a ride-hailing app but delivers much more than just lift services, including meals, groceries and hairdressers. Rivals include Uber and Grab, the ride-hailing company that is ramping up its payments capabilities. Southeast Asia, according to the same article, is the world’s third-biggest ride-hailing market following China and the US and this funding “deepens Google’s commitment to Indonesia’s internet economy.”

Grab collaborates with STB on three-year payments initiative. In another move to expand its reach into other forms of cashless offerings, Grab has partnered with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to “proliferate the adoption of cashless payments in a more targeted manner,” according to TTGAsia.

Initiatives include launching GrabPay at restaurant, retail, cultural and lifestyle establishments and offering mobility services for STB industry partners. Grab will also be sharing its booking APIs and enabling select tourism establishments to integrate to the company’s digital platform. Ultimately, this will provide tourists with the ability to have easier access to fees and travel times to more effectively plan their excursions, according to the same article.

Paytm QR code is emerging as the default payment method for physical storefronts in Hyderabad. And both the merchant and the consumer benefit. For merchants, they can receive payment direct to their bank accounts at no additional charge and with no monthly limit. For consumers, they have greater flexibility when it comes to paying for their purchases.

As reported in TMS News, Paytm Regional Head Tom Puthenpurackal Jacob had the following to say regarding Paytm QR: “Our QR-based payments have become top of mind for users and merchants across Hyderabad. It is exciting to see that once our merchants and consumers experience the power of convenient mobile payments, it causes a rapid and permanent shift in their behavior.”

“We are confident this rate of adoption will increase further,” he continued, “as our merchants can now accept payments from Paytm, UPI or Cards at zero cost round the clock, throughout the year at no charges. We are confident the convenience associated with this process will trigger a larger number of merchants in Hyderabad towards going cashless.”