The global payments space was brimming with activity this week, as next month’s holidays loom ever closer.

  • A Major Thai Mobile Payment Alliance
    Three major Thailand mobile operators—Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move—have struck a deal that is supposed to allow consumers to easily transfer money amongst the group starting Dec. 1. All users need do is key in the receiver’s mobile number. No bank account details needed.
    “The maximum amount of transfers is limited to 10,000 baht per transaction, with maximum transfers capped at 30,000 baht per day,” noted a report in The Bangkok Post. “Operators will charge a fee of five baht per transaction, good until the year-end.”
  • European Parliament Pushing New E-Payments Directive
    On Monday (Nov. 16), the European Parliament formally issued a directive asking member countries to accelerate e-payments.
    “The EC concedes that innovative payment products or services did not fall in large part, within the scope of” an earlier directive, said a report by FTSE Global Markets. “Moreover, elements excluded from its scope, such as some payment-related activities, proved in some cases to be either too ambiguous, too general or simply outdated.”
    The revised documents can be reviewed as a European Parliament file.
  • Singapore’s Largest Retailer Goes NFC
    FairPrice, Singapore’s largest merchant, will now support NFC payments, Singtel announced on Monday (Nov. 16). FairPrice, which operates as FairPrice supermarkets, FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets and standalone Cheers outlets, will initially push the payment option only on Android, via Dash Tap and Pay.
    “Besides the new, easy-to-set-up Dash Tap and Pay feature, customers can also choose to pay by entering the counter code on the Dash reader at checkout counters,” said a Singtel statement. “Shoppers who pay with Dash at FairPrice and Cheers outlets will enjoy 5 percent cashback with no minimum spend required until 31 December 2015.”
  • MasterCard Exec: Double-Digit E-Commerce Growth In China
    The card brand is projecting double-digit annual growth in credit card transaction volumes in China, according to Ling Hai, co-president for MasterCard Asia Pacific.
    “MasterCard’s current business in China is mostly handling cross-border transactions when international travellers come to China or when Chinese cardholders go overseas. The domestic market has long been dominated by state-backed China UnionPay,” said a Reuters report about Hai’s comments.
    “That’s going to change with China opening up. We will be able to process domestic transactions just like a domestic national player,” Ling Hai said.
  • Ghanaian Fintech Startup Zeepay Raises $200K
    The investments coupled with an existing partnership with money money service vendor Airtel Money are helping to position the firm as a viable payment player in Ghana.
    “The Ashanti Regional Agricultural District will use Zeepay’s platform to register around 100,000 farmers to assist with the dissemination of information under the government’s e-agriculture project,” according to a story in Disrupt Africa.
  • Norwegian Mobile Payments Service Valyou Shuts Down
    The Valyou NFC mobile wallet developed by Norwegian mobile network operator Telenor and banking group DNB is to shut down due to a “much lower than expected end user uptake,” according to a report in NFC World.
    In a statement on its site, Valyou said: “We in Valyou are convinced that this type of mobile payment solution is the future and that Valyou has built the most user friendly and future proofed mobile payment technology on the market today, that Apple and Samsung have also chosen this technology only confirms that we made the right choices. That said, we must accept that, while users of Valyou have been very satisfied with the payment experience, the market is not yet ready for this kind of solution and the closure of the company is a sad consequence of this fact.”
  • TCB First UK Bank To Offer Cashback For Apple Pay
    Starting Tuesday (Nov. 17), TSB will be the only UK bank to give shoppers cashback (five percent) for using ApplePay, according to a report in Finextra.
    “Customers with a TSB MasterCard and TSB Amex credit card will be able to add their cards to Apple Pay and earn five per cent cashback per card on the first £100 of purchases made through Apple Pay each month, until 31 December 2016,” the story said. “Additionally, customers with a TSB Classic Plus account will also be able to add their debit card to Apple Pay and earn cashback. Classic Plus account customers will be able to choose between using their contactless debit card or Apple Pay to make purchases and earn five percent cashback on the first £100 of purchases made through Apple Pay or their contactless debit card each month until 31 December 2016.”