Vodafone Albania Brings Down Curtain on M-Pesa

Vodafone Albania is reportedly in the throes of closing down its M-Pesa mobile money service – a move which could affect as many as 250,000 customers in the country.

A notice sent by the operator to its M-Pesa users revealed the service will cease operations on 14 July. Customers will have until 29 July to withdraw any funds lodged with the service from any Vodafone Albania retail store, with the operator waiving transaction charges, RTK Livereported.

While the news service noted Vodafone Albania is yet to offer an official statement regarding the move, it said the information provided to M-Pesa users in the country cited an internal decision for the shutdown.

Such a move is not without precedent. In May 2016 Vodafone’s South African unit Vodacom announced it was discontinuing M-Pesa after a review concluded it was unlikely to achieve a critical mass of users in the country. It was reported at the time the operator had signed up 76,000 users.

The same rationale may apply to Vodafone Albania. The reported number of M-Pesa users in the country represent a fraction of the 2.3 million subscribers GSMA Intelligence reports the operator had at end-Q1 2017.

Vodafone launched M-Pesa in Albania in 2015 as part of a broader strategy to expand availability of the service in Central and Eastern Europe.

Source: MobileWorldLive

 

Ant Financial Cooperates With Fuzhou To Develop Cashless Society

Ant Financial, the financial arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has clinched an agreement with Fuzhou to develop a cashless society.

Fuzhou will be the third Chinese to develop a cashless shopping environment together with Ant Financial following Hangzhou and Wuhan. This cashless development will be supported by an alliance which has been formed between Ant Financial and over 20 institutions including Fuzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce and State Grid Fujian Electric Power Company.

The campaign is expected to help over 90% of merchants and businesses in the city to operate cashless by the end of this year.

Currently, 95% of the taxi fleet, 85% of supermarkets and convenience stores and 80% of restaurants accept mobile payments and customers between 20 and 40 years old make up 80% of all these users.

In the partnership, Ant Financials, through its Alipay payment service, will aid the city in a few areas of development, namely transport, commercial and government services. These developments will set up the infrastructure which allows residents in Fuzhou to shop and travel simply with a smart phone.

According to RFi Group’s data on payments, Alipay is among the top 3 most important payment methods in China, with 74% of the banking population having used it in the last 12 months.

Sumitomo Mitsui, MUFG Join Ripple’s Japanese Banks Consortium

Ripple, a US-based provider of financial settlement solutions, has added two new members to its Japanese banks consortium, Sumitomo Mitsui and MUFG.

As a result, the Asian consortium has 61 members, representing over 80% of total assets in Japan. SBI Ripple Asia created the consortium in August 2016, and consisted of 15 banks connected by a network, focused on Ripple’s blockchain technology for payments and settlement.

The consortium later grew to 47 banks that successfully completed a pilot implementation of the startup to enable real-time money transfers, both domestically and internationally.

The announcement said that three major banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), MUFG and Mizuho have joined the Japan bank consortium. Apart from these banks, Ripple also welcomes Japan Post Bank to the roster of the banks using Ripple for payments in Japan.

Furthermore, the startup said that it plans to launch a common mobile application later in 2017, for payments that will unite all the member banks’ customers worldwide.

HSBC, Barclays To Test Digital ID For Cross-Border Banking

HSBC and Barclays have joined several private and public sector organisations to test the use of digital ID in cross-border banking.

The group, which includes HSBC, Barclays, the UK Government Digital Service (GDS), Orange, OT-Morpho and the Open Identity Exchange (OIX UK), has launched the project by testing the opening of a bank account in the UK using a citizen’s digital identity from France. Additional funding for the project comes from European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility, a funding instrument to support the development of interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.

According to HSBC, the biggest effect that this project could have is to eliminate the need for a separate set of identification paperwork when opening a bank account in another country. A digital ID allows banks to share data and verify the client’s identity regardless of nationality.

The group will also use the mobile connect authentication process allowing the user to request a digital ID that is validated via eIDAS. These services will be developed and provided by Orange.

Source: The Paypers