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Self-serving

Ant Group’s Alipay is primed for acceptance at 100,000 vending machines and self-service markets in the U.S. and Canada via a new partnership between cashless tech firm Nayax and Yuansfer, a cross-border payment platform.

Nayax has equipped vending machines it serves to accept Alipay’s QR codes for payments across North America, targeting Chinese nationals and visitors using vending machines, laundromats and car washes, among other self-service retail locations, according to a press release.

The collaboration marks the first payment service provider in the unattended sector to enable Alipay and other QR codes, said Carly Furman, CEO of Huntsville, Md.-based Nayax.

Bloomberg News

Cyber spree

The National Retail Federation forecasts strong overall U.S. holiday sales despite the pandemic, with total seasonal sales likely to increase at about the same rate as last year, thanks to surging e-commerce growth.

During November and December, total retail sales are expected to increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019’s final tally, reaching between $755 billion and $766 billion. That compares with a 4% increase last year over 2018, NRF said in a press release.

Small- and midsize retailers were hit hardest by this year’s store shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, but retail sales overall have been steadily gaining momentum since June. By the third quarter, e-commerce sales were up 37% over the previous year as the pandemic drove more households to shop online.

Chain mail

Copenhagen-based startup Securechain has developed a blockchain-based payment solution for unbanked gig workers that uses email to send digital payments anywhere in the world.

Securechain’s Finmail Mailbox enables recipients to send and receive digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Tether’s USDT via email, according to a press release.

The solution was designed for global gig workers to receive freelance wages through the platform from participating employers, with plans to include a registry for discovering available work opportunities and selecting contractors.

Cardless membership

Costco has begun enabling contactless payments at thousands of its gasoline pumps across the U.S., two years after adding NFC at in-store checkout points. The move follows Costco’s planned upgrade of all its automated fuel dispensers to include EMV-enabled card readers in advance of a U.S. fuel-dispenser EMV liability shift going into effect in October 2021.

Costco’s latest action brings the company a step closer to a completely cardless checkout experience. At its gas pumps Costco has also installed barcode readers so customers eventually may verify their membership in Costco’s warehouse program using the Costco mobile app instead of their Costco card.

Costco operates 550 warehouse stores in the U.S. and most of them include a nearby gas station for members only.

From the web

N26 launches mid-tier subscription plan for €4.90 per month
TECHCRUNCH | Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Challenger bank N26 is adding a third subscription product called N26 Smart. N26 Smart is designed to be a mid-tier subscription plan with advanced banking features but without a travel insurance package.

Apple extends concession on store fees for some apps
REUTERS | Monday, November 23, 2020
Apple on Monday apps that offer virtual sessions or classes do not need to use App Store’s in-app purchase method through June, extending an earlier deadline of December.

Elon Musk overtakes Bill Gates to become world’s second richest person behind Jeff Bezos
THE VERGE | Thursday, November 24, 2020
Elon Musk has passed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world’s second richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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