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Japanese payment network JCB has teamed with Singapore-based Keychain GK to develop blockchain-based payments technology for the IoT.

The solution leverages JCB’s payments network and Keychain’s digital identity tools for use cases such automatic payments for electric vehicle charging, and the companies plan to begin piloting it this year for broad rollout next year, the companies said in a press release.

The JCB-Keychain collaboration will enable secure micropayments between humans and machines, including machine-to-machine transactions on a broad scale at 5G network technology adoption is expected to drive IoT development, the companies said in a press release.

On the record

American Express has responded to a federal grand jury subpoena regarding an investigation into its small-business credit card sales practices, the issuer disclosed. Reports surfaced last month that some Amex employees had used high-pressure sales tactics with small business owners.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York issued a subpoena and the CFPB has also asked for more information about its sales practices, Amex said in its annual report filed Feb. 12 with the SEC. The CFPB’s civil investigation unit has also asked for information about the company’s sales practices, according to Amex.

In the filing Amex said it’s been cooperating since May 2020 with a regulatory review led by the OCC. The company also conducted an internal review of certain sales from 2015 and 2016 and took appropriate disciplinary and remedial actions, Amex said in the filing.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Crypto button

BitPay, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms, has added Apple Pay support for online and in-store purchases through the BitPay Prepaid Mastercard.

BitPay plans to expand support for Google Pay and Samsung Pay purchases later this year, according to a press release.

The BitPay wallet app enables users to manage and spend Bitcoin balances, including converting it to U.S. dollars.


Payments specialist WEX will buy a chunk of health savings accounts from HealthCareBank for $250 million to streamline its expanding consumer-directed health care payments services.

Portland, Maine-based WEX will pay $250 million for assets over the next three years in the proposed deal, which is expected to close in the next few months, WEX said in a press release.

HealthCare Bank, based in Fargo, N.D., currently is the custodian bank for WEX’s health care division customers. WEX expects the acquisition to advance its own health care payment solutions.

From the web

Bitcoin within a whisker of $50,000
REUTERS | Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Bitcoin hit a new record high $60 shy of $50,000 on Tuesday, extending a sharp rally that has been mostly fuelled by big investors beginning to take digital assets seriously.

Bitcoin’s mainstream charge raises stakes for central bank digital cash
REUTERS | Monday, February 15, 2021
As cryptocurrencies increasingly go mainstream, pressure is growing on the world’s biggest central banks to move forward with their plans to issue digital cash and fend off private sector threats to traditional money.

Ripple, SEC Say Settlement Unlikely Before Trial Over Alleged Securities Fraud
COINDESK | Tuesday, February 16, 2021
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Ripple said Monday that there’s little chance of settlement ahead of the expected trial of the blockchain payments firm over alleged securities infractions.

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