The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:

Remote control

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.

Covered

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.

More from PaymentsSource

PayNearMe sees growth in cash payments for online betting
Even in a pandemic, certain consumers insist on paying their billers with cash, and increasingly that includes gambling debts.

Who has the best shot at taking crypto payments mainstream?
The world’s largest companies are finding it harder to ignore bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with many announcing plans to embrace digital assets as valuations soar.

PayPal looks to stock trading, savings in push past checkout
PayPal Holdings Inc. is weighing a foray into stock trading and high-yield savings accounts as the firm pushes beyond its iconic checkout button.

Former SoFi CEO starting blank-check company to raise $250 million
Mike Cagney’s blockchain lending startup Figure Technologies plans to raise $250 million through a new blank-check company, according to an SEC filing.

Miami pushes crypto with proposal to pay workers in bitcoin
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez proposed paying municipal workers and collecting taxes in bitcoin, expanding a campaign to promote cryptocurrencies.

Visa expects more fraud from pandemic activities in 2021
Fraudsters are continuing to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit online shopping, curbside delivery and unemployment, according to Visa.

Fintechs’ culture must evolve as the sector matures
As fintech evolves because of market demands, COVID-19, and the calls for social and racial justice, so do the regulatory, enforcement, and litigation risks.

Mastercard’s buy-in a turning point for crypto payments
After years of only dipping a toe in the waters of crypto payments, Mastercard has dived into the deep end.

Swift, Pelican team on low-value money transfers
Pelican, a provider of payments and artificial intelligence technology, is supporting Swift’s development of a new service for low-cost cross border payments across its Global Payments Initiative and high-speed rails.

Digital account openings are more than nice to have
The financial services industry has been in significant upheaval since the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Traditional channels have been disrupted for social distancing purposes, while the relationship customers have with their bank is changing dramatically.

Checks are on their way to the B2B dustbin
With suppliers adopting digital payments at a more significant rate, it feels like we’ve reached the tipping point where checks are becoming obsolete on a broader scale, says Nvoicepay’s Josh Cyphers.

Source