B2B Payments

Asia, Emerging Markets See Digital, Blockchain Payment Initiatives

Emerging Markets

Payment infrastructure announcements this week saw memorandums of understanding between Mastercard and Angaza, meant to bring digital payments to emerging markets. Elsewhere, digital payments gain traction in Asia through partnerships with Singtel, and the Ripple joust with SWIFT over cross-border payments continues.

Payments infrastructure announcements in emerging markets illuminate the use of digital and mobile as means to bring goods and services to populations that may have heretofore been underserved by other means.

Mastercard said this week that it signed a global memorandum of understanding — or MoU — with Angaza, that focuses on a digital payment offerings for emerging markets.

As reported through sites such as bankingtech.com, Angaza offers pay-as-you-go embedded metering and monitoring technology; Mastercard offers digital payment technology including QR offerings.

The agreement, said the companies, will help users access “affordable necessities” such as heating systems and water systems. The MoU comes on the heels of a Mastercard pay-as-you-go offering in Uganda that debuted last year, which as reported combines QR and the Internet of Things (IoT).

With the integration of the Mastercard API, payments across the Angaza platform can be made through ways beyond cash and mobile money.

In a statement tied to the most recent announcement, Jorn Lambert, who serves as executive vice president of digital solutions at Mastercard, said, “This partnership will help consumers to overcome hurdles such as the significant cash outlay required to purchase critical items by leveraging micropayments, which in turn also helps to build their credit history. All of this is being made available via the internet of things (IoT), which is a great democratiser and is playing a critical role providing safe, secure and accessible digital ecosystems.”

Angaza has said that it has helped more than 5 million people across markets such as Africa, Asia and South America buy more than 1 million items.

Separately, but also related to Mastercard, Accenture said it has debuted a “circular supply chain” that finds the firm in collaboration with Mastercard and Amazon Web Services to use blockchain, digital identity and payments in combination that Forbes said will help consumers trace supply chains — and even pay “tokens of appreciation” to producers along that supply chain.

Elsewhere, reports came this week that Singtel Group, a communications firm based in Singapore, is teaming with Axiata Digital through a memorandum of understanding to boost digital and mobile payments and finance in the region. Axiata has said that the pact will help its digital wallet gain traction through joining Singtel’s mobile payment alliance.

“As Malaysia’s leading mobile wallet, Boost Malaysia [the digital wallet] will add over 66,000 merchant points to the alliance’s network, expanding the reach of the payment service for millions of Singtel Dash and AIS GLOBAL Pay users already on VIA,” said Axiata. As a result, Boost Malaysia’s customer base, numbering more than 3.7 million, transact at merchants in Singapore and Thailand.

Also in Asia, Alipay said that the AlipayHK service will be made available in some areas of Japan and southern China. For example, the company said that in China, in the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, customers will be able to use the app in any locations that accept Alipay, such as retail stores and hotels. And as reported, the company has plans that would seek to build payment systems “from the ground up” with a focus on using mobile phones, and which in transportation settings would allow users to scan their devices in order to pay for rides.

SWIFT vs. Ripple, Continued

In the continuing saga of cross-border payments done digitally and done through SWIFT or Ripple, ethereumworldnews.com reported that one FinTech, Mercury FX, through its CEO Alastair Constance, has said that blockchain is helpful in moving money around the globe. Speaking at the Ripple Regionals tech event in Europe this past week, Constance said the firm has been making payments with the aid of Ripple’s xRapid.  According to the site, he said, “We did our first live commercial payments a couple of weeks ago. So we are now making payments for a U.K. corporate to Mexico to import Mexican food … And they are moving a lot faster than payments would go through Swift, at a much lower cost.”

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