Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes Klarna’s integration with Shopify for payments to German merchants. In addition, Google Pay has become available in the Scandinavian countries, and the industry ministry in Japan is mulling unified quick response (QR) codes.
Klarna is teaming up with Shopify by bringing its pay now and pay later product, called Sofort, to Shopify Payments for German merchants, the companies said in an announcement. Pay now allows shoppers to make instant payments by bank transfers, while pay later allows them to pay for products without interest or fees up to 30 days later. While pay now is currently available, pay later will come online in the weeks to come. Klarna CEO and Co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski said in the announcement that Klarna and Shopify have a “shared vision of helping merchants, especially SMEs, to unlock growth," and that the companies seek to help merchants achieve that goal by "removing unnecessary friction associated with the checkout process."
In Scandinavia, Google Pay has officially come online in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway, 9to5Google reported. Florence Diss, Google's chief of commerce partnerships in the region, said that “within a year, the goal is that 50 percent of the population will use the service.” As it stands, users of banks such as Nordea, Länsförsäkringar and Jyske Bank can make use of Google Pay. Already, according to the outlet, 200,000 people in the region tap into contactless payments daily. At the same time, Statcounter reports that almost all of the mobile market in the region – or 99.6 percent – is spoken for by Android and iOS.
And in Japan, the government’s industry ministry is mulling over having a standard for unified quick response (QR) codes to be used in transportation such as buses and trains, The Japan Times reported. The effort comes as the ministry is striving to help consumers live without the need to withdraw cash often, as financial institutions pull back on the number of automated teller machines (ATMs). Already, electronic money cards such as East Japan Railway Co.’s Suica “have become popular,” according to the newspaper.