Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes a ranking that shows Bristol as the top city for cashless transactions in the United Kingdom. In addition, Google is reportedly working with MMTC-PAMP to let Google Pay users buy gold in India, and Ant Financial’s Xiang Hu Bao mutual protection offering reportedly has a user base of 50 million.
In the United Kingdom, Bristol is a leader in contactless payments and could be one of the country’s “first cashless cities,” BristolLive reported. Nearly three-quarters — or 75 percent — of card transactions were made by “tapping” last year. Hull, London, Durham and Hemel Hempstead were next top four cities in a ranking of cities based on cashless transactions. (Birmingham, Sunderland and Leeds finished out the top ten ranking, while Slough and York ranked in the middle.) Paymentsense conducted the research and the outlet reported that the company thinks the top ten cities in the ranking will “be the first to go completely cashless.”
And in India, Google is reportedly working with MMTC-PAMP to let users of Google Pay purchase 99.99 percent 24-karat gold, The Economic Times reported. Users can buy gold, which is held on the user’s behalf in secure vaults by MMTC-PAMP. The latest price, too, is said to be updated every couple of minutes. Companies like Mobikwik, PhonePe and Paytm reportedly already offer that kind of service. Google Pay India Director of Product Management Ambarish Kenghe said in a blog post, “Gold is core to Indian culture and tradition, making India the world’s second largest consumer of gold. Indians buy gold to mark auspicious occasions each year.”
In China, Ant Financial’s Xiang Hu Bao has brought in 50 million users following its inception in October, the South China Morning Post reported. The product, whose name means mutual protection, works similarity to a collective. When a participant becomes ill, members chip in evenly to each payment. While there aren’t upfront payments or premiums, Ant has an 8 percent administrate fee for each payout. People ages 30 days to 59 years can become participants as long as they meet some basic health standards, and the paper reported the program “covers a list of no more than 100 ailments.”