Daily Dash: Thailand, Hong Kong QR Code Linkage Launch Date Confirmed

November 8, 2023
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Another bilateral instant payments linkage is set to go live in Southeast Asia, and the UK has sentenced an organised crime gang that defrauded bank customers of over £1m.

Thailand, Hong Kong QR Code Linkage Launch Date Confirmed

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has confirmed that the launch date for its instant payments linkage with Thailand is scheduled for December 4, 2023.

The linkage is set to connect Hong Kong’s Faster Payment System (FPS) with Thailand’s PromptPay via QR code.

Hong Kong users will be able to scan and pay at over 8m PromptPay merchants in Thailand, and Thai visitors to Hong Kong will be able to use PromptPay at around 50,000 FPS merchants that accept FPS QR payments.

“The new service will provide an additional safe and efficient payment channel,” said the HKMA, “enhancing customer experience in retail payment and fostering economic development and entrepreneurial prospects in the two economies.”

In September last year, Vixio covered the build-out of the bilateral payments linkage.

Organised Crime Group Sentenced After £1m Bid To Defraud

A group of UK fraudsters have been sentenced after they conspired to access customer accounts and steal their money, leading to just over £1m in known fraudulent transactions.

Organised crime group members recruited bank employees, creating a sophisticated criminal network whereby they were able to target numerous victims.

The criminal network unlawfully accessed customer accounts to steal their money, using individuals pretending to be genuine customers to attend branches, conduct withdrawals and transfer funds to bank accounts under the group’s control.

The sentences — which include custodial terms and community service — follow an investigation and arrest by the UK’s specialist banking industry sponsored police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit.

“Fraud like this can have a devastating impact on victims, both emotionally and psychologically,” said detective Andrew Hammond.

“Thankfully, by working with the banking and finance industry, we were able to put a stop to this criminal activity and return the stolen money to the victims.”

All victims have now been fully reimbursed.

US Firm Settles Probe Over False Cash Advance Promises 

Brigit, a personal finance app provider, has settled a case with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it tricked Americans into hard-to-cancel subscriptions through deceptive marketing practices.

According to the FTC complaint, Brigit deceptively promised “instant cash advances” of up to $250 for people living paycheck-to-paycheck and locked consumers into a $9.99 monthly membership they could not cancel.

The settlement requires the company to pay $18m in consumer refunds, stop its “deceptive marketing promises” and end tactics that prevented customers from cancelling.

“Companies that offer cash advances and other alternative financial products have to play by the same rules as other businesses or face potential action by the FTC,” said Sam Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Afterpay Expands Subscription-Based BNPL Offering

Afterpay has expanded its subscription-based buy now, pay later (BNPL) product to Australia after launching in the US in September.

Afterpay Plus is a subscription service that gives customers the option to pay in four interest-free instalments almost anywhere Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay is accepted.

After registering for Afterpay Plus, subscribers receive an upgraded virtual card that allows them to use Afterpay in more places than the standard Afterpay Card.

In Australia, Afterpay Plus is available only to existing customers on an invitation-only basis, and comes with a monthly fee of A$9.99 (US $6.50).

Bug Fixed After ACH 'Processing Issue' Cancels Out 900,000 US Salary Payments

The US Federal Reserve has announced that all services are operating normally again following issues with the Automated Clearing House (ACH) that left 900,000 salary payments undelivered.

On November 3, the Fed said that a “processing issue” at Electronic Payments Network (EPN), a private-sector ACH operator, resulted in a number of ACH entries having certain data elements obscured.

The error was contained in a single interoperator file that was distributed by EPN to its participants during the November 2 processing window.

The Fed said the entries contained valid syntax, but obscured account information and recipient information, leaving receiving depository financial institutions (RDFIs) unable to process them.

The EPN instructed its participants to initiate returns, and originating depository financial institutions (ODFIs) were then asked to initiate new items to complete the payments.

Majority Of Merchants Want To Cap Number Of PSPs They Use, Survey Finds

A new survey from UK payments firm GoCardless has found that two in three merchants wish to “consolidate” the number of payment service providers (PSPs) they use.

In a survey of 1,250 merchants in the US, UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, GoCardless found that half of merchants currently use three PSPs or more. Almost one in ten use at least five PSPs.

Due to challenging macroeconomic conditions, a third of merchants said they will end a relationship with a PSP over the next 12 months.

On average, reducing costs was cited as the most important motivation for merchants over the next 12 months.

This is despite the fact that nine in ten merchants reported being “satisfied” with their current PSPs.

Russian Payment System Hacked By Pro-Ukraine Group

Pro-Ukrainian activists claim to have breached Russia's national card payment system, obtaining its user data.

This included hacking the website of the National Payment Card System (NSPK) and reportedly gaining access to the internal systems of the retail payment network Mir, Russia’s domestic alternative to Visa and Mastercard. 

NSPK has confirmed this to the Russian media, although the agency denies that any personal data was leaked. 

"The NSPK website is developed and maintained by a third-party contractor,” it said.

“It is only a business card with information about the company’s activities and does not contain any confidential data, and is also not related to the payment infrastructure.” 

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