This week’s look at payments around the world takes us to China, Russia, Costa Rica and Canada.
China’s Ping++ Raises “Tens Of Millions Of Dollars” In Series B Funding Round
Here’s something you don’t see every day: A funding round news release that somehow opts to not reveal the amount raised. Isn’t that the whole point of issuing a funding news release?
That said, this is what Ping++ said said, in its official statement: “Ping++, an integrated payment firm in China, recently announced that it has raised tens of million dollars during its series B round of financing. New investors China Broadband Capital Partners, L.P. (CBC) and Shengjing Technology led this new financing round, which also included the existing investors Sequoia Capital and Linear Ventures. The moneyfrom this round will be used in team expansion, in order to enrich the product line, and further establishment of the base system.”
The statement did add one claim (“Ping++ has over 6,300 clients, coming from four major industries: online marketplace, internet finance, O2O and gaming”) and volunteered to compare itself to a company and said that there’s not much difference: “Asked about the comparison between them and Stripe, Yiye Jin, CEO of Ping++, said, ‘There is not much difference between Ping++ and Stripe in terms of business model, but the credit and payment systems differ a lot between the United States to China. Ping++ is designed mainly according to the domestic payment environment, and therefore is suited more for domestic firms.'”
Russian Mobile Operators Push BTC Payments
Megafon, MTS, Beeline and Tele2 “now allow bitcoin payments via two online services.
“The first, Cryptonator, is a payment platform that accepts online payments for games such as World of Tanks, Perfect World and others. The system does not accept BTC payments for Internet and phone bills directly, but only after a conversion into roubles according to the platform’s internal rate,” according to a report in Coinfox.
Costa Rican Bank Trials Facial Recognition
Banco Nacional of Costa Rica is to authenticate clients logging in to mobile banking with face recognition technology from Spanish biometrics company FacePhi, according to a report in Finextra.
“The Costa Rican bank will roll out the technology to mobile customers in the second quarter. A second phase of the programme will see the face recognition tech expanded to the bank’s online services,” the story noted.
Montreal Public Transit NFC Trial Is Android-Only
The trial will initially be for employees only, according to a report in QRCodePress.
“According to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the mobile payments system will initially be available to a few hundred of its own employees so it can be thoroughly tested out before it is released to the general ridership,” the story noted. “There has not yet been any announcement with regards to when regular riders will be able to use the service to pay for their own fares. The chairman of the STM, Philippe Schnobb, said ‘We want to make it simple for customers to get access to our installations and to our network and this is another way.'”
MintChip Acquired By Canada’s NanoPay
Toronto-based NanoPay, which focuses on loyalty and payment platforms, purchased all of the assets of MintChip for an undisclosed price, Forbes reported.
“MintChip, a fledgling digital currency developed by the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM), which has been in the coin making business for over 100 years, and likened to Bitcoin – but backed originally by the Canadian dollar,” the story said. “As a digital payment technology with many of the attributes of cash, MintChip was initially developed by the RCM in around April 2012 and as a fiat alternative to Bitcoin – then being billed as a digital currency stored on a microSD card. And, the Mint even ran a competition offering coins and gold bars worth $50,000 for tech boffins to create applications using the MintChip.”