Finance

India’s new SMS regulation creates havoc for banks, essential services

SMS deliveries have been down for days

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Indian telecom service providers started implementing the second phase of a new SMS regulation, disrupting essential services like OTP (one-time passwords), bank updates, and e-commerce messages. This is an industry-wide issue affecting everything, including India’s identity verification program called Aadhaar and the Coronavirus vaccination portal called CoWIN.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently issued a guideline that mandated verifying every SMS and its content before delivery. The process is technically called scrubbing and was implemented on March 8, 2021. As a result, unverified and unregistered SMS messages were blocked by telcos.

TRAI says that scrubbing helps reduce spam or misleading messages that pretend to be from a financial institution. The process helps in differentiating between promotional and transactional messages. To control fraud, a blockchain-based solution is used by telcos to check every SMS’ header and content. If the source isn’t registered, the message won’t go through.

Telcos say that they simply followed the upgrade regulations and that telemarketers and companies are yet to join the formal registration process. Unfortunately, neither the telcos nor the banks have issued a statement to address public outrage.

Every transaction done by a credit or debit card is authenticated on the spot via a preset PIN or SMS OTP in India. For online transactions, a vast majority of users rely on OTPs, and these just aren’t getting delivered. Even SMS updates about a transaction aren’t able to go through. Telcos pushed back and pinned the blame on companies and their lax adoption, which have failed to comply with regulatory standards.

According to BloombergQuint, Axis Bank, one of India’s largest private banks, can deliver only 25 to 30 percent of the total messages. In the meantime, users are suggested to rely on alternative authentication services like Verified by Visa.

Apps

GCash unveils plans for international, B2B expansion

At the Singapore FinTech Festival 2023

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The past few months have been tremendous for GCash’s direction, and the e-wallet app has just unveiled its broader plans at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023.

During the gathering, GCash presented a new app feature where users can view real-time foreign exchange rates in selected countries like Singapore, Japan, and the United States.

This development comes just a week after it was bared that GCash has partnered with Alipay+ to deliver cashless payments in 17 countries.

To date, the e-wallet can be used for cashless transactions in over 80 million merchants across 200 countries, giving users a convenient payment option when traveling abroad.

Last month, it was also announced that GCash how has a physical Visa card offering which can be used for POS terminals.

According to GCash president and CEO Martha Sazon, the e-wallet is exploring providing digital financial services for enterprise clients as part of strengthening its B2B operations.

In the future, nano, micro, small, and medium enterprises can also expect GCash to provide a helping hand using its suite of innovative business solutions.

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Finance

GCash shares success story at Singapore FinTech Festival

Building Unicorns: An ASEAN Success Story

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GCash International

GCash had the opportunity to share its FinTech success story on the global stage recently when president and CEO Martha Sazon spoke at the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) 2023.

Joined by Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu, Sazon shared her insights in the panel discussion called “Building Unicorns: An ASEAN Success Story,” emphasizing the importance of making strides in transforming a country’s digital economy.

In recent years, GCash has gone from just a money transfer business into a financial super app that offers lending, investment, insurance, cryptocurrencies, and more.

Globally, GCash also broadened its presence by partnering with Alipay+ to allow users to pay using the e-wallet in 17 countries including Singapore, Japan, and the United States.

A few years ago, Mynt, GCash’s parent company, hit “double unicorn” status, meaning the company’s overall valuation already reached US$ 2 billion.

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Apps

Singapore fintech announces UniPass Wallet in PH

Pay with stablecoins

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UniPass

Singapore fintech startup Account Labs has announced the launch of UniPass Wallet, the first Web3 crypto wallet that allows users to pay using stablecoins.

With the UniPass app, users can connect their Google Accounts and start sending money abroad using stablecoins anywhere in the world.

Users can make fast and low-cost cross-border payments while also avoiding the volatility risk of regular cryptocurrencies.

Using the app, they can execute transactions between different blockchain networks seamlessly, without the need to directly pay traditional gas fees. 

UniPass launches in the Philippines first as a beta test, with plans to expand across Southeast Asia where there is a high demand for remittance solutions.

The Google login feature makes Web3 and crypto wallets more user-friendly for average consumers who are used to Web2 apps. This could also help drive mainstream adoption.

UniPass has already received support from major investors like Amber Group, MixMarvel, and Qiming Ventures.

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