- MasterCard Introduces Fingerprint Payment Cards
One of the world’s largest credit card providers, MasterCard, has started testing its new biometric credit card that includes a user’s fingerprint in South Africa.
The credit card which combines both the traditional four-digit personal identification number (PIN) and a biometric chip will enable customers to use both their PIN and thumb to authenticate payments.
According to Ajay Bhalla, the president of enterprise risk and security for MasterCard, “It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected. Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver addition convenience and security. Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics.
Research has shown that millions of PINs are stolen each year, leaving users to empty debit accounts or fraudulent charges. This outcry prompts credit card companies to add a chip system last year as a safer alternative to authenticate transactions before credit cards are debited or charged.
“Merchants can easily maximize the shopping experience delivered to their customers, as the card works with existing EMV card terminal infrastructure and does not require new hardware or software upgrades,” said MasterCard.
Richard van Rensburg, the deputy CEO of Pick n Pay, one of the stores where the card was tested said “We are delighted that this innovation has been trialed for the first time at Pick n Pay stores in South Africa. Biometric capability will mean added convenience and enhanced security for our customers. The technology creates a platform on which we can further our strategy of personalizing the shopping experience in a meaningful way. We have been extremely impressed with the robust and secure nature of the technology.”
Microsoft Announces Teams Essentials to Assist Small Businesses
Microsoft has announced Teams Essentials, the independent Microsoft Teams service which has been designed to cater specifically to smaller businesses.
The newly announced Teams Essentials provides smaller businesses with a professional, but more importantly affordable meetings solution to encourage productivity, collaboration and connection in a hybrid work environment.
Jared Spataro, the Corporate Vice President of Modern work at Microsoft said that the company is aware of the difficulties faced by small businesses in the past 20 months, stating their need to show an extreme flexibility to adapt to changes usually with limited tools and resources. He then said that Teams Essentials has been built specifically to address the needs which small businesses have, empowering them so that they can thrive in the new era of work.
Some of the features provided by Microsoft’s Teams Essentials are: Unlimited group meetings which may last up to 30 hours, Meetings which may contain about 300 people and a cloud storage of 10GB for each user.
The new Teams Essentials service also has both existing and new capabilities in its free version to aid Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): Invitations only require an email address (users are not required to sign in or install Teams), you can maintain continuity with chats, new integration with Google calendar makes scheduling meetings easier, there are professional meeting tools like meeting lobbies and virtual backgrounds.
You can also start a group project and host meetings with anyone, while assigning tasks to teammates and can also create polls to receive feedback as quickly as possible all in a single hub.
According to LinkedIn, SME job postings are up about 81% year over year compared to that of November 2020. Small businesses really need the flexibility to be able to hire from anywhere, as well as the technology that can make the way for new employee workstyles, like synchronous and asynchronous collaboration.
Meta, Formerly Facebook, Cryptocurrency Head to Quit the Company
Facebook parent company Meta’s head of cryptocurrency David Marcus has recently announced that he will be leaving the company by the end of the year.
The departure of David Marcus comes after the company’s trial and failure to initiate a cryptocurrency which could be used to send money online to any person in the world through Facebook products, according to a report from CNBC.
David Marcus joined Meta, which was formerly referred to as Facebook in August 2014 after serving as the President of Paypal for two years. His initial role at Facebook then was as the Vice President in charge of the social media company’s Messenger service. He then went ahead to leave the Messenger division, launching Facebook’s financial projects unit in May 2018.
The financial projects division announced the company’s Libra blockchain currency, as well as the company’s Calibra digital wallet in June 2019. It proceeded to say that the company held hope that both announced projects would be able to go live in 2020.
However, neither of the two projects was able to go live in 2020 as Facebook went on battling very firm backlash against its cryptocurrency aspirations from lawmakers and regulators all over the world. The company then went ahead to release its own digital wallet which was renamed Novi in October. The digital currency has since been renamed Diem and is now run by an independent association but still remains unreleased to the general public.
In a tweet thread in which Marcus announced his departure, Marcus stated that there was still a lot to do right after the launch of Novi and his passion for change in payments and financial systems remained. He however stated that his “entrepreneurial DNA” had been pushing him for too long just for him to ignore it.
Marcus’s exit is not isolated, as other key executives who were at the forefront of Facebook’s ill luck in the blockchain left the company as well.
YouTube to Back Two Nigerian Organizations Working to Improve Africa’s Creative Economy
YouTube Music confirmed on Tuesday that it will be committed to providing proper backing to African creative voices. It announced that it will do this through provision of financial grants, capacity building as well as advisory to two Nigerian organizations that build up creative talent and export it to other countries.
The Head of YouTube’s Music for Sub-Saharan Africa, Addy Awofisayo stated that iManage Africa Entertainment Limited and Briteswan would be receiving support from YouTube for its backing for the development of the creative industry in Africa.
Awofisayo said at a YouTube event which she joined virtually that the support provided by YouTube was simply to assist the selected organizations in ramping up their initiatives to help develop music creatives across the continent. She also went ahead to say that the plan was set to have a direct impact on an estimated 300 participants in the initiatives which these organizations spearhead.
She talked up Briteswan’s ‘The Audiogirl Initiative’ as one which looks to empower women economically by closing the existing gender gap in the music creation area. She then went ahead to talk about iManage Africa Entertainment Limited as an initiative which is focused on building up a well-informed and more empowered workforce for the African entertainment industry, especially the music sector.
Awofisayo also said that the access to the internet has brought out more opportunities for these African creatives to showcase their talents on a global stage, to a global audience which has in turn created job opportunities which can help boost national economies.
She said that in Nigeria, the creative industry accounted for close to N730 billion of the country’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) back in 2020.
Awofisayo mentioned that YouTube has over the past few years been helpful in giving a spotlight to the African culture while also exporting it to the global audiences. She put forward the example of Burna Boy, who won a Grammy with his acclaimed “Twice as Tall” album and has been nominated for a third time. She stated that Burna Boy was given the spotlight by YouTube as an Artist on the Rise in 2018.
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