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Business news and updates: Mastercard to phase out magnetic strips

Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for August 19: 

June records slowest public sector wages growth

The Wage Price Index (WPI) increased by 0.4% in the June quarter, bringing it to 1.7% higher than a year ago. Wages in the private sector increased by 0.5% in the third quarter to be 1.9% higher than a year ago. 

Wages in the public sector increased by 0.4% in the June quarter, bringing the annual growth rate to 1.3%, the smallest since records began in September 1997. Wages in the private sector, including bonuses, were up 2.0% year on year, marking the third consecutive yearly increase.

CBA introduces StepPay

In order to compete with other cardless payment services, the Commonwealth Bank officially launched its buy now pay later (BNPL) offering StepPay. StepPay is available to the bank’s 4 million customers, with a special emphasis on the 86,000 who pre-registered. 

StepPay customers can pay in four instalments. It will be available at any retailer that takes Mastercard, with purchasing restrictions of up to $1000 at first.

Qantas implements mandatory staff policy

By November 15, Qantas will expect all of its 22,000 employees to be completely vaccinated against COVID-19. Australia’s largest airline published the policy today on its website, following a request for vaccine comments from staff across the Qantas and Jetstar divisions. 

All frontline workers, including cabin crew, pilots, and airport personnel, will have until November 15 to be completely vaccinated under the new regulation, with all remaining employees having until March 31, 2022.

Oil skids after COVID-19 surge

Crude prices fell for a fifth day, as investors remain worried about the outlook for fuel demand as COVID-19 cases surge worldwide just as more supply reaches the market from large global producers, including the United States.

U.S. homebuilding stumbles amid unrelenting supply constraints

U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in July, the latest sign that surging construction costs and home prices continued to constrain the housing market early in the third quarter.

Mastercard to phase out magnetic strips

Mastercard is retiring the magnetic strip, which has been an essential component of all credit and debit cards since the 1960s. 

According to the financial services behemoth, the strip is on the cusp of being obsolete, as merchants and consumers increasingly rely on chip technology to perform safe transactions. 

Modern chip cards have also fuelled the expansion of contactless payments, and online smartphone equivalents like Apple Pay are becoming more popular.

40 million T-Mobile customers hit by data breach

T-Mobile has revealed that a data breach in the United States affected more than 40 million of its customers. 

The leak was attributed to a very sophisticated hack. It stated that it is immediately taking steps to help protect all those who may be at danger from this hack. 

According to the company, while attackers took personal information, no financial information was exposed as a result.

China tech stocks plunge as regulators unveil new antitrust rules

The market value of China’s largest technology companies fell by more than $50 billion after the government announced sweeping new rules to further curb anti-competitive behaviour among large internet enterprises. 

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), which has led the government’s antitrust battle against Big Tech, has launched the latest move to crack down on the sector. 

The laws announced will make it illegal for businesses to falsify data or information regarding their product orders, sales, or user reviews in order to deceive customers. They would also be prohibited from creating consumer opinions in order to harm the reputations of their competitors.

Taliban will not be able to access most Afghan central bank assets 

According to a Biden administration official, any central bank assets held by the Afghan government in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban. Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has around $9 billion (£6.5 billion) in reserves, the majority of which is held in the United States. 

Dollar shipments, international loans, and help are also in jeopardy since the extremists gained control. The previous governor of DAB warned that the Afghan economy was on the verge of collapsing. 

Ajmal Ahmady, who was forced to flee the country on the weekend, tweeted that DAB’s total reserves were approximately $9bn as of last week.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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