In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 15th January 2017

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: Indian Express, Bruce Clay and E2E for their support.

Petrol Pumps vs Banks highlights the “who pays” problem for digital payments

Earlier today: There appears to have been a face-off between banks and petrol pumps over the weekend, and it appears that the banks have blinked. Yesterday, as reported in The Hindu, All India Petroleum Dealers Association had said that they would stop card payments after banks said they would impose up to 1% Merchant Discount Rate (MDR). MDR is the fee that Banks charge merchants for enabling digital transactions. On Sunday, Banks apparently deferred this 1% MDR for a few days, following which the Petrol pumps have also agreed to accept cards till January 13th 2016, according to the Times of India. This probably gives time for negotiation, but it doesn’t mean that the issue has been resolved. Read it here

Freecharge customers’ balance moved away from YES Bank

Snapdeal-owned digital payments company Freecharge has moved customers’ balances from a wallet powered by YES Bank to one owned by Freecharge Payment Technologies Private limited, the company informed customers via an email. It had launched its wallet operations in a partnership with YES Bank back in September 2015 when it did not have a licence of its own. This is a pretty common practice where a payments company partners with a commercial bank to get the requisite approvals to operate a wallet. Read it here

PropTiger and Housing merge; $55 million investment in the JV

News Corp-backed PropTiger has merged with Housing.com to become a joint venture with an additional investment of $55 million which includes $50 million from REA Group Limited and an affiliate of SoftBank Group Corp, investing $5 million.

It is worth noting that News Corp remains the largest shareholder of PropTiger with a share of 30%, and also owns 61.6% of REA Group. Representatives of REA and SoftBank will join the board of the joint entity, which will continue to be chaired by a News Corp representative. Henry Ruiz, Chief Digital Officer, REA Group, Simon Barnett, Sales Director, News Corp and Jonathan Bullock, MD, SoftBank Group International will join Raju Narisetti (chair), Ravi Adusumalli from SAIF Partners and Prashanth Prakash from Accel Partners as investor directors on the board of the joint entity. Read it here

HDFC Bank checks for creditworthiness by reading user emails

The online verification process for HDFC Bank’s credit card application requires users to give the bank permission to view the user’s email messages & settings and permission to view all contacts, in addition to basic info like age range and language and other email addresses. (Hattip: Twitter user N). This information can be read by employees, and is likely not stored in India. Read it here

Censor Board to upload data for last 1.5 years, after claiming that it was already doing it

The Central Board of Film Certification’s website does not have any information about the films it has certified for the last one and a half years. No censorship data for films released after mid-2015 is indexed on the Board’s website. Before then, the Board had been uploading the “cut-list” for films that it had been certifying on its website. Read it here

My Vodafone app is forcing customers to create an m-Pesa wallet

My Vodafone app, which lets the telecom company’s subscribers to manage their bills, recharges and usage, has been forcing customers to create an mPesa wallet in the latest update. MediaNama confirmed this after reports of some Twitter users said that customers needed to create an m-Pesa account to use to app. Read it here

Watal Committe Report recommends regulation for Carrier Billing in India

The Watal Committee on digital payments (pdf), constituted by the Indian governments Ministry of Finance, has recommended that telecom operators be allowed Direct Carrier Billing for low value transactions be allowed in a “sandbox environment”, with light touch regulation, open to regular evaluation. Read it here

Airtel to launch payments bank operations after two-month trial

Bharti Airtel will launch its payments bank operations starting today after its initial pilot launch in Rajasthan in November last year, according to this Mint report. The pilot service was later extended to Telangana and Karnataka as well. The report said that during pilot-mode Airtel added more than 1 lakh new customers opening a savings account within two weeks of launch. Read it here

Tickets on RedBus will be honoured by all TN operators following protests

Bus tickets which have been booked on RedBus will be honoured by all Tamil Nadu operators on the platform, the company said in a blog post. The issue with RedBus started earlier during the festival of Pongal when it was reported that some operators belonging to the All Omni Bus Owners and Operators Association were refusing to tickets issued by RedBus from January 12 to January 17, 2017. Read it here

MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar invests Rs 30 cr in Arnab Goswami’s The Republic

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, was named nominee director of in ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, the company which will be running The Republic, a media venture by floated journalist Arnab Goswami. The Indian Express reports that Chandrasekhar has invested Rs 30 crore in ARG Outlier through companies owned by him. Most notably, Asianet News Online Private Limited has been allotted 100 Series A equity shares worth Rs 12.3 lakh. Read it here