This is a roundup of news that I have come across during the day. Read about Iceland opening borders, woman charged $5,700 for cup of coffee, Cash App vulnerable to hackers, Expedia points can no longer be used for flights, and Italy unveils ‘covid-free’ trains.
Iceland will this week open its borders to all visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 without mandatory testing or quarantine, as it seeks to attract more tourists to help revive its coronavirus-hit economy. The North Atlantic country, which will become one of the first to open its borders since the beginning of the pandemic, saw tourist numbers plummet by 75% last year to just under half a million, causing its economy to contract by 6.6%.
“I have never had an insufficient funds fee before. I’m very, very careful with what money is in there, how I pay my bills,” said Angello, who at first thought her debit card must have been skimmed. “Then, I realized that $5,705.70 was the dollar amount put in twice. $5.70 and $5.70. That’s a trip to Paris cinnamon dulce latte.” What she thought would be a simple refund has turned into a more than two-month nightmare of phone calls and emails with USAA and the Gaylord Rockies.
Mobile payment platforms such as Cash App, as well as PayPal (PYPL), PayPal’s Venmo, Google Pay, and bank owned Zelle, have seen a rise in downloads during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the increase, a jump in the number of app reviews mentioning the word “scam” or “fraud” for all except Zelle, according to mobile intelligence firm Apptopia. Six Cash App customers said repeated efforts to talk directly with a human being at the company to help them get their money back were largely unsuccessful, exhausting, and stressful.
Earlier this year Expedia devalued points by removing the double value you got on VIP properties. Expedia have now made another unannounced change and you can no longer used points on flights.
The concept is being launched in Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by Covid-19, which, one year on, is in the grip of a feared third wave. But the country’s main train operator has announced plans for “covid-free” trains including to Italy’s main tourist destinations this summer. Gianfranco Battisti, CEO of state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, has said that on these trains, both passengers and staff will be tested for Covid-19 before boarding. Passengers will have to arrive at the station an hour ahead of departure.