Welcome to the new PaymentsSource Morning Briefing, delivered daily. The information you need to start your day, including top headlines from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Wearables on the high seas: Wearable technology has had mixed success at resorts--it didn't work at Hershey Park but have been successful at Disney's properties. Now, Carnival is introducing the concept in its cruise ships. Its Ocean Medallion combines payments, access to staterooms, family and friend location, food ordering based on preference, gaming and other entertainment. Venturebeat reports the device is powered by internal technology that combines experiential computing and an "Internet of Things" network of sensors on the ship. The medallions can also be used to speed embarking and disembarking at port, according to the technology website.

Blockchain cheerleaders head to Davos: The World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos usually draws major players from politics to business, and this year, its roster will include virtual currency evangelists. Bitfurygroup and the Covington law firm plan to launch the Global Blockchain Business Council at the annual Davos meeting later this month. Finance Magnates reports the council hopes to attract global businesses and high ranking executives to share innovation and advances in virtual currency and other blockchain technology. One of the council's goals is education and spreading awareness of the myriad uses of distributed ledgers: Blockchain has proven useful in cutting expenses for a variety of purposes beyond bitcoin, such as cross-border trades and financial security, and has already attracted investment from companies such as IBM.

Master of fintech: The Scottish University of Strathclyde has launched a Master's of Science program in fintech, making it one of a few colleges in the world to offer bank and payments technology as an academic pursuit. The program includes financial, programming and analytical skills and is part of a goal to make Scotland a financial innovation center, reports Finextra. The program will begin in the fall term in September 2017 under the Departments of Accounting and Finance and Management Science, and students will focus on data analytics, digital delivery, regulation and blockchain. Finextra reports MIT and the National College of Ireland have similar financial technology curriculums.

Amazon's order ahead goes vocal: While Amazon's checkout-free concept store already has terminal makers scratching their heads, mobile preorder apps may be next. Amazon Prime is enabling Alexa to execute verbal ordering from restaurants, according to Venturebeat. Consumers with Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or other Alexa devices can say "Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants" to trigger an order, or say "Alexa, order pizza from XYZ pizzeria." The app will then search through previous orders and make a new order automatically. The service is still relatively limited, Venturebeat reports, noting that it's generally used for repeat orders from restaurants the consumer regularly visits, rather than constructing new orders.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Payment Alliance International Acquires Avery Scott
BusinessWire
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#ATM--Payment Alliance International (PAI) acquires Louisville ATM operator Avery Scott, LLC, adding 400 plus locations to its nationwide network of more than 74,000 ATMs.

How social cash made WeChat a retail powerhouse
PSFK • Research
A little over a year ago, my roommate Mike said something strange. He’s a theater director and was working on a production in China.

Here's why omnichannel consumers are more valuable
Business Insider • B.I. Intelligence
Shoppers who engage with retailers across multiple touchpoints are driving boosts in conversion rates both online and offline as they become increasingly reliant on...

More from PaymentsSource

Are Paytm’s goals too ambitious for India?
India’s latest efforts to shift to digital payments and reduce the nation’s tight grip on cash are in the spotlight, following the government’s recent cash recall and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) giving its blessing to about a dozen digital payments startups. The newest, BHIM, is controlled by India’s government and is off to a fast start after its first week.

Paper checks aren't going extinct, but it's prudent to plan for a decline
If you had asked me in the late 1990s if paper checks would still be used almost 20 years later for business payments, I would confidently said that that there is no way that paper checks would survive the wave of digitalization enabled by the Internet and other technology.

Investor Adam Dell launches bank alternative Clarity
Clarity Money, an artificial intelligence-driven payment concierge, launched on Wednesday, a move its founders hope will provide consumers with an advanced financial health tool.

Fime joins UnionPay program to speed QuickPass certifications
Fime test labs in France and Taiwan now support terminal manufacturers and kernel developers seeking to enable acceptance of China UnionPay QuickPass.