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:

Android's 'NFC watch' has a launch date: Google’s next version of Android Wear is planning to release on two watches that include Near Field Communication, among other features. VentureBeat reports the watches, the 14.2 millimeter thick Watch Sport and the 10.8 millimeter thick Watch Style, will be unveiled Feb. 9 and will be available for sale the next day. Both watches will have WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, while the Sport watch will have cellular connectivity, as well as GPS and NFC, which allows the watch to support Android Pay. That would allow Android Wear to catch up with Apple Watch in supporting contactless transactions.

Bloomberg News

Thiel invests in startup serving startups: Investors are lining up to put money behind Qonto, a French startup that will provide business banking for entrepreneurs and startups. According to a translation of Los Echos, Qonto will debut in April and will offer five minute onboarding for accounts that enable sending and receiving payments, as well as virtual Mastercards. The new company's investors include Peter Thiel's Valar Ventors, French VC Alven Capital and others. Qonto is expected to offer a collaborative interface with logins for different users and varied workflows depending on the type of payment or financial service provided. Thiel, a PayPal co-founder, also recently backed CapLinked, a startup that powers business transactions for other early stage companies.

ACI connects to 'all' faster payments: National projects designed to accelerate payment processing to accommodate digital commerce are picking up steam globally, attracting the attention of financial technology vendor ACI Worldwide, which has updated its faster payment product to work in multiple jurisdictions. ACI today announced its UP Immediate Payments would be available via web delivery or on premises, and would provide access to immediate payments schemes in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Singapore and elsewhere. Two of the largest initiatives, The European SEPA Instant Credit Transfer Scheme and ACH Real-time Payments in the U.S., are both scheduled to be launched this year. ACI also recently entered a collaboration with VocaLink, which provides the technology for several faster payment projects.

Need more evidence of cash's decline?: Cash isn't going extinct, but it clearly is not the future of commerce. Finextra reports new research on paper money's fade, citing Retail Banking Research data that shows plastic cards gaining at cash's expense. RBR reports 471 billion cashless payments were made in 2015, the latest year available, up 52% since 2011. ATM cash withdrawals increased, but at a slower rate, 33%. RBR also reports payment cards account for 55% of cashless payments, up from 50% in 2011, and are the largest payment type in all regions except for Asia.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

PayPal - Does It Have A Special Sauce?
Seeking Alpha • Bert Hochfeld
PayPal shares are somewhat controversial these days as investors and analysts debate if the company can achieve upside to current forecasts. The company will be reporting Q4 and full year 2016 results in less than two weeks. Based on strong macro...

2017 Will Be A Busy Year For Digital Payment
CXOtoday.com • Sohini Bagchi
The digital payments sector will be a busy one all throughout the year and will see a sudden rise in demand.

Card Clash: Mobile Payments Take Hold in the UK
Consumers in the UK are opening their mobile phones to payment functions that allow for increased spending, security and accounting, according to Nathan Gill, vice president of commerce enablement and global innovation at payment solutions provider Verifone.

More from PaymentsSource

Currency exchange firms seek opportunity in online retail
A growing number of U.S. merchants, both large and small, are using online marketplaces to sell their wares worldwide. Payment companies that specialize in currency exchange have taken note and are actively trying to win their business by significantly undercutting the competition in price.

Banks can counter fintech-friendly EU rules by embracing third party innovators
As we move toward the mandated adoption date for the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), we can expect to see significant shifts within the payments industry.

N.Y. grants BitLicense to Coinbase amid firm's legal battle with IRS
Bitcoin exchange and digital wallet provider Coinbase has received a virtual currency and money transmitter license — commonly known as a BitLicense — from the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Commerce Bank reinvents its 32-year-old multi-account card
Achieving the coveted “top of wallet” status is tough for banks, not least because their own credit and debit cards often compete with one another for priority status with the same customers. Some banks have addressed this dilemma with multi-account cards or push-button cards that can operate in credit or debit mode, but both approaches have faced limitations.