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Uber's Asian rival gets deeper into payments: A couple of months after launching its own app, Asian car sharing app Grab is acquiring more payment technology. VentureBeat reports Grab is buying online Indonesian payment company Kudo for $100 million. The acquisition, which should be formally announced within the next few days, will be funded from the $700 million Grab has dedicated to investing in Indonesia over the next four years. The three-year-old Kudo uses a network of local agents to power online and mobile payments for consumers who typically don't have bank accounts and live in mostly rural areas. Grab's existing wallet enables card payments and transactions from other funding sources, including third-party mobile wallets.

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Singapore moves closer to 'open digital payments': The Monetary Authority of Singapore has created a data analytics group, a key step toward an open digital society. TechinAsia reports the government unit will look for ways to improve automation, step up supervision of financial institutions and ease compliance for companies that access the payments ecosystem. David Roi Hardoon, a specialist in machine learning who co-founded the data analytics company Azendian Solutions, will lead the group. One of its first major projects will be setting up a money transfer system allowing people to use mobile numbers to make payments. Other initiatives include an e-trading platform for foreign exchange and a potential cross-industry 'Know Your Customer' system.

Polish government hack part of a wave: The large hack in Poland that started on a government server and impacted more than 20 institutions is part of a much larger network of criminal activity. PC World reports the attackers used compromised websites, or "watering holes," to install malware. The hackers are also behind a wave of attacks that have targeted more than 100 companies in nearly three dozen countries. Most of the victims are banks and other financial institutions, including 16 from the U.S., seven from the U.K. and six from Chile. The attacks also bear a resemblance to the Lazarus, an attack vector that is well known in technology circles and is believed to be behind other major attacks, including the infamous Sony attack several years ago.

Bot payments for Nigeria: While mobile money apps such as M-Pesa have made inroads in much of Africa over the past decade, Nigeria has proven to be a challenging market. TechCrunch reports Kudi, a Y Combinator-backed startup, has launched in Nigeria in an attempt to reach more remote areas. Kudi is a chatbot within Facebook Messenger that makes payments, purchases airtime and pays bills. Unlike most transfer services, Kudi does not charge transfer fees. Instead, it levies a fee of about $0.30 for bill payments. TechCrunch reports that service has transferred about $15,000 so far, with a week-over-week growth rate of 125%.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

How the credit card was born
Christian Science Monitor • Claire Tsosie
About 72 percent of Americans have a credit card, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. But where did the idea of the plastic money card come from?

Mobile Industry Predictions for 2017: Ten Years and counting
SAP Blogs • William Dudley
I published my first set of mobile predictions in January 2008. This is my tenth installment.

Banks Look to Cellphones to Replace A.T.M. Cards
The New York Times • Stacy Cowley
Major banks are unveiling teller machines across the country that customers can access with their phones. But the technology raises new security issues.

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