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V-shaped trend: Global financial technology fell in 2016 due to factors such as political uncertainty and price inflation, but is expected to rebound in 2017 as a variety of factors come together, according to KPMG. Total financial technology investments fell to $25 billion in 2016 from $47 billion in 2015. That's nearly a 50% drop, with U.S. funding dipping to $12.8 billion from $27 billion and Europe falling to $2.2 billion from $11 billion. In the U.K., which was stung by the Brexit vote, investments plummeted to $654 million from $4.6 billion. But the picture isn't one of gloom, reports KPMG, which says the growth of blockchain, artificial intelligence, "Internet of Things," and technology connected to compliance should drive a dramatic increase in fintech spending in the coming year. Valuations have also "corrected," which should drive more investing in the future, KPMG reports.

London at night
Getty Images

Visa bets on London: The KPMG report also expressed confidence that London would rebound as a technology hub, and one early sign of the city's technology sustainability is Visa's new innovation lab. Visa, which is focusing more on courting external development since opening its technology to third parties in 2016, will support application programming interfaces, software development kits and other tools to build apps at its new center. The hub, which joins other Visa innovation centers in Berlin, Dubai, Miami, San Francisco, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv, will have a theme of the "future of retail." At the hub's opening, Visa highlighted the expansion of its tokenized payment service in Europe, which is now live in more than two dozen countries and is on pace to reach another 12 by the end of 2017.

Europe will ease authentication rules: The European Banking Authority plans to remove some parts of authentication rules under the Payments Systems Directive (PSD2), reports Finextra. The U.K.-based technology wire reports the standards will be lightened to raise the threshold for extra authentication to about $45 for remote consumer transactions, though pending corporate payment rules will remain the same. Standards for other smaller payments such as parking meters, ticket kiosks and other unattended venues will also be eased in some circumstances. Card issuers have been grappling with how to manage the technology requirements of the pending standards, which go into effect in Jan. 2018. European regulators have reported companies have complained the mandate will result in more declined transactions and cart abandonment.

Gulf Pay: Gulf Oil has launched its own mobile payment app, called Gulf Pay. P97's PetroZone mobile commerce platform is powering the app, which allows consumers to navigate to the nearest Gulf station, pay at the pump and purchase products inside gas station stores. Consumers can also authorize payments from inside their vehicles. Gulf plans to offer the app alongside other mobile wallets, and has signed an agreement with Mastercard to enable Masterpass through Gulf Pay, taking advantage of an existing collaboration between P97 and Mastercard to support emerging gas station technology. The new Gulf service is launching in New England and New York in the first half of 2017, with plans to expand to other markets in 2018.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

M-Pesa: Kenya's mobile money success story turns 10
CNN • Kieron Monks
The M-Pesa mobile payment system was launched in Kenya in 2007. Today, as it faces new challenges, it has 30 million users in 10 countries and three continents.

The Mobile Revolution Is Just Beginning
Forbes • Contributor, Elad Natanson
What if the mobile revolution is just beginning? What if the next mobile revolution is all about real-world and context-driven experiences — individual needs that are taken care of through mobile, making our lives easier and more seamless?

Government considers cutting Merchant Discount Rate on card payments
The Economic Times of India
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Parliament earlier this month that the RBI is working to reduce the MDR for debit card transactions above Rs 2,000.

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India's Bharat QR rolls out, backed by payment card networks
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Prepaid Financial Services acquires Spectre Technologies
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