The information you need to start your day, including top headlines from PaymentsSource and around the Web. In today's briefing:

Walgreens tests appetite for beacons: Walgreens is making bluetooth beacons a major part of its marketing program, but whether consumers will embrace the technology remains to be seen, reports Business Insider, which says the drug store chain has increased beacon-triggered mobile coupons and rewards in its latest mobile app update. As to whether consumers will bite, Walgreens has some benefits going for it: consumer packaged goods are considered a prime target for beacon usage, Business Insider reports, adding these products are generally cheap and are purchased frequently. That gives the opportunity to gather lots of data on shopping habits, enhancing the marketing pitches. But there are concerns. 30% of U.S. shoppers who have not tried in-store tracking and push notifications say they will never do so, Business Insider reports, citing numbers from Walker Sands. And beacons require lots of technology embedded in the smartphone to work--Business Insider estimates only about 17% of smartphones have the required features.

Artificial travel intel: Payment professionals are still getting a handle on how artificial intelligence can improve their business, but virtual assistant startup Mezi has found the technology can vastly aid the transactional part of travel booking. The company has redesigned its app, and enables users to book flights, hotels and restaurant reservations. TechCrunch reports the company has built its own natural language processing system that allows users to set up their payment and personal information one time, while the Mezi app uses that person's preferences to set up travel itinerary choices by asking some basis questions in a chatbot. Once the user confirms the itinerary, the booking and payments are executed automatically.

'Fintech' definition's changing: The fintech phenomenon is not just about payments, transfers and lending; it is increasingly focused on a broad menu that spins these products off of each other, according to Finextra, which cites an analysis from McKinsey. The primary focus of developers and technology startups thus far has been to improve or disrupt how payment technology is delivered--making it faster or safer; or speeding lending applications; or making it easier to conduct money transfers. The stress on payment technology companies and banks to make the payment a nearly 'invisible' part of a broader service set has been around for a while and has contributed to a startup and VC wave. And as the trend accelerates, it should lead to a period of consolidation as technology companies merge to satisfy the broader demand of merchants and banks, according to the McKinsey analysis.

Brexit causes VC slump: Finextra also reports a huge dip in fintech investment linked to this past summer's Brexit vote. There was a 26% drop in funding for British startups in the third quarter while overall global investment for financial technology increased 27% to $15.2 billion, according to Innovate Finance. The U.K. volume for the third quarter, about $532 million, is about half of the 2015 volume of $1.1 billion. And eight of the 20 U.K. investments that closed after the Brexit vote, were follow-on investment rounds on existing companies. Commenting to the technology wire, Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, said, “While the U.K. still attracted a high number of deals for fintech there’s been a significant drop in investment year on year to Q3 2016.”

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Tieto rolls out Siirto, a new platform for mobile payments
The Paypers
Automatia and Tieto have announced the launch of Finland’s multi-banking platform for mobile payments, named Siirto.

Finland launches first real-time mobile payments platform
Mobile Payments World • Alex Rolfe
Automatia says it has launched Finland’s first real-time mobile payments platform based on a multi-banking platform, named Siirto. Tieto has designed and implemented the service. Siirto is an open payment platform which follows the new regulations set by EU’s Payment Service Directive.

Mobile payments to become ‘de-facto payment mode’ in India after banknote change
NFC World+ • Rian Boden
Mobile payment transaction volume in India is expected to grow more than 90% each year over the next five years, with digital payments becoming the “de-facto payment mode” in the country, in the wake of... Read the rest of Mobile payments to...

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