12.16.16: Your morning briefing

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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:

Citi's stake in FX blockchain: The potential of blockchain to wring inefficiencies such as currency conversion out of cross border transactions is a threat to long-standing revenue for banks, and Citi is investing in the emerging space. Reuters reports the bank has invested an undisclosed amount in Cobalt, a blockchain startup that applies distributed ledger technology to the foreign exchange market. Like other blockchain companies, Cobalt creates a single record for all parties, reducing the need for multiple records of transactions, counterparties and reconciliations. The removal of these third parties can reduce fees and cut processing time substantially, in some cases by several days.
A merchant win for fast EMV: In an effort to cut down on checkout lines that are spiking during the holiday rush, Brookstone has added Visa's Quick Chip, the card network's solution to make chip card transactions faster for the customer. The retailer, which is located mostly in airports and malls, partnered with Aurus, a payment technology company, to deploy Quick Chip, according to a press release from Visa. Quick Chip transactions, and the similar M/Chip Fast from Mastercard, release the EMV card in about three seconds as opposed to most EMV payments, which take about eight seconds. It's a relatively rare win for one of the options, as most merchants have not adopted the faster EMV alternatives.

Postmates gift card: On demand delivery company Postmates is getting in on the digital gift card trend, offering cards in increments of $25, $50, $100 and $200, the company announced on its website. The cards have customized designs and can be used for any purchase through Postmates, which offers delivery for restaurants and apparel stores, and has a volume that's approaching 2 million per month. Other companies in the app economy are increasingly turning to gift cards to expand their base beyond core users, including Lyft, which is partnering with Starbucks; and Uber, which offers the gift cards for rides and deliveries through its UberEats service.

U.K.'s handbook for payments: Payment companies that are entering the U.K. market face myriad changes, from new regulations to faster payment initiatives. The U.K.'s interbank Payment System Operators (PSOs) believe there's enough change to warrant formal guidance, and have published An Introduction to the U.K.'s Interbank Payment Schemes. Available on the websites of PSO members--Payment Schemes Limited, CHAPS, Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, Faster Payments and LINK--the guide is an overview of the schemes, what each one does and how they can be accessed by payment service providers. The guide is particularly aimed toward startups, challenger banks and fintechs that are increasingly being recruited by other European countries to flee London.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Japanese iPhone 7 Plus ad ‘Race’ shows off newly launched Apple Pay feature
9to5Mac • Zac Hall
Apple has released a new iPhone 7 ad called “Race” made exclusively for Japan. The new 30-second spot features the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus and a very fast-paced run between two men through a busy part of town. The ad concludes...

6 Reasons EMV Pain Will Be Mobile Payment's Gain
MediaPost • Maeve Duska
As EMV chips cards terminals are adopted by more retailers, consumers are faced with a choice to either jump in and embrace the dip, or jump over EMV completely in favor of mobile payments, like Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Airtel Payment bank service goes live in Karnataka
The Economic Times of India • Nilesh Christopher
Payment bank services are special licences issued by the RBI with the objective of financial inclusion.

More from PaymentsSource

Walmart's latest bid for the underbanked: A virtual prepaid 'vault'
Issuers of prepaid cards often say their products are a good tool for budgeting, but it's rarer to hear merchants market their own branded prepaid cards this way.

Airports send a clear signal to Bluetooth beacons
Bluetooth beacons, which communicate with consumers' apps as they enter and leave stores, have been bouncing around the retail industry for a few years looking for the right combination of foot traffic, product and customer experience.

PayThink Account takeover is EMV's 'silent' risk
I don't think anyone anticipated the amount of account takeover (ATO) and new account fraud (often referred to as application fraud) that would occur in the wake of the EMV changeover.

Musician Pharrell Williams goes Platinum for Amex
American Express Co. hopes to add star power to its high-end Platinum credit card by bringing musician and style icon Pharrell Williams in as the brand’s first-ever creative director, as competition in the luxury credit card segment intensifies.

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