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Barclays cards draw a bad hand: Barclays suffered a digital breakdown that left consumers unable to use ATMs or make card payments in stores. The U.K. bank reported it was investigating the problem and was in the process of fixing the issue, though the BBC reported the fixes were staggered, resulting in some consumers having difficulty making payments and accessing cash for several days until early this week. Barclays has about 15 million cardholders in the U.K., though the bank said the glitch did not affect all of its customers. The more recent glitch comes a few months after another issue resulted in some consumers being charged twice for Barclaycard payments.

Barclays sign
Bloomberg News

A competitor for PayPal and Square's merchant lending: Extending small amounts of credit to retailers has proven to be a popular merchant service for PayPal and Square, which use their ability to accumulate vast amounts of transaction data to make quick decisions and to collect debts. Allentown, Pa.-based Harbortouch is joining the market through a partnership with Strategic Funding Source. The two companies will collaborate to extend business loans, generally more than $10,000 in working capital, and will use their existing relationships and data to enable funding and automated repayment features. Two two companies enjoy substantial scale. Harbortouch has served more than 300,000 merchants in the U.S. and processes about $12 billion in annual payments, while SFS has provided financing to "thousands" of businesses, with credit totalling "tens of millions of dollars," according to a release.

Some good news on fraud: Most of the news about fraud is about how it's getting worse, or larger, or more sophisticated. But there are some parts of the market where it's in decline. Debit card losses due to card skimming are down for the seventh year in a row in Canada, according to Interac, Canada's national debit network. The organization reported skimming losses of $11.4 million, a record low, and noted only $1.5 million of that fraud was in Canada. Of the $351 billion sent across the network in 2016, only 0.003% of that value was fraudulent, Interac reported. It's a victory for EMV, as Interac says the very low in-country skimming is due to the maturity of chip cards. Canada's migration began in 2008 and EMV cards and merchants are nearly saturated in Canada. Despite that, Canadians are still afraid of skimming. Interac reports 75% of Canadians are worried about skimming, and a third of consumers have used debit cards less due to the concern.

Signs of life for the 'Pays': Contactless payments from a mobile device are still a small portion of payments in the U.K., but it's starting to take off fast. Citing research from Worldpay, Finextra reports mobile contactless payments reached 38 million in 2016, or 247% year over year growth, with December being the busiest month for NFC payments. Worldpay also reports contactless payments now account for 28% of all non-cash transactions in the U.K. The research firm attributes the expansion to the introduction of Android Pay to the U.K., the growth of Apple Pay, and the role of marketing. Lunchtime "meal deal" hotspots, including supermarkets, grocery stores and other food businesses, accounted for more than 54% of all mobile tap and pay transactions in 2016, while bars, pubs and restaurants made up 20%.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Mobile payments company Fortumo now makes it easier for merchants and carriers to bundle offers
Venture Beat • Paul Sawers
Carrier billing company Fortumo has launched a new platform designed to make it easier for merchants and mobile carriers to form “bundling” partnerships.

India's prime minister wants everyone to tell their friends about this app
Mashable • Manish Singh
After creating a cash vacuum in the country, India's prime minister wants citizens to give digital payment solutions a try.

Daily Energy Payments Powering Digital Finance in Ghana
CGAP • Daniel Waldron, Michiel Wolvers
Much has been written about the potential of pay-as-you-go solar to advance financial inclusion while expanding access to energy among the poor.

More from PaymentsSource

Airlines that ignore digital commerce could get grounded
With 90% of airline travelers looking to use their mobile devices pre-, during and post-trip for activities that involve flight searches, booking, updates and boarding passes, airlines must be prepared for on-the-go passengers of they hope to capitalize on the a huge market.

Will social payments succeed if banks provide the tech?
As social media platforms scale back their underperforming payment integrations, Israeli startup PayKey is gearing up for the next wave of innovation — with banks as its ally.

Placing a bet on the (in)security of the Internet of Things
No one knows exactly what the Internet of Things will look like in five years, but forecasters predict more than 20 billion devices will be connected, and Trustonic is sure fraudsters will come along for the ride.

Fime will test Amex ExpressPay Host Card Emulation apps
Fime has received accreditation from American Express Co. for its cloud-based payment testing services to validate Amex mobile payments leveraging Host Card Emulation (HCE) apps.