3.15.18 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Walmart vs. Amazon
In the arms race between Walmart and Amazon to reinvent grocery shopping, Walmart is expanding its own delivery service to reach more than 100 cities by the end of this year, Ars Technica reports.

The move will also expand Walmart's workforce as it beefs up its personal shopping and delivery services, the article states. Amazon, by comparison, reportedly plans to open six more cashierless Amazon Go locations this year, complementing its Whole Foods grocery stores.

Almost a bank account
The startup Revolut is adding direct debits in Europe, giving its digital wallet more features one would associate with a traditional bank account, TechCrunch reports.

Before adding direct debits, Revolut users had to use an attached Mastercard to make payments. The startup has 1.5 million customers and has been steadily adding services to bring it on par with bank accounts, and is also applying for a banking license, the article notes.

An idea for Alexa payments
Amazon's Alexa assistant is many things, but is it trustworthy enough to handle its users' money?

The biometric software company Daon has created software that allows Alexa devices to make P-to-P payments, Cnet reports. In practice, this process requires users to activate the Daon skill by voice, then provide a second factor of authentication such as through a mobile app.

Ultimately, Daon hopes Amazon lets its software use voice biometrics for authentication, a Daon software engineer told Cnet.

Easy come, easy go
A calendar app maker recently tested the idea that users could mine cryptocurrency in lieu of payment. The app maker voluntarily switched off the feature due to its power consumption — and now Apple has fully removed the app's listing from its Mac app store.

The reasoning was the same; Apple objected to the app's excessive use of power and resources, 9to5mac reports.

So how did the app perform? In the three days it allowed crypto mining, the calendar app earned about $2,000 worth of the Monero currency.

From the Web
Citigroup says 'malicious actor' tried to hack credit cards tied to the Defense Department
CNBC | Wed Mar 14, 2018 - Citigroup said a "malicious actor" attempted to gain access to several Citi credit card accounts tied to the Department of Defense. The bank responded to CNBC's inquiry regarding an attempted credit card hack this past weekend.

Nordic Capital buys Swedish online banking payments firm Trustly
Reuters | Thu Mar 15, 2018 - Private equity firm Nordic Capital said on Wednesday it was buying online banking payments provider Trustly, the latest in a string of deals in the fast-growing fintech sector. Payments companies have become attractive targets for buyout groups and credit card firms seeking to take advantage of a switch from cash transactions to smartphone or mobile payments.

Playboy Jumps on the Cryptocurrency Bandwagon
Fortune | Wed Mar 14, 2018 - Playboy has a long history of leading the adult entertainment industry in new directions. Now, it’s leading the charge into cryptocurrencies. Playboy Enterprises announced Wednesday it was developing an online payment wallet that will support several crypto payment types, beginning with the Vice Industry token.

More from PaymentsSource
Netspend's new boss adapts as mobile encroaches on prepaid
For all the hype around prepaid, Netspend's new president, Kelley Knutson, is convinced that there won't be much talk about the "prepaid industry" in another 10 years.

Data: How destructive are data breaches?
While there is a collective sense that data breaches are simply a side effect of our digital existence, there are real costs for the companies impacted. The ones that are hit the hardest are the ones that are least able to weather the fines, remediation costs and lost reputation.

Can alternative credit reach an untapped $4.5 trillion B-to-B market?
Small-business payments are an inefficient mess of unpaid invoices and paper processes that are causing substantial funds to languish and companies to stagnate. One possible solution is to address the cash flow, not the payment mechanism itself.

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