3.16.18 Your morning briefing

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

Reinventing ride-sharing
Uber and Lyft can attribute much of their success to making the payment an invisible part of hailing a ride. Now Lyft is going a step further by selling monthly subscription ride packages.

The service, which is in testing with users who spend at least $450 a month on individual rides, packages 30 or 60 rides for $199 to $399 a month, depending on the user, The Verge reports. Each ride should come in under $15 to qualify for the package pricing.

Lyft tells The Verge it has been testing this pricing for several months; Uber tested a similar model in 2016, but that seems to have never made it to a full rollout.

Walmart whistleblower
Walmart is aggressively expanding its online and grocery businesses to compete against Amazon, and one former employee claims in a lawsuit that Walmart went too far.

Tri Huynh, a former director of business development at Walmart, claims he was terminated for calling out unethical business practices to grow the e-commerce business, Bloomberg reports. These include mislabeling products to lower commissions, failing to process customer returns and listing offensive items for sale, Huynh contends.

“Wal-Mart sacrificed and betrayed its founder’s key principles of integrity and honesty, pushing those core values aside in its rush to win the e-commerce war at all costs,” Huynh said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Connected cars in 2020
Connected vehicles invite many new ideas for in-car commerce, such as cars that can prepay for fuel or parking. But before any of that can happen, there needs to be enough internet-connected cars on the road to support these use cases.

Ford has set a deadline of 2020 for its new vehicles to all come equipped with 4G LTE connectivity, Engadget reports. The stated goal is to reduce distracted driving by allowing the vehicle to handle functions that might normally be handled by a smartphone.

Wear today, gone tomorrow
Google is scrapping its Android Wear smartwatch platform in favor of the new Wear OS. Under the new branding, Google plans to market the platform to iPhone users as well as Android owners.

Google did not say what this means for its mobile payment platform, which it also recently rebranded as Google Pay. It's possible these two rebrandings could intersect when Google hosts its developers conference in May.

Android Wear was never big in mobile payments; unlike the Apple Watch, most Android Wear watches did not include NFC for mobile payments. A few companies, like LevelUp and Eat24, had software-based payment capabilities.

From the Web
Huge UK tech exit as Experian acquires 2-year-old credit checking startup ClearScore for £275 million
Business Insider | Thu Mar 15, 2018 - Credit checking company Experian plans to acquire UK credit startup ClearScore for £275 million ($385 million) in one of the biggest UK tech deals in years. Experian announced plans to acquire to two-year-old London startup on Thursday. Experian CEO Brian Cassin said the deal was part of his company's "strategy to extend the services we provide to UK consumers."

Queen City Fintech set to launch eighth accelerator class with startups from around the globe
Charlotte Business Journal | Thu Mar 15, 2018 - Queen City Fintech, the Charlotte-based accelerator for financial-technology startups, is set to launch its Class 8 program in fewer than two weeks. Starting March 26, 10 startup companies will descend on Packard Place for a 12-week course "designed to mature post-revenue startups through intense mentorship from leading banking executives, business development professionals, venture capitalists and attorneys," a press release says.

Exclusive: PayPal shuts third BDS French account in 2018
The Jerusalem Post | Thu Mar 15, 2018 - PayPal has closed the account of French BDS organization Collectif 69 Palestine, the third boycott-Israel account the US online payment service has terminated in France since late January. The Jerusalem Post sent a query to a PayPal representative on Monday and was told that PayPal opened an investigation into the account of Collectif 69 Palestine.

More from PaymentsSource
How one retailer fights goliaths like Amazon by minimizing payment costs
It's hard to build an online marketplace when the same products can be found just as easily on Amazon and eBay. But Reverb has found success in fine-tuning the way it handles data and payments.

How merchants deal with cryptocurrency risk
Merchants that accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies need an increased focus on the ways that fraudsters might try to exploit them.

Long Blockchain—an iced tea company—buys a U.K. blockchain tech firm
Doubling down on its surprise pivot to blockchain technology, the former parent company of Long Island Iced Tea—now Long Blockchain Corp.—is buying a U.K. tech firm specializing in distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrency.

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