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Cardless ATMs: ATMs that support smartphones as replacements for cards have advanced at banks such as Bank of America, BMO Harris and Alma Bank, and are getting one the largest deployments yet at Wells Fargo. Engadget reports the bank is taking cardless ATMs out of trial and will make the technology available at all 13,000 of its U.S. ATMs by March 27. Users can withdraw cash via a smartphone by requesting an eight-digit code from the Wells Fargo app to key into the ATM, along with their PIN. The use is still limited. The code can only be used once and won't open branch doors for after-hours ATM withdrawals. In that case, plastic cards will still be required. The bank plans to update its ATM technology later this year to forgo the eight-digit code, enabling the smartphone to be held near a reader to withdraw money.
API billionaires: The Collison brothers, Patrick and John, are among the youngest members of Forbes self-made billionaires list, joining for the first time in 2017, and John at age 26 is this year's youngest member. The brothers, who each have an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion, are cofounders of Stripe, a seven-year-old company that provides a toolkit for businesses to add online and mobile payments. Stripe's valuation nearly doubled in 2016 to more than $9 billion, contributing to the Collisons' wealth. Stripe has become a major provider of payment services to both small businesses and social networks and is currently plotting an international expansion that includes Singapore and Cuba. In the overall Forbes list, Bill Gates is the world's richest person with an estimated fortune of $86 billion.
Check 21 returns: Despite all of the focus on digital, paper checks aren't on their way to the museum. As a result, the U.K. is taking steps to shorten processing times. Finextra reports the British government is scheduled to introduce an image-based clearing system in October that will reduce processing to one day from six, and allow interbank mobile check deposits. The British technology wire reports 477 million checks were written in the U.K. in 2016, so there's still demand for check processing improvements beyond incentives to get laggards to adopt digital payments. The U.K. has tried to introduce imaging in the past, but the efforts stalled because of opposition form charities and consumer groups that still relied on checks for donations. Mobile technology has become more widespread since, boosting the expectation of faster payments, and the political environment has improved, leading to new legislation to empower the initiative. A limited number of banks will go live in October with full rollout expected by 2018.
Chip bubble?: Processors and terminal makers have counted on the EMV migration in the U.S. to bolster earnings for the past few years, and there's signs that may be fading. Reuters reports Dutch digital security company Gemalto, which has a substantial market presence in the U.S., lost more than 23% of its market value after it reported the slow sale of EMV-related components would cause it to miss its earnings estimate for 2017. Gemalto told investors its 2017 earnings would be in line with 2016's, which included a profit of just under $500 million. That would be 10% lower than Gemalto's initial estimate for 2017. Reuters noted CPI Card, a U.S.-based rival to Gemalto, also reported weak EMV-related sales earlier this year. As the chip card acceptance in the U.S. matures, technology experts have called on merchants to focus on other forms of innovation beyond EMV, a further signal that the market for chip cards and terminals isn't as lucrative as it used to be.
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