5.19.17: Your morning briefing

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Welcome to the PaymentsSource Morning Briefing, delivered daily. The information you need to start your day, including top headlines from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Alibaba's spree: Ant Financial's ready to buy as it looks to become a global player, but it's still staying local. Alibaba, Ant's parent company, has provided seed funding for Qupital, a Hong Kong-based invoice discount exchange, according to Finextra. Qupital tries to address a financial gap among small to medium sized business by allowing clients to convert account receivables into cash, adding liquidity to to the small-business market. Ant estimates the financial gap is about $200 billion, while the total accounts receivable market is worth about $ 3 trillion. Ant hopes to extend its reach among small businesses as part of the investment. Alibaba's also taken a large stake in Indian payment company Paytm as part of an expansion into Canada; and Ant's planned acquisition of MoneyGram took a big step this week as the U.S. transfer company's shareholders approved Ant's bid.
Patreon finds its groove: The Stripe-powered artist crowdfunding site Patreon is starting to grow quickly, according to TechCrunch, which reports the company has doubled the number of paying users to 1 million and its creators to 50,000 in the past year. The site is on track to pay out $150 million to creators in 2017, which would make its 5% cut $7.5 million. Musicians, writers, game programmers and other artists use Patreon to directly collect funds from fans of their work. TechCrunch attributes Patreon's fast growth to the struggles of other services, such as YouTube, which TechCrunch reports has struggled to funnel money to creators after allowing advertisers to filter certain channels. Snapchat doesn't offer direct monetization to creators, and Vine has closed operations. The rates for Patreon are better, where creators make up to 10,000 times more per fan than on ads. The creators can also offer premium access to fans who pay more.

A bad look: Cosmetics company Tatcha has been hacked by crooks who harvested card details from incoming orders, according to The Register, which reports the breach occurred in January and was originally discovered in April. The U.S. division of the Japan-based Tatcha reports the card numbers did not come from its databases, which do not store card information, but from the company's order page. The company did not report full details, but the attack is consistent with a compromise of its retail site, according to the British newspaper. It's a similar attack to incidents at other retailers over the past several years, usually involving malware or some other server infection. Tatcha did not report the total number of customers exposed in the attack, but it has sent a notification to the California Attorney General reporting that at least 500 residents of the state were impacted.

His brother's voice is his password: Payment companies are adding voice recognition to enhance identity security, using vocal patterns to thwart crime while maintaining a smooth user experience. But the technology has its limits: A BBC reporter and his twin fooled HSBC's voice recognition software. Joe Simmons mimicked his brother Dan's voice to access the reporter's account. By using the phrase "my voice is my password," consumers are able to access accounts, and HSBC checks more than 100 behavioral and vocal traits, the size and shape of the user's mouth, how fast the user speaks and how the speaker emphasises certain words. HSBC told the BBC it would increase the sensitivity of the voice software. Elsewhere in the payments market, voice recognition is considered an extra step in addition to fingerprint authentication and other factors.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

SpeedETab Receives Majority Stake Investment From Paymentez
SpeedETab, the leader in mobile ordering, mobile payments, and analytics for the foodservice industry, has received a majority stake investment from Paymentez, the top payments platform for digital goods and mobile ordering in Latin America. Under terms, SpeedETab will implement...

Identifying Mobile Shoppers A Top Priority For 70% Of Retailers
MediaPost • Chuck Martin
Retailers are increasingly looking to personalize shopping experiences by tapping into mobile technology to help them identify their customers -- a top priority for 70% of retailers, according to a new study by BRP Consulting.

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