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5.5.17: Your morning briefing

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:

Square's plastic: About a month after details first leaked, Square is enabling consumers to order a payment card that's linked Square Cash, according to ReCode. It's being positioned as a debit card, though it works more like a prepaid card linked to the value stored in users' Square Cash accounts. ReCode suggests the appeal could be to Square customers who want to spend money on the same day it's transferred to their Square Cash account, since the company charges a 1% fee to instantly deposit Square Cash funds to bank accounts. Square has gradually distanced itself from consumer products over the past couple of years as it has focused more on using its core mobile point of sale hardware as a launch to deeper merchant acquiring options; Square Cash is an exception. A consumer card would give Square another product to attract consumers from the Venmo demographic, and provide another competitor to Apple, which is reportedly plotting a Venmo alternative as it also courts merchants.
Middle East, Africa become big markets for cards: Financial inclusion efforts in the Middle East and Africa are showing some signs of paying off. The number of cards in the two regions jumped 13% to 611 million in 2015 (the latest year available), according to RBR's Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts. The increase makes the Middle East and Africa the world's fastest growing region for payment cards, with Iran being the largest market. Israel, Morocco, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia are also major card markets, according to RBR. Visa and Mastercard make up the largest share of the local card markets outside of Iran, which has a domestic-only card market. The card market is expected to reach 910 million by the end of 2021, according to RBR.

Investors back AI for fraud fight: Artificial intelligence is playing a larger role in combating e-commerce fraud, a trend that's attracting technology investors. Signifyd, which applies machine learning to payments fraud prevention, just closed a $56 million investment led by Bain Capital Ventures, Menlo Ventures and American Express. The company, which guarantees its fraud assessments, has attracted e-commerce clients including, and merchants such as Peet's Coffee and Lacoste. TechCrunch reports Signifyd will use the funds to double their engineering headcount and bolster the company's artificial intelligence technology, which uses pattern recognition to proactively warn about fraud. The company also hopes to expand internationally with a focus on Europe and Australia.

U.K. threatens Cardtronics' acquisition: Fresh off of pressuring Mastercard to open British ATMs as part of the card network's VocaLink purchase, U.K. regulators are now turning their attention to Cardtronics' pending $460 million acquisition of DirectCash Payments. The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority is investigating Cardtronics' deal, contending the combination of Cardtronics and DirectCash's ATMs could hinder competition, particularly in supermarkets, convenience stores and bars, according to Finextra. The regulator, which has referred the deal to a "phase two" investigation unless Cardtronics changes some of its deal terms, expressed concern that the merger could lead to an increase in surcharge fees because of the lack of ATM competition.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Uber is under criminal investigation for building software to avoid regulators
The Verge • Nick Statt
Uber is facing a criminal probe from the US Justice Department over a piece of software it used to evade law enforcement and transportation regulators, according to Reuters. The program, known internally at Uber as “Greyball,” was first disclosed by a March...

Starbucks Releases iMessage Gifting App For You To Caffeinate Your Friends In Thread
Forbes • Contributor, Curtis Silver
Starbucks has rolled out Starbucks Gifts to iMessage users, so now you can send gift cards right in the middle of a conversation.

FinTech In Africa is much more than just mobile money and remittances
The Next Web • Marcello Schermer
The African continent faces challenges in the financial technology space that are diagonally opposite to the situation in the western world. With nearly 80% of adults in Africa not having access to formal or semi-formal banking services, the majority of the continent...

More from PaymentsSource

How Denmark's banks, merchants set aside differences in mobile payments
Failures tend to outnumber success stories when banks and merchants have tried cooperating on a single, interoperable mobile wallet, but Denmark may be pulling it off.

PayNearMe cash payment network expands with CVS
CVS Pharmacy is the latest retailer to join PayNearMe’s network for walk-in bill payment, expanding the service’s geographic reach by about 40%, to 28,000 U.S. stores.

Amazon Cash requires retailers to address cart abandonment now
For those of a certain age, pulling out plastic at checkout might be second nature. Credit cards, however, are quickly falling out of favor among younger shoppers, specifically millennials.

Visa to upgrade issuers’ card-on-file tools for IoT
Visa has announced plans to enhance its Visa Token Service with new services to control how tokenized card information is stored on file for third-party use cases like the Internet of Things, with the tools launching next year in the U.S. and Australia.

Jack Henry expands card processing through First Data, PSCU
Financial services provider Jack Henry & Associates has expanded its credit and debit card processing platform to clients through an agreement with payments technology provider First Data and PSCU.

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