Zelle's new take on P-to-P: This morning the bank owned P-to-P network, Zelle, is formally going live, enabling direct transfers of funds across thirty U.S. financial institutions over the course of the next twelve months. There are a lot of questions around whether it can compete with the current kings of P-to-P — Venmo and its parent company PayPal — but Zelle (formerly clearXchange) may not be aiming to take them head-on just yet. Venmo's sweet spot is millennials, but banks have a wider addressable audience. By unifying their branding and interface across multiple mobile banking apps, the Zelle banks hope to provide the same consistency that rival P-to-P providers do.

Stack of Visa cards
Bloomberg News

Visa's stickiest product: If mobile and wearable payments aren't your thing, Visa has another option for you: An adhesive NFC Visa logo that can be stuck to the back of your hand. Though it may seem odd as a fashion statement, the Visa sticker was "a huge improvement over the [NFC] ring" that Visa demonstrated at the Rio Olympics, according to an Engadget reporter who tried both. The sticker, which has no set launch date, was less "finicky" about positioning than the ring, and the writer noted that it was almost too easy to make purchases with the sticker, which didn't have any obvious method of authentication after enrollment. The technology itself is nothing new; a company called VivaLnk marketed similar stickers as NFC "tattoos" back in 2014, and Mastercard even considered an implantable payment chip a decade earlier.

Microsoft goes bargain hunting: Cortana, the digital assistant built into Windows 10, wants to go shopping. Microsoft is in the process of rolling out a new system that alerts users of Cortana and the Microsoft Edge web browser of bargains whenever they shop online. At compatible e-commerce sites, Cortana will pop up a notification on a product's page to alert the user that other sellers might have a better price, Microsoft explains in a blog post. The feature is live on 14 U.S. retailer websites including Amazon, Walmart and eBay.

Apple's tipping point: Apple has previously cracked down on apps that accepted unofficial tips, particularly if it saw the feature as a way to sidestep the 30% cut Apple takes on in-app sales; but the next latest release of iOS may change that, TechCrunch reports. The change addresses a trend in China where live-streaming video apps encourage viewers to tip their favorite vloggers. However, the official in-app tipping feature may not be a welcome change to creators who previously did not have to share a cut of their tips with Apple, the article notes.

Crime doesn't click: Typically, malware relies on users to click an infected link before it can compromise their machines. A new variant, however, uses the Windows Powershell tool to infect users who simply hover their cursor over a link in a PowerPoint slide, Ars Technica reports. PowerPoint's "protected view" feature may provide some cushion by popping up a warning, but protected view doesn't vet links when slides are being printed or edited, the article notes. Scams that use this method typically try to disguise the malicious PowerPoint file as an invoice or purchase order, attaching it to an email that urges the recipient to review the document's contents, Ars Technica reports.

From the Web

Competing ‘Invisible’ Payment Systems to Keep Market Unsettled
The Wall Street Journal | Fri Jun 9, 2017 - Retailers, technology companies, and credit-card processors are working toward “invisible payments” that use IT to eliminate many – eventually, perhaps all – of the physical financial steps in buying goods and services. But the market is in the early stages of adoption and it will be highly fractured for years to come.

Alibaba wants to be more than the Amazon of China
Yahoo Finance | Sat Jun 10, 2017 - Imagine a website where you can buy not only products like clothing and electronics but also discount tickets for the Empire State building and services like house cleaning and proofreading. And like other major online retailers, you can expect cheap delivery within two days, even on weekends. That’s what Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma wants you to do. And he’s already getting people to do it. In the 12 months ending in March, Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces reached 454 million active buyers and saw $547 billion in gross merchandise volume. Alibaba recognized $23 billion in revenue during that period.

Target and Cartwheel apps to merge starting this summer, mobile payments and improved maps to follow
TechCrunch | Fri Jun 9, 2017 - Target’s mobile app strategy will undergo a significant change, starting this summer. The retailer announced this week it will soon combine the functionality of its Cartwheel savings app with its main shopping app, in preparation for an eventual Cartwheel shutdown. The Target app will also receive a notable upgrade this year, adding support for an indoor map that shows your location in the store, along with the nearby Cartwheel deals, in addition to support for mobile payments.

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Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe is editor in chief at PaymentsSource and a contributing editor at American Banker.