6.15.17: 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:

Safety first, payments second: Facebook's Safety Check feature is meant to let users alert their social network that they are safe during a time of crisis, such as a widely reported natural disaster or terrorist attack. But it can also be used as a fundraising tool, via a new feature Facebook announced. The option lets people donate to or start a fundraiser tied to the cause on Safety Check, such as to help a friend rebuild his or her home after it was destroyed in a flood. The system ties into Facebook's existing fundraising platform, which lets users donate to a cause without leaving the Facebook site.

Canada to allow surcharging: Canadian merchants have reached a settlement with Visa and Mastercard that will allow them to assess surcharges on credit card purchases to counteract the interchange fees they pay for such sales, The Canadian Press reports. The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed back in 2011, taking aim at the card networks' prohibition on surcharging. As part of the settlement, Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay $19.5 million each, the article states. The surcharge permissions will take effect a year and a half after the settlement is approved by courts, according to Visa, and there will be a cap on surcharging. Merchants have taken issue with surcharge bans across the world, including in the U.S.

Dash from the past: Amazon's Dash buttons — small WiFi buttons that allow people to reorder specific products around the house — weren't the first form factor for Amazon's Dash concept. The original Dash was a handheld baton that could scan bar codes and use voice commands to reorder kitchen supplies and toiletries. And it's making a comeback, according to The Verge. The new Dash Wand has the same functionality as the 2014 version, plus it adds Alexa access and a streamlined checkout process, The Verge reports. The new version is also essentially free to Amazon Prime subscribers, who get a $20 credit after activating the $20 Dash wand. The new wand is also meant to promote Amazon's aggressively expanding grocery service by providing a 90 day trial to Dash users.

Smarter chatbots: Chatbots are already finding uses in payments and commerce, but they could be doing more. Researchers from Facebook's FAIR lab have found a way to turn chatbots into negotiators, The Verge reports. The research is just a proof of concept at this point, but the goal is to allow a bot to negotiate on behalf of the end user, the article states. This means the bots could also deceive the person it is negotiating with: "For example, they found that a good strategy was to aggressively pursue an item they didn’t care about, only to concede at the last minute and appear to compromise," The Verge reports. That said, the results weren't consistently superior to the haggling a human being could do, according to the article.

From the Web

Goldman-backed startup Circle launches no-fee foreign payments service
Reuters | Thu Jun 15, 2017 – Blockchain-based payments startup Circle Internet Financial on Thursday launched an international online money transfer service that allows people in the United States and Europe to send money to each other instantly and at no cost as it seeks to tear down borders in the payments world. The new service is part of a push by the "fintech" - or financial technology - sector to compete with established financial institutions, by using digital technologies to offer cheaper and more user-friendly services, often via smartphones.

Ant Financial to allow financial virtual shops via app
China Daily | Wed Jun 14, 2017 - Ant Financial Services Group announced today it will allow third-party financial institutions to set up virtual shops through an indigenous app, another push to vie for supremacy in the country's burgeoning online financial sector. Banks, securities firms and mutual funds now can publish content and sell their own financial products in a newly unveiled function, the "Fortune Account", via Ant Fortune, the wealth management app of Ant, according to company's Senior Vice-President Fan Zhiming.

India’s MobiKwik is raising new funding at $1B valuation to battle payment rival Paytm
TechCrunch | Thu Jun 15, 2017 – With high-profile investments from Alibaba and SoftBank fueling an impressive growth story since demonetization last year, you could be forgiven for thinking that Paytm has India’s payments market sewn up. But at least one company will agree to differ on that. MobiKwik, the mobile payments startup that is number two to Paytm in India, is quietly confident that it can take advantage of its rival’s focus on e-commerce and recent entry to banking to even the playing field. To strengthen its case, MobiKwik, which is solely focused on payments, is in the process raising its largest financing from investors to date.

The Chinese Mobile Payment Market: Is WeChat Dominating Alipay?
Huffington Post | Wed Jun 14, 2017 - According to market research firm Analysys, in Q1 2017 Alipay enjoyed approximately 54% share of mobile transaction value while WeChat Pay took 40% share. Average Alipay transaction values are higher than WeChat Pay transactions, so if you are just counting number of digital transactions, it is pretty much even at this point.

More from PaymentsSource

Amazon's debit rewards could shock the payments industry
A deeper dive into the workings of the Amazon Prime Reload program should give the card payments industry serious cause for concern.

Pakistan’s new mobile money app aims to modernize financial inclusion
The global push to expand financial inclusion takes many paths, based on the challenges—and unique market advantages—in countries where vast portions of the population lack access to modern banking services.

Payment fraud prevention can mitigate an economic dip
There are signs the economic cycle is at its peak, which could hurt card portfolios going forward. Improved security could help, writes Madeline Aufseeser, CEO of Tender Armor.

Consumers want to ditch passwords, but biometrics isn’t a slam-dunk: Report
Consumer frustration with passwords is nearing a peak, with average users currently registered via password to more than 90 online accounts, and one in four consumers forgetting at least one password daily, according to a new study from Mastercard.

WEX, GasBuddy to share data for new consumer payments app
Corporate fleet card giant WEX is getting into the consumer market for the first time through a partnership with GasBuddy, an app that helps drivers find the nearest gas station with current fuel prices.

Nets targets fast-growing clickbait fraud with service for Nordic banks
Copenhagen-based digital payments specialist Nets is rolling out a service in the Nordic region to screen against fraudulent transactions online, with a particular focus on “clickbait fraud” that aims to entice consumers to unknowingly authorize recurring payments in exchange for nothing.

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