6.16.17: 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:

Sandwich fixing: Subway is hoping to beef up its sandwich sales by overhauling its technology at the point of sale. It's already one of only three fast-food chains to adopt Masterpass, and its next step will be to install touchscreen kiosks and a mobile app to facilitate ordering, according to Bloomberg News. The changes — which include a dedicated pickup area for mobile orders — could help reverse a three-year sales slump, the article notes. Mobile ordering is a rampant trend in the restaurant industry, with companies like Starbucks boasting wide adoption of the technology. Last year, Subway acquired a portion of Vancouver-based digital ordering company Avanti Commerce and hired about 20 of its technologists. One possible hurdle for its new initiative is that all of Subway's locations are franchises, which will bear some of the cost of the upgrades. "We’re … asking the franchisees to put some skin in the game," Carman Wenkoff, Subway’s chief information and digital officer, told Bloomberg.

Groceries on the go: Companies like Amazon and Walmart are experimenting with new models for grocery shopping and delivery, but perhaps none of them go as far as Moby. Popular Mechanics describes the company as "a self-driving supermarket without any human staff," which drives around Shanghai in search of shoppers. The futuristic-themed, solar-powered store is "staffed" by a holographic greeter and recognizes customers via a mobile app, the article says. The concept was developed by Sweden-based Wheelys and China-based Hefei University and Himalayafy. Though the concept is being tested in Shanghai, the ultimate purpose of the Moby store is to maintain a retail presence in regions that don't have a strong enough economy to support a permanent grocery store, according to the article. And in its current form, the "self-driving" store still needs a human driver to return it to a warehouse.

Amazon fights showrooming: As Amazon steadily rolls out new concepts for physical retail stores, it must contend with a beast it helped create: showrooming. The practice describes how shoppers visit a physical store to examine an item that they plan to order online at a better price. Amazon has a patent that can determine when a person in its store is using its WiFi network to comparison-shop, and it take one of several actions to attempt to get the person to buy in-store instead, Engadget reports. These actions can include blocking the user's WiFi access or sending a sales representative to discuss the purchase with the shopper in person, the article states; Amazon could also recognize when its price is cheaper and thus take no action.

Starbucks and Android Pay: In the tellingly titled article, "Most Starbucks locations accept Android Pay, and I did not know this," AndroidPolice managing editor David Ruddock confesses the only way he learned of Starbucks' support of Google's mobile wallet was an Android Pay alert that popped up on his phone. In the U.S.'s pre-EMV days, contactless card readers were typically add-ons that rested atop the screens of standard magstripe terminals, with various card networks' NFC logos cluttering the dongle's small surface. Modern card readers simply embed the NFC reader under the screen, rendering it invisible. "If you go to a Starbucks in the U.S. and they have this Verifone chip-style reader...it accepts contactless payments," Ruddock says. "I had no idea."

From the Web

Alibaba is in talks to invest in Uber’s Southeast Asia rival Grab
TechCrunch | Fri Jun 16, 2017 – Alibaba could substantially increase its business interests in Southeast Asia with an investment in Uber rival Grab. Bloomberg reports that Alibaba President Jack Ma is considering joining an upcoming $1.4 billion funding round for Grab which will be led by SoftBank, a company with many links to Alibaba. Separately, TechCrunch has confirmed with a source that Alibaba has held meetings with Grab over a potential investment that could see Alipay, the mobile payment service run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, integrated into the Grab app. Alibaba is apparently keen to have a closer relationship with Grab’s ‘GrabPay’ payment platform, too.

Alibaba expands AI cloud product into Europe to take on Amazon, Microsoft
CNBC | Thu Jun 15, 2017 – Alibaba has expanded its big data and artificial intelligence cloud product in Europe in a bid to boost its challenge to the likes of Amazon and Microsoft in the fast-growing space. The product known as "MaxCompute" handles huge amounts of data allowing organizations to make predictions in real-time. Aliyun, the cloud division of the Chinese e-commerce titan, claims it can process around a petabyte of data such as video and audio. A petabyte is 1,000,000 gigabytes.

NHS cyber-attack was 'launched from North Korea'
BBC | Fri Jun 16, 2017 – British security officials believe that hackers in North Korea were behind the cyber-attack that crippled parts of the NHS and other organizations around the world last month, the BBC has learned. Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) led the international investigation. Security sources have told the BBC that the NCSC believes that a hacking group known as Lazarus launched the attack. The U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team has also warned about Lazarus.

More from PaymentsSource

Can health care provide an 'Amazon experience' for payments?
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Circle's free remittance model is a bombshell aimed at a different target
Circle free offering leaves a lot of money on the table, but it also stems from a fundamentally different approach to cross-border payments.

Retailers are missing out on messaging platforms
Younger consumers spend much of their time on messaging platforms, creating a risk for retailers that are not active in the channel.

CFPB tweaks final prepaid rule, seeks comment on second delay
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed further changes Thursday to its final rule on prepaid cards and is seeking public comment on whether to delay implementing it a second time.

WeChat partners with SafeCharge for in-store acceptance across Europe
In the race between China’s two leading mobile wallets—Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay—to expand their users and merchants around the world, WeChat Pay is drawing even in Europe.

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