6.19.17: 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:

Klarna deepens its bank disruption: Klarna has obtained a banking license from the Swedish government, enabling the company to broaden its range of lending and financing products to serve its expanding merchant and consumer base. Klarna directly serves consumers, or works with e-commerce companies such as Shopify, to offer financing via a mobile phone number, email or address when making online purchases. Merchants offer flexible or fixed monthly payments, or have the option to delay payments for 14 days. The model has helped Klarna build a base of 60 million consumers and 70,000 merchants, and the banking license will allow the company to offer more complex loans and savings products. "As the entire banking value chain is being challenged, the payments sector has seen the most profound transformation," said Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, in a release, adding the company will apply its online retail technology to general financial services. Klarna originally launched in Sweden, and has broadened is geographic footprint recently, including moves into Germany and the U.S.
Microsoft's fingerprint-sensing keyboard: Smaller devices like phones, tablets and laptops have considered fingerprint readers to be a standard feature for years, so why not desktop machines? Microsoft has debuted its Modern Keyboard with a fingerprint reader built-in, but it's so subtle that Engadget describes it as "hidden." The fingerprint sensor is built into a key that looks like any other key, nestled between the Alt and Ctrl keys to the right of the space bar. Microsoft's 20-second ad for the keyboard shows the fingerprint key being used to log in, but much like Apple's Touch ID, it's likely that banks and merchants will find a way to put the hardware to use to authorize payments.

Girl Scout cybercops: The Girl Scouts are adding a new badge next year for cybersecurity. The badges, offered in partnership with the security firm Palo Alto Networks, will focus on teaching different skills for different age groups, according to CNN. Younger scouts will learn about data privacy and cyberbullying, while older scouts will learn about coding, hacking and firewalls, the article states. It's increasingly common for the Girl Scouts to work with organizations in the banking, technology and payments industries. In 2016, Bank of America helped develop a "women in technology" badge, which also had an emphasis on cybersecurity. Years earlier, mobile card reader makers such as Intuit, Mophie and Sage North America offered their devices to Girl Scout troops to help cookie sales.

Half contactless: Contactless and online retail are growing rapidly in the U.K., where more than half of in-store card payments under £30, or about $39, are made via contactless technology, reports Finextra, citing data from Barclaycard and the U.K. Cards Association. Barclaycard also reports 90% growth in the payments volume through its Android app as of early 2017. Digital technology is also having an impact on the broader move away from cash, as debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchased in 2016, up 146% from 2006, according to the U.K. Cards Association. The use of cards in the U.K. is expanding faster than the amount spent, suggesting cards are being used more often for smaller purchases. In 2016, the average value of a card transaction in the U.K. fell to £43.47, or about $55, the lowest level in 15 years. As of the end of 2016, 39% of British payments were online or contactless, up from 24% the previous year, according the U.K. Cards Association.

From the Web

PayPal finds new ways to give credit where credit is due
The Times | Mon Jun 19, 2017 - The online payments company is growing its lending arm by filling a gap left by the high street banks. PayPal’s small business lending division has supplied more than £400 million of credit to 22,000 British companies since the service was launched in 2014. The American online payments giant said PayPal Working Capital was filling a “funding gap” that traditional lenders “can’t be bothered” to service, with research showing that a third of its loans have been provided to small companies based in areas that have lost 50 or more high street bank branches in the past four years.

Amazon and Alibaba Use Same Means to Different Ends
The Wall Street Journal | Mon Jun 19, 2017 - In buying Whole Foods, Amazon is following a trail blazed by Alibaba. In retail, fashions are now moving from east to west. Online giant Amazon’s $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods has shaken up the sector in the U.S. That isn’t unusual in China, where e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has already been snapping up brick-and-mortar stores for some time, spending some $5 billion on physical retail companies in recent years.

Credit Card Breach at Buckle Stores
KrebsOnSecurity | Sat Jun 17, 2017 - The Buckle Inc., a clothier that operates more than 450 stores in 44 U.S. states, disclosed Friday that its retail locations were hit by malicious software designed to steal customer credit card data. The disclosure came hours after KrebsOnSecurity contacted the company regarding reports from sources in the financial sector about a possible breach at the retailer.

More from PaymentsSource

First Data, Mineral Tree pact gets more banks to automate B-to-B payments
With midsize businesses still handling the majority of their accounts payable via checks, large corporations are reaping the benefits of digital or card payments.

Consumer tastes demand airlines adopt mobile pay
Mobile-enabled travel commerce is evolving from a distant vision and “nice-to-have” to marketplace reality and an airline’s operational “must-have.”

Why Amazon's Whole Foods deal is so dangerous
Until now, Amazon's moves seemed like cautious pokes at the deeply ingrained habit of going to a store and paying with a plastic card. Furthermore, any competitors may have seen Amazon's lacking retail store presence as a buffer that kept them at least temporarily safe from the same fate that befell the bookselling world. How naive they were.

5 of Amazon's innovations in card payments
Amazon is working aggressively to change the way people shop — especially in the grocery space — but not all of its activities focus on products and store design. The e-commerce giant has also influenced a lot about how people use their payment cards.

Mastercard follows Facebook in extending bereavement leave to 20 days
Mastercard is extending the amount of time it allocates to global employees for bereavement to 20 days, following Facebook’s adoption of a similar policy.

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