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:
Is Apple chilling location-based marketing?: As retailers figure out how to use location based data to enhance sales and foot traffic via mobile apps, Apple is making changes that give users more information about how companies are using their location. That could make it harder for retailers to push location-based advertising without users knowing, according to TechCrunch. The technology website reports Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS11, which ships in September, will have a more prominent blue status bar that appears when an app is actively using a person's location while running in the background. That could give users more insight into how their location is being used, and make it harder for companies to resell location data to vendors or display location-based ads. Apple is also adding another choice for users regarding sharing location data, TechCrunch reports. Most apps have "always" or "never" as options—Apple is adding "while using the app" as an option and will warn users who choose "always" when an app is tracking their location.
Blockchain startup plots 'crypto wallet': Twenty Thirty, a Swiss blockchain technology company, hopes to raise funds through a crowdfunding initiative for a digital wallet that will hold all of a user's financial assets and direct users to different activities. Called the Pillar project, it will be an open source digital storage unit for health records, financial relationships, payment products and personal records such as a resume. All of the ownership will be on different blockchains with a password unlocking a digital assistant to guide users to a desired function, such as travel booking, making payments or accessing media. All of these apps will link to the user's personal locker, which will execute payments through stored information from Twenty Thirty's wallet. The Pillar system will use a mix of tokens, smart contracts and an ecosystem of online services to power the different consumer relationships and to trigger transactions. The Pillar project will conduct a token sale on July 15 to raise funds for the project.
Going to church: Fundraising is a big part of digital payments technology, making the collection plate a natural extension. The Church of England will test tap and go payments for donations starting this summer, reports the Financial Times. More than three dozen churches will use handheld terminals to process card payments for offerings of up to about $40. The trial covers a diverse range of churches in different locations and sizes to ensure the technology meets the needs of different churches and parishioners. The Church of England's goal is to extend the system nationally by next year, and considers it part of the church's efforts to lure younger people to services. Parish Buying, an church technology company, will oversee the contactless fundraising project.
AML gets expensive: As financial institutions consider emerging technology to take a bite out of money laundering risk expense, there's new data that demonstrates how costly the exercise can be. Finextra reports banks are confident the European Union's 4th AML Directive will enhance safety, but it will come at a cost. Seventy-three percent of U.K. banks think AMLD4 will make preventing money laundering easier, which is an improvement over two years ago, when just 17% felt the directive would make it easier, according to Finextra. But the U.K. technology wire also reports research from Mitek which found an average U.K. bank wastes about $8 million per year on inefficient AML processes. Since the new standards require more frequent checks, that cost could double in a year. Mobile technology that could smooth out IDs for digital onboarding, thus reducing this cost, is still several years away from being widely available, according to Consult Hyperion, which contributed to Finextra's report.
From the Web
Alibaba's payments app Alipay expands into Africa
CNBC | Mon Jun 26, 2017 - Alibaba's payments app Alipay unveiled the latest step in its global expansion strategy Monday. The platform is to launch in South Africa with the intention of servicing Chinese tourists. Alipay has had its eyes on markets further afield than the Middle Kingdom for a while, aggressively acquiring and investing overseas. Alibaba's affiliate Ant Financial, behind the Alipay app, merged with Singapore-based payments platform helloPay in April this year and made a $1.2 billion bid for U.S. firm Moneygram that same month. Earlier in March, the Chinese behemoth invested $177 million in Paytm, India's biggest mobile commerce platform.
Why Are Mobile Payments Companies Experimenting With Plastic?
NBC News | Mon Jun 26, 2017 - The latest innovation from cutting edge digital payment app companies is... a debit card? Venmo, one of the leading peer-to-peer payment apps, is reportedly experimenting with plain old plastic cards, according to Recode, citing sources familiar with the matter. A Venmo representative told NBC News the company has "nothing to announce at this time." "We will continue to test, introduce and expand features that allow people to use Venmo to pay friends and shop in new ways," the representative said in a statement to NBC News. But some Venmo transactions feeds belonging to company employees seemed to show the cards had been tested at various shops and fast food locations, including Chipotle and Taco Bell, Recode reported.
TransferWise CEO talks about Brexit worries for fintech companies
CNBC | Tue Jun 27, 2017 - Brexit could see London lose passporting benefits and access to talent, said TransferWise CEO Taavet Hinrikus. TransferWise is headquartered in London. The company has no immediate plans to set up a business in China, according to Hinrikus.
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