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:

Alipay's on the way to Africa: Alipay has previously set its sights on the U.S. and Spain for global expansion, and now it is targeting Africa. Speaking during a U.N. tour on promoting entrepreneurship, Alipay founder Jack Ma said the company plans to create a payments platform for companies in Kenya. Ma suggested Alipay would give money to Kenyan companies to encourage development of a digital payments market, and is also looking for local business people to help develop the Kenyan economy. Kenya would be a logical choice to start in Africa, given the country's experience with mobile technology through initiatives such as the telco-driven MPesa mobile money service. Alipay and Ma's other businesses have created more than 33 million jobs in China, according to Ma, and have build a logistical and e-commerce operation capable of serving the entire country.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma
Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma Bloomberg News

Credit unions use geolocation, ride-sharing to reach millennials: CO-OP Financial Services has a new app that uses location-based technology to spot the nearest surcharge-free CO-OP ATM or shared branch in its network. CO-OP, a credit union service organization that provides shared technology to a network of credit unions, says digital natives still desire branches and ATMs, with millennials rating access to branches and ATMs as a higher priority than other age groups do. And given the nature of credit unions' shared branching and ATM model, it's not always easy to spot ATMs when outside a local credit union's footprint. The new feature includes a customized interface, notifications when locations are added, removed or changed; and ride-share app integration with Uber and Lyft. "The reputation of digital natives as being unconcerned with branches may be overstated," said Todd Clark, president and CEO of CO-OP, in a release.

NACHA chooses microbusiness partner: NACHA has selected MACH1 as a preferred ACH partner for micro businesses, an endorsement of sorts for the technology that boosts the use of electronic billing and payments in that segment. "The micro business sector often faces challenges with implementing electronic payments, sometimes due to technology integration issues, limited personnel, or competing priorities," said Janet Estep, president and CEO of NACHA, in a release. MACH1 has a mobile app that powers bill creation, presentment and payments tailored for the smallest merchants that still heavily rely on paper bills. Other preferred partners are Fiserv for payments and financial services, Early Warning for account validation, High Radius for cash application automation and Treasury Software for ACH enablement and integration.

Billion's millions: Blockchain is advancing as a platform for payments such as cross-border transactions, and the potential for further innovation has helped distributed ledger startup Billion attract a grant of about $2.3 million from the European Union. Finextra reports Billion powers near-real-time micropayments, a transaction type that was considered to be too unprofitable for faster processing technology. The company hopes to provide an alternative to prepaid vouchers and SMS via a mobile app with an audit trail. Billion plans to launch this fall in Poland and in the U.K. in 2018, and will also target emerging markets.

From the Web

Alibaba aims high for cloud computing business in Southeast Asia
China Daily | Fri Jul 21, 2017 - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is aiming high for the cloud computing business in Southeast Asia, believing that a new wave of digital penetration will jump- start the business. Speaking to Xinhua at a startup competition event on Thursday, Raymond Ma, regional manager of ASEAN Markets for Alibaba Cloud, said Southeast Asian countries are having a rapid transformation to cloud computing, no matter in the IT business or in traditional industries. As more companies are taking cue from their Chinese counterparts, for instance in e-commerce and in online-to-offline business, this region will have a bigger demand for cloud computing, said Ma.

Blackstone, CVC Make Paysafe Move as Sector M&A Rages
The New York Times | Fri Jul 21, 2017 - Private equity firms Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners bid 2.9 billion pound ($3.7 billion) for payments processing company Paysafe Group on Friday, joining a flurry of deals in the sector. In a separate statement, Paysafe -- which offers a range of services including prepaid cash cards and online wallets -- said it was also planning a takeover of U.S. peer Merchants Choice Payments Solutions for $470 million.

Affirm now has 1,000 retail partners
TechCrunch | Thu Jul 20, 2017 - Consumer lending startup Affirm has tried to make it easier for people to make big-ticket purchases at checkout by providing financing options that it believes are better than using a credit card. Today Affirm has announced it has more than 1,000 merchants signed up to offer its financing options at checkout, helping to reduce the friction around making large purchases and, by extension, increasing sales for its partners. While promoting its most recent milestone, Affirm is also trying to get across the message of how it’s different — and frankly, better — than point-of-sale financing options of the past. As a result, the company is pushing a marketing campaign around “honest finance” to enumerate the ways in which Affirm helps consumers by providing more access and better terms for big-ticket items.

More from PaymentsSource

Is faster ACH a gold mine or a minefield for acquirers?
Same-day Automated Clearing House transactions exist, in part, as a first step in the faster payments initiatives taking place in the U.S. But are they lucrative enough for acquirers to add to their portfolio?

Tesco taps into contactless tech to fuel its loyalty program
As contactless payment cards gain more momentum in U.K., supermarket giant Tesco wants to be sure its store loyalty card doesn't get left behind.

Wells Fargo's consumer control hub may benefit merchants the most
Because of the opaque nature of internet retailing and widely publicized data breaches, security concerns remain a pervasive gating factor to digital commerce.

Citi expands card partnership with PayPal to include points
Citigroup is expanding its payments partnership with PayPal to allow its card members to use their ThankYou rewards points for purchases at PayPal checkout in the U.S.