7.24.17: Your morning briefing
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:
Apexx adds former Barclaycard CEO as director: Valerie Soranno Keating has joined London-based payments startup Apexx as a non-executive director. Apexx is designed to display different processing costs and advisory services for merchants when choosing an acquirer, similar to a travel booking site. Soranno Keating is an industry veteran, running Barclaycard's global business between 2009 and 2015, a period in which the company's profits tripled and revenues increased 45%. She also worked for American Express for about 16 years in different roles.
Banking with no cash: ANZ has opened a cashless branch in Brisbane, which the bank says is a nod to the growing adoption of mobile payments and other forms of online transactions, which reduce the need for cash withdrawals. The location does not have many of the staples of traditional branches, such as tellers or over the counter cash handling. It does have staff to handle loans, and to aid consumers in using the bank's advanced ATMs, which rely on mobile technology and do not require plastic cards. The branch is ANZ's first in Brisbane, though it has deployed cashless branch banking in Bondi Junction, and plans to open 45 such branches in 2018.
Bitcoin's new code: Recent infighting has caused Bitcoin's volume to fluctuate, and upgraded code could calm the market, according to Engadget. The virtual currency is undergoing a code change that's designed to improve usability and reduce volume spikes, according to the technology news site. The upgrade is called SegWit2x, and the initial stage of its deployment is supported by 93% of "miners," or the people who maintain Bitcoin, as a way to improve the currency. As Bitcoin has expanded, transaction fees and processing times have gotten larger because of the limits of the blockchain. There has been a disagreement over whether to increase the limit on how much data each block can hold, or to move small payments outside of the Blockchain. SegWit2X does both—doubling the block size while moving some data outside of the main network. The move has caused the virtual currency's price to stabilize off of its most recent low.
New money: The U.K. has unveiled its new polymer £10 note, featuring Jane Austen, joining the Winston Churchill £5 note and a £20 note featuring J.M.W Turner, which will debut in 2020. The notes have new security features that make them harder to counterfeit and are supposed to last more than twice as long as the current paper notes, or up to five years. The Jane Austen note will be issued on Sept. 14, 2017, and the public can continue to use paper notes until they are gradually moved out of circulation. The new notes will also include a image of Winchester Cathedral, where the author is buried. Even as consumers use cash less, the U.K. is issuing new bills, saying the volume of cash payments is still high enough to require new money.
From the Web
U.S. Message to China: Hands Off Our Companies
The Wall Street Journal | Fri Jul 21, 2017 - Backers of several high-profile transactions have failed to get approval amid tougher scrutiny of Chinese investment. The U.S. is toughening its scrutiny of Chinese deals, throwing a number of high-profile takeover bids into question and helping spur a huge case backlog, according to people familiar with the process. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has signaled there are significant obstacles facing the proposed $1.2 billion purchase of Dallas-based payments firm MoneyGram International Inc. by Ant Financial Services Group.
LVMH's Louis Vuitton launches e-commerce website in China
Reuters | Fri Jul 21, 2017 - French fashion brand Louis Vuitton, part of luxury giant LVMH, said on Friday it had launched an e-commerce website in China to tap a booming online shopping market. Louis Vuitton, which opened its first store in Beijing in 1992, said the website offered leather goods, small leather goods, shoes, accessories, watch and jewelry, luggage, and the newly launched Les Parfums Louis Vuitton. Payments can be made via UnionPay, Alipay and WeChat, the statement said.
Debit Cards Soon to Be Allowed for Arkansas Lottery Tickets
U.S. News & World Report | Sun Jul 23, 2017 - Those who buy lottery tickets in Arkansas will soon be able to purchase the tickets with debit cards instead of cash only. A new law allowing retailers to accept debit cards takes effect Aug. 1, but retailers are not required to accept debit cards and some say they won't because the law requires them to pay costs and fees. E-Z Mart Stores Inc. CEO Sonja Yates Hubbard told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the chain's 85 Arkansas retailers won't accept debit cards because the fees are more than the 5 percent commission on ticket sales. Jamie Clark, manager of Y&E Superstop in Bryant, said she believes the store will accept debit cards because Interstate 30 travelers who stop at the store expect to pay with debit cards because they're allowed in some other states.
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