7.25.17: 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:

Apple Pay wins JCPenney's support: Shopping mall mainstay JCPenney will accept Apple Pay across its entire U.S. network, including store-branded cards and marketing incentives, according to Apple Insider. It's a big win for Apple Pay, which despite its ample buzz and addressable market has been slow to rack up adoption among larger retail chains. JCPenney has been testing Apple Pay for two years, but there have been delays in full deployment, reports Apple Insider, which speculates that the size of the retailer may be to blame for the slow pace. JCPenney has more than 1,000 locations in the U.S., necessitating a lot of backend work to ensure all terminals are upgraded to accept the NFC chips embedded in the iPhone and Apple Watch.
Western Union fuels up in Australia: Western Union will power mobile app transfers through a collaboration with BP Australia. That will make Western Union services available at 302 BP stores across the country, including 150 with digital kiosks. The collaboration will include access to Western Union's new Australian app that gives users the option of card, bank account or cash to fund transactions. “The ability to innovate and expand our self-service money transfer offering across retail and digital channels is key to Western Union’s success," said Molly Shea, General Manager of Asia Pacific for Western Union, in a release. “From expatriates sending money for mortgage payments, international students for repaying loans, to workers for supporting families back home, consumers today are looking for different options to send money with reliability and ease." BP will join about 3,600 agent locations, forex houses, post offices and pharmacies in Australia that are part of Western Union's network.

Citi island: Citigroup will lease about 11,000 square feet of space in The Bridge, a Cornell University academic and technology development campus on Roosevelt Island in the East River. About 80 Citi staffers will work in the facility with a focus on new uses for blockchain, machine learning, biometric authentication, the Internet of Things and security. The bank will also partner with startups, nonprofits and will engage with students in hackathons and design contests to test and incubate startups and prototypes. Citi has previously worked with Nasdaq on a blockchain project for securities payments and has opened a similar innovation hub in Hong Kong.

Implant ID: Three Square Market will offer staff implantable chips that can be used to log into computers, activate equipment, open doors and purchase snacks. The Verge reports participating employees will have NFC chips inserted between their thumb and forefinger, with the underlying technology coming from an existing collaboration with Biohax International. About 50 people will receive the chips at a party on August 1. The technology is already used at some companies and commuter rail systems in Europe, according to the Verge, which likens the product to the implants people place in their pets to keep them from getting lost.

From the Web

Fintech faithful put payments on a pedestal
Reuters | Tue Jul 25, 2017 - Fintech's faithful are putting payments on a pedestal. Square and PayPal shares are near all-time highs – as are those of venerable outfits like Visa, MasterCard and First Data. They’re each chasing what could be a $2.3 trillion revenue business by 2019, according to McKinsey. But they can’t all be winners. Privately held Stripe kicked off the frenzy last November when it raised $150 million in its fourth funding round. That doubled to $9.2 billion the valuation of the seven-year-old company, which builds software to allow companies to quickly set up and track digital payments. Since then, shares in Square, which initially focused on in-store payments, have rocketed 115 percent, valuing the company at $10 billion and an eye-popping 50 times estimated 2020 earnings. PayPal, which reports second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, shot up 45 percent; at $70 billion it’s worth almost twice as much as former parent eBay.

Swedish leader says security leak in 2015 was disaster
ABC News | Mon Jul 24, 2017 - A security leak in Sweden in 2015 is causing reverberations in the Scandinavian country two years later with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven saying it was "a disaster," exposing the nation to harm. The breach, first reported on last week, provided confidential information abroad allowing IT workers, including in the Czech Republic, to access Swedish government and police databases when the Transport Agency decided to outsource some of its services. Although officials gave little detail about the leak, it made the country vulnerable to possible further cyberattacks.

Data Breaches Happening at Record Pace, Report Finds
NBC News | Mon Jul 24, 2017 - The number of data breaches in the U.S. jumped 29 percent in the first half of this year, hitting a record high of 791, according to a new report from the Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout, the data risk management company. “Frankly, I was surprised at how significantly the number of breaches has grown,” said Eva Velasquez, ITRC’s president and CEO. “We knew this was a trend, we knew that the thieves would continue to find this lucrative, but the sheer volume of growth has been really surprising.” Adam Levin, chairman of CyberScout, told NBC News he finds the new numbers “incredibly disturbing” and a sign that cyber security still doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

More from PaymentsSource

What ATMs' mobile makeover means for independent machines
As ATMs on large bank networks increasingly use mobile phones for account access — a trend driven in part by mobile banking — non-bank ATM operators are working to enable the same features to attract mobile-savvy cash users.

Profiting from the cracks in Amazon's global e-commerce platform
Many companies in the payments industry position themselves as the answer to the competitive threat of Amazon. But that's not the only option out there.

Singapore startup takes bitcoin into real world with Visa
A recurring challenge for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is how to make them work in the real world. A Singapore-based startup says the answer is its Visa card.

Nigerian banks enable cross-border payments via mVisa
Visa’s efforts to expand its mobile payments service mVisa in developing nations reached a milestone this month in Nigeria, the first country where banks are enabling cross-border payments with the QR code-based mVisa technology.

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