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:

Facebook Messenger means business: Facebook has been incrementally making Messenger more transactional, and on Thursday debuted a new platform designed to make it easier for businesses to embed shopping and payment functions. CNBC reports Messenger Platform 2.1 makes some tweaks to the user experience, such as replacing "send" message buttons with more specific instructions, such as "shop now," "get support," or "pay." Facebook has also added more natural language processing, which means it can better determine the intent of basic messages such as "hello," or "thanks," or identify a location through a more sophisticated assessment of context. New back-end tools will help companies switch between simple request bots to more complex conversations to accommodate customer service queries without the user noticing a difference during conversations. More than 1.2 billion people use Messenger each month, and users send more than 2 billion messages to businesses monthly, Facebook reports.

Contactless beats cash in Australia: Cards are now the primary method of consumer payments in Australia, according The Queensland Times, which cites numbers from the Reserve Bank of Australia. The share of card payments in 2016 was 52%, compared to 37% for cash. That's a sharp reversal from 47% of payments in cash in 2013 and 43% for cards. Ten years ago, only 26% of payments in Australia were by cards, and 70% were cash. The growing popularity of contactless payments for both cards and mobile is cited as the reason for the shift. Of the card payments, 60% were contactless tap and go, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. And people spend as much as 50% more per transaction when they do not use cash, according to Sydney University, which was cited in newspaper article.

Terms of a bailout: Royal Bank of Scotland will spend up to £885 million to fund innovations in payments and other financial services as part of an agreement with the European Commission and the U.K. government that traces to a government rescue package after the 2008 financial crisis. Finextra reports RBS did not divest the banking unit of Williams & Glyn, which was part of a group of units RBS was supposed to sell in exchange for government help during the downturn. The bank and the governments have entered a new deal under which RBS will promote competition for startups in payments, fintech and other emerging financial services. RBS will create a £425 million fund to pay for innovation and development, which a third party will manage. RBS will also have to provide £275 million of funding for challenger banks, which will be used to entice small to medium sized businesses to leave Williams & Glyn for the smaller banks. RBS will also fork over another £75 million to cover the business' cost of switching. RBS will additionally cover other costs, including possible costs to make the scheme more attractive if there isn't enough adoption.

Canadian project speeds salary payments: Canada's big overhaul of its payments system has advanced to payroll, as Payments Canada released rules to speed the automated fund transfers that typically power payroll and bill payments. These transfers, or batch payments, cover about 1.7 billion yearly payments and are the most valuable part of the country's transaction ecosystem. Batch payments also support large amounts of payments, such as a company's entire payroll run, to happen at the same time rather than one transaction at a time. The new rules, which go into effect in the fall of 2018, will guide infrastructure improvements that will increase speed and enable same-day payroll, faster settlement and encourage an acceleration away from paper checks.

From the Web

Net30 wants to fix the construction industry’s payments problem
TechCrunch | Thu Jul 27, 2017 - The invoicing and payments process in the commercial construction industry is broken. It takes a median of about 70 days to get paid, which means contractors are often stuck without enough working capital. Net30, a startup in Y Combinator’s current batch, wants to solve that problem. The platform lets construction companies handle invoices and then make online payments to contractors’ bank accounts. This digitizes a process that is still mostly paper-based (some invoices are still faxed and most payments are made by paper checks sent through snail mail). Net30 also has a feature that calculates early payment discounts.

Gas Pump Skimmer Sends Card Data Via Text
Krebs On Security | Thu Jul 27, 2017 - Skimming devices that crooks install inside fuel station gas pumps frequently rely on an embedded Bluetooth component allowing thieves to collect stolen credit card data from the pumps wirelessly with any mobile device. The downside of this approach is that Bluetooth-based skimmers can be detected by anyone else with a mobile device. Now, investigators in the New York say they are starting to see pump skimmers that use cannibalized cell phone components to send stolen card data via text message.

TransferWise links with Apple Pay globally
Reuters | Thu Jul 27, 2017 - Financial technology startup TransferWise will allow users around the world to send money internationally through its service using Apple Pay, in a bid to make transfers easier and more secure. The London-based money transfer company said on Thursday that it was joining with Apple Inc's payments service in the U.S. and a handful of other countries, following a similar move in the UK in 2015. This means users on Apple devices will no longer have to insert their payments card or bank account details to send money via TransferWise, but will be able to transfer funds through their Apple Pay account, speeding up the process.

More from PaymentsSource

Implantable fintech: A concept that's more than skin deep
In a brilliantly titled 2003 American Banker story “When you can’t leave home without it”, the author covered a startup that was offering the potential for payment chips to be implanted subcutaneously. The then chief e-business officer at MasterCard, said, "This is a technology that can evolve in many different directions."

Are merchants overpaying for loyalty?
Charging what people are willing to pay is an exact science, claims First Insight's Jim Shea, who contends the loyalty programs and price perks that merchants offer aren't always necessary.

Amazon enters Singapore with two-hour Prime Now delivery service
Amazon.com Inc. is kicking off in Singapore with its most aggressive service yet, offering the Prime Now two-hour delivery service on everything from chilled Tiger beer to Samsung mobile phones.

Raft of AML violations lands bitcoin exchange a $110M fine
U.S. regulators slapped the bitcoin exchange BTC-e with a $110 million fine for a slew of alleged financial crimes from facilitating dark net drug sales to financing public corruption.

John Adams

John Adams

John Adams is Executive Editor of PaymentsSource.