7.3.17: 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:
PayPal's Sony disconnect: PlayStation network users in the U.K. who use PayPal have had their accounts suspended and their payments refunded for reasons that aren't totally clear, according to the BBC. In some cases, when PayPal users try to log into their Sony accounts, they get an automated message stating they've been banned from the Playstation network, along with an error code stating the user has violated Sony's terms of service, the BBC reports. Users are also getting emails from PayPal that are vague, simply stating there are "many reasons" why the payment was rejected, with a bank message from Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe as part of the PayPal email. PlayStation told the BBC it's working to correct the broader user access issue, and Sony and PayPal are in talks to resolve the payments glitch between the two companies.
Screen scraping dustup: The battle between banks and financial technology companies over screen scraping in Europe has taken another turn, as the European Banking Authority has rejected a proposed amendment from the European Commission that would have allowed screen scraping to continue under the new Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which requires more data sharing in Europe in an effort to accommodate alternative payments and other financial services. The technology companies want screen scraping to continue, claiming a discontinuation would give banks too much control over data sharing. The banks favor a sharing method that relies on application programming interfaces. Using screen scraping as a fallback has been suggested as a compromise, but the EBA has come down on the side of the banks, saying it is concerned about the risks of screen scraping. Finextra reports the EBA instead has proposed stronger checks and balances on APIs, along with a stronger set of minimum performance and access standards.
An upgrade for M-Pesa: Safaricom's M-Pesa has played a major role in financial inclusion in Africa, starting in Kenya and spreading to about a dozen other countries with a mobile money product that reduces reliance on cash and barter, creating a safer and more transparent money movement system that often paves the way for bank-led financial services. Safaricom is renovating the platform to enable more features and enhancements for M-Pesa, which now has about 26 million customers. Kenya's Standard Media reports more partners will offer M-Pesa following the upgrade, and an application programming interface will simplify integration, slowing the amount of time it takes to set up M-Pesa from a couple of weeks to less than a day. The update will also reduce reliance on call centers for customer service by automating more customer-facing tasks.
Checking out: Paper checks aren't extinct, nor are they going away entirely anytime soon. But checks aren't nearly as important as they used to be. The number of checks per household fell from 19 per month in 2000 to 7.1 in 2015, according to The Federal Reserve, which just released new data. Non-cash payments increased from 40 to 79 per month. Businesses are also migrating away from paper. In 2000, the average business wrote 66 checks per month, declining to 24 per month in 2015. The value of ACH transfers increased to $148 trillion in 2015, which is more than double to total value of business and consumer ACH transfers and checks written in 2000, the Fed reported.
Fyre Fest under fire: The organizer of Fyre Music festival, an event promoted by Instagram influencers, faces legal troubles after the event fell short of what was promised. The Verge reports New York authorities have charged William McFarland with allegedly providing an altered stock ownership statement and misrepresenting the event's finances, stating the backing company had earned millions of dollars in booking artists when it had in fact earned only $60,000 in revenue. McFarland is charged with wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The music festival, scheduled for April in the Bahamas, promised attendees luxury accommodations and a wide range of A list entertainers. The event did not deliver on that promise, and was poorly organized, leading to a postponement, refunds and lawsuits against McFarland and his business partner, rapper JaRule.
From the Web
2 Plead Guilty to Making Fraudulent ATM Withdrawals
U.S. News & World Report | Fri Jun 30, 2017 - Two men have been sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraudulently withdrawing tens of thousands of dollars from several Massachusetts banks using stolen credit and debit card numbers. The Sun of Lowell reports that 31-year-old Antonio Testone, of Italy, and 29-year-old Bogdan Ionut Bujor, of Romania, were sentenced this week in Middlesex Superior Court after pleading guilty to charges including larceny and electronic fund transfer violation. Prosecutors say the men used skimming devices on ATMs to steal credit and debit card numbers and then used stolen numbers to make fraudulent withdrawals at banks in Burlington and Bedford. Prosecutors say more than $100,000 in fraudulent transactions were made. Searches of their car and hotel room turned up 151 cards and more than $13,000 in cash.
Overseas shoppers sustain Chinese e-commerce boom
China Daily | Mon Jul 3, 2017 - The Chinese online shopping market has boomed in recent years as local shoppers took to it like duck to water, and will likely continue to boom on the back of indulgent consumers overseas. According to a cross-border trade report jointly released by online payment provider PayPal and research firm Ipsos, China rose to be the most popular cross-border e-commerce destination for the first time in 2016, dislodging the United States and the United Kingdom. Up to 21 percent of the 28,000 respondents from 32 countries said they had shopped on Chinese websites last year.
Latest malware attack exposes cybersecurity weaknesses
The Hill | Sun Jul 2, 2017 - A fast-spreading computer virus that ravaged data systems in Europe and the United States earlier this week has again raised questions about whether United States businesses and organizations are prepared for cyber threats. The new attack came just a month after the massive “Wanna Cry” ransomware campaign that infected computers across the world using tools believed to have been stolen from the NSA. Ransomware traditionally renders a system unusable and encrypts data, then requires victims to pay money or perform another action to regain access. "But a growing number of security researchers believe that the new malware merely posed as ransomware to cover up its real goal of destroying data, some concluding that Ukraine was the ultimate target." “We believe that this was an intentionally destructive attack against the Ukrainian economy,” said Charles Carmakal, vice president at Mandiant, a subsidiary of the cybersecurity firm FireEye. “An attack like this will inevitably happen in the United States.”
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