7.5.17: 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:

$10 billion battle for Worldpay: Large suitors such as Vantiv and JPMorgan Chase are interested in acquiring Worldpay, sending the company's stock soaring 28%, or a valuation of about $10 billion, according to The Guardian. Both Vantiv and JPMorgan Chase have substantial merchant acquiring businesses in the U.S., and Worldpay would provide a base for a large market in Europe. Worldpay collaborates with Ingenico to sell payment and merchant services products that work across mobile, online and brick and mortar channels in Europe. Also, adding Worldpay would give either JPMorgan Chase or Vantiv added heft to compete domestically with First Data, which gets about a quarter of its business from non-U.S. markets. TSYS also competes internationally, recently extending its deal with Tesco Bank. An acquisition could also portend a round of consolidation in the broader acquiring industry,as Nets is also fielding offers. (Shortly after deadline, Vantiv agreed to acquire Worldpay for $9.9 billion).
DC taxis get Square: As Square attempts to broaden its appeal to merchants with new processing services, it's still expanding its core mobile acceptance business. The company has inked a deal to provide the payments piece of Washington, D.C.'s new taxi meters, according to TechCrunch. The new meters will replace the older manual meters, and are designed to provide a smoother rider experience as the local taxi commission attempts to compete with ride hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft. The new taxi meter will provide fare estimates, GPS route tracking and digital receipts. The Square technology will also provide an option for tipping.

Ant's battle against cash: Ant Financial has plenty of international ambition, but it's also making major waves at home in China, where it's the country's largest internet financial services provider. China Daily reports Ant has made an agreement with Tianjin municipality to make it the first "cashless" city in North China. Residents will pay for almost all transactions, such as retail, transit, medical bills, tuition and Social Security through mobile apps. The transition is expected to be complete by the end of the year, and will be Ant's fourth cashless campaign, following campaigns in Hangzhou, Wuhan and Fuzhou. Ant insists it's not eradicating cash, but working with local authorities in an attempt to broaden the options for mobile payments.

Payments lobbyists join big U.K. group: U.K. Finance, a large trade body representing more than 300 companies in the U.K., has launched, handling the advocacy and lobbying activities of the British Bankers' Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association, reports City A.M. The coalition should save millions of pounds in membership fees, administration costs and reduce redundant lobbying. Stephen Jones will be CEO of UK Finance. Jones is a 30-year industry veteran, including posts at Santander, Barclays, Citigroup and Schroders. Bob Wigley, the EMEA chair for Merrill Lynch, will be UK Finance's chair. The group also hopes to address the blurring of lines between different industries that stems from the technology revolution in financial services and payments over the past several years. UK Finance has drawn some opposition, including financial technology author David G.W. Birch, who argues payments companies should have their own trade association.

Sony's wearable NFC: As companies add payments capabilities to a variety of wearable technologies, Sony is streamlining its smartwatches, which include technology that's amenable to contactless payments. The Verge reports Sony has developed a new version of its Wena Wrist smartwatch. Called Three Hands Square, it has a square body, a round face and comes in 18mm, 20mm and 22mm lug options. There's also a new leather strap that includes Near Field Communication (NFC), so the watch is able to support third-party mobile payment apps and make contactless payments at the point of sale. The watches go on sale later this month, but the leather bands won't be on sale until December. The watch costs $93 and a steel band costs about $300. The leather option will be about $75.

From the Web

Cross-border payment startup InstaRem eyes IPO in 2020 after closing $13M Series B
TechCrunch | Tue Jul 4, 2017 - Cross-border payment startup InstaRem has raised $13 million in new financing as it looks to expand its business, which is rooted in Asia, into Europe and North America ahead of an eventual public listing as soon as 2020. The Singapore-based startup said the raise was led by China’s GSR Ventures, an early investor in Didi among others, with participation from Japan/Netherlands SBI-FMO Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund. Existing backers Vertex Ventures, Fullerton Financial Holdings, and Global Founders Capital also joined the round. Instarem previously closed a $5 million Series A in March 2016.

How two countries helped drive the recent rise in cryptocurrency prices
TechCrunch | Tue Jul 4, 2017 - Digital currency prices have soared recently, with reports from the past few months showing enormous valuation increases for currencies across the board. Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum have all experienced exponential growth, with Bitcoin prices rising to $2,588, Ripple reaching a market cap of nearly $10 billion, and Ethereum growing to a total market cap of over $20 billion. With supply and demand for digital currencies extremely high in both Japan and China, it is no surprise as to why these two countries are helping to fuel the rise in cryptocurrency prices.

Russia's VEB inks 6 billion yuan deal with China Development Bank
Reuters | Tue Jul 4, 2017 - Russian state development bank VEB signed an agreement on Tuesday to attract 6 billion yuan ($882.35 million) from China Development Bank for innovations, including the development of blockchain technologies, VEB head Sergei Gorkov told reporters. Blockchain technology provides an electronic record-keeping and transaction-processing system, which lets all parties track documentation through a secure network and requires no third-party verification. In a separate statement on Tuesday on the deal, VEB said it had signed a framework agreement with China Development Bank under which the Russian lender will receive 50 billion roubles ($844 million) in financing over 15 years.

More from PaymentsSource

Oberthur became OT-Morpho to strengthen its security portfolio
If payments and security technology continues to advance at the speed it has in the past five years, Oberthur Technologies wants to make sure it has enough fuel to keep its pace.

Curve goes 'Back to the Future' to fix card choices
Discovering that business owners occasionally use the wrong credit card to make a purchase, Curve is allowing users of its all-in-one card technology to go "back in time" to choose the right card.

Australia’s government wants to know why Apple banned Westpac’s payments app
Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is looking into Apple Inc.’s recent decision to ban an app that enables Australian bank Westpac’s customers to use social media payments.

Bitcoin crime grabs the headlines, but beware of transaction laundering
Bitcoin and other decentralized, non-fiat virtual currencies are becoming a more popular way for cyber criminals to shop for illegal goods online with little fear of consequences.

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