7.7.17: 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:
The Square lobby: Square has hired Porterfield, Fettig & Sears LLC, a D.C. lobbyist, as part of more than a quarter million dollars the company has spent on lobbying in the past year, according to The Hill. While CEO Jack Dorsey's other company appears to have more of a tie to politics on the surface, Square said it made the hire for issues related to "payments processing, mobile payments, lending and financial technology." Square is expanding outside of its traditional business of supplying hardware that allows smartphones to accept credit cards. Square plans to offer direct payment processing and is considering a foray into consumer lending, both moves that could change the company's compliance posture by opening it to new regulation. Dorsey has dabbled in politics and social activism in the past, participating in a protest march in Ferguson, Mo., following a police shooting in 2014, and at one time floating a run for mayor of New York.
iZettle plans to go public: Swedish mobile point of sale company iZettle's financial outlook has improved in the past year, and it's preparing for an IPO, according to The New York Times. The six-year-old company has followed a similar path to Square and other mobile point of sale companies, starting with card acceptance for smartphones and moving into broader merchant services. iZettle has also moved into new markets, expanding outside of Sweden to 12 other countries in Europe and Latin America, while averaging about 1,000 new business signups per day. While it is still not turning a profit, iZettle has been expanding quickly, with revenue reaching about $75 million in 2016 from about $44 million the prior year, while losses fell 23% during the same period. iZettle also added support for UnionPay and drew about $80 million in new funding since the start of 2017.
Uber's tip feature expands quickly: Just a month after saying it would add a tipping functionality after years of criticism, Uber is expanding the feature to most of the U.S. and Canada. TechCrunch reports tipping will be available in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and 121 other cities. The tip function debuted in Seattle, Houston and Minneapolis in June, and Uber is on track to have the service available to all drivers by the end of July. Riders can choose from three percentage options for tips, and can retroactively tip up to 30 days later. Tipping is also available on the UberEATs app. The tipping feature is part of a broader campaign at Uber called "180 days of Change." While Uber's seamless transaction experience has drawn interest from more traditional payments players, the company has suffered from bad publicity in other areas and has struggled with driver retention.
Air Canada's payments and booking go digital: As airlines face increasing pressure to add digital payment technology, Air Canada has added support for both Visa Checkout and Masterpass in near simultaneous announcements. Visa Checkout will enable travelers to pay for tickets, upgrade seats and pay bag check fees online. Visa Checkout is available on aircanada.com for desktop and mobile web, and will be on Air Canada's mobile app early next year. Air Canada will also support Masterpass via aircanada.com and vacations.aircanada.com, in an effort to speed booking and payments, and services similar to those offered via Visa Checkout. Visa Checkout is live in 23 markets, while Masterpass is live in 96 markets.
From the Web
Second-chance checking re-opens doors to banking
USA Today | Thu Jul 6, 2017 - Going without a bank account isn’t so uncommon, but it’s a potentially expensive predicament. According to a 2015 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., nearly 16 million adults in the U.S. are “unbanked” — meaning they don’t use a traditional banking institution. Without access to services such as free deposits and withdrawals, many turn to costly check-cashing stores or high-fee prepaid debit cards. But some banks and credit unions offer a more affordable alternative: second-chance checking. These fresh-start bank accounts might not have all the services of a standard account. If you’re eligible, though, a second-chance account could save you hundreds of dollars per year and get you on the path to full-featured banking.
Arab states plan regional payment and settlement system
Reuters | Thu Jul 6, 2017 - Arab countries are finalizing plans to create a regional cross-border payments and settlements system as an alternative to the current arrangement, which has been hit by a rise in compliance costs and downsizing by some banks. Currently, many cross-border payments and settlements in the Gulf are carried out by correspondent banks - banks in one country acting as agents to foreign financial institutions that do not have a local presence. However, a tightening of anti-money laundering rules by U.S. and European banks since the financial crisis has added to the cost of this arrangement, while downsizing by some banks has seen them quit the market.
Unprotected server leaves 3 million WWE fans' personal data vulnerable: report
CNBC | Thu Jul 6, 2017 - An employee of German security firm Kromtech uncovered an unprotected WWE database containing more than 3 million users' personal information, according to a report published Thursday by Forbes. The data was stored on an Amazon server without any username or password protection, Forbes reported, and was accessible to anyone who knew which web address to search. Displayed in easily readable plain text, users' home and email addresses, birthdates, ethnicities, children's age ranges and genders were included in the leak, Forbes said, among other information. "Although no credit card or password information was included, and therefore not at risk, WWE is investigating a vulnerability of a database housed on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has now been secured," a WWE spokesperson said in a statement.
More from PaymentsSource
New fund seeks out verticals overdue for payments innovation
One of Centana Growth Partners' early investments is in a company that uses the cloud to deliver payments technology to insurance companies, a very specific model that speaks to what the VC's partners feel is an underserved market for payments automation.
Retailers need their own e-wallets to seize the digital opportunity
The retail landscape is evolving rapidly as emerging technologies and trends are changing expectations of the in-store experience.
Will ‘cardless’ ATMs help speed up mobile payments adoption?
After 50 years using clunky ATMs, many banks are eyeing costly “cardless” upgrades to the old models that perform more functions by remote control using a mobile phone, and consumer reaction to them could be a bellwether for adoption of other mobile payment technologies.
'Tap and go' payments take hold among consumers
Mobile wallet payments made through a smartphone tap-and-go process at a merchant terminal grew significantly at 1.3 billion transactions in the U.S. in 2015, compared to 0.3 billion in 2012.