8.11.17: 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:

Microsoft's blockchain framework: Microsoft has released the Coco Framework, an open toolset to build blockchain networks for enterprise use. Silicon Angle reports programmers can use the blockchain-agnostic Coco to build distributed ledgers at scale, provide tamper-proof history and enhanced confidentiality. Blockchain technology powers virtual currencies, though financial institutions have begun using it to reduce cost for security and cross-border transactions. There are also several cooperative initiatives to encourage blockchain use, such as IBM's Hyperledger, PwC's Vulcan and R3CEV LLC's Corda.
U.K. sticks with animal fats for cash: Following months of controversy over the construction of new bills, the Bank of England says it will not use palm oil as a substitute for animal fats in bank notes, reports The Telegraph. Animal rights groups and religious organizations have protested using tallow, or a form of beef fat, in new plastic 5 pound notes. Earlier this year, the Bank of England decided to not use tallow for five pound notes and a new ten pound note, and said it would investigate alternatives for other bills. It has now decided to use tallow in new bills, citing environmental issues and the cost of using palm oil, saying none of the bank's palm oil vendors could ensure sustainability of the product given the volume of cash.

Less need for bills: While the U.K. squabbles over the content of cash, its role as a payment instrument gets less important. The number of people who use cash to pay for routine daily purchases fell by 11% over the past year, reports Finextra. There were 15.4 billion cash payments in 2016, down from 17.2 billion in 2015. Cash is still the most commonly used payment option, representing 44% of all payments, though 2016 was the second consecutive year cash accounted for less than half of all payments. The volume of cash payments in 2016 was 240 billion pounds, or 15% of the total value of consumer spending, 5% less than in 2015. Citing figures from UK Finance, Finextra attributes the decline to the growth of contactless payments, and forecasts the value of cash payments to fall to 185 billion pounds by 2026.

Singapore warns about digital currency: Singapore has been supportive of emerging technology that automates payments and ties transactions to public ID, though it has taken a cautious approach to virtual currency. TechInAsia reports the government is warning about investment risks and authenticity of some "digital token" schemes. The Monetary Authority of Singapore warns these schemes may be involved in illegal activity, terrorist financing, or may be tied to outside parties that are hard for local authorities to authenticate. MAS has advised people to check if vendors involved in virtual currency investments or "initial coin offerings" are registered with the government in Singapore. The warning comes shortly after MAS said it would exercise more regulatory scrutiny over initial coin offerings and the businesses that use ICOs to fundraise.

From the Web

Tencent to roll out a credit rating system
China Daily | Fri Aug 11, 2017 - Tencent Holdings Ltd, the social networking-to-payment conglomerate, is developing a credit-scoring system. This is the company's latest attempt to seize market share from archrival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in China's lucrative online payment sector. The Shenzhen-based firm has trial-tested a credit-rating service among select audiences to seek advice for product optimization.

A Look at Credit Card Skimmers and How to Prevent Fraud
U.S. News & World Report | Thu Aug 10, 2017 - Fuel theft using fraudulent credit cards has become widespread with the development of skimmers that steal account information at gas station pumps. Here's a look at how they work, what authorities are doing to combat them and what consumers can do to protect themselves.

LaterPay brings its media payment technology to the US
TechCrunch | Thu Aug 10, 2017 - LaterPay is trying to help monetize “the vast space” between subscriptions and ads, allowing publishers to charge for their content on an à la carte basis. That can mean charging per article or video, or asking users to buy a pass to their site for a limited period of time. Now it’s launching in the United States. To fund these efforts, it’s raised an additional 5 million euros (bringing the company’s total funding to 20 million euros). And its U.S. expansion will be led by Hal Bailey (formerly director of emerging business development at Google), who’s been brought on as the company’s new chief revenue officer.

More from PaymentsSource

Fintech is filling banking's gaps for international supplier payments
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AI-driven identity verification attracts investment
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FIS, Lowe’s roll out prepaid card for construction crews
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