8.21.17: 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:

Barclays' voice pay: Barclays is an early U.K. adopter of voice command payments through Siri, Apple's virtual assistant. Available through Barclays mobile banking app, customers can make direct requests to initiate payments, such as "Pay Steve 20 pounds through Barclays." Apple's Touch ID authenticates that payments, enabling users to execute transactions without a passcode. The rollout is limited at first; payments can only be made in pounds and have single and daily payment limits. The release's usage examples mainly focus on P-to-P transfers and do not specifically mention bill payment, though other banks that use Siri for payments, such as RBC, do include recurring payments such as monthly bills as part of the service.
Tightly editing payments: WordPress is simplifying its connection to PayPal, reports VentureBeat, noting the existing process is a nine-step sequence that includes something called a "PayPal button code." The publishing platform has redesigned the process to remove most of these steps, with the new process involving clicking on an "Add payment" button from a dropdown menu, answering a prompt about the details of what the blogger is selling and the email address of the user's PayPal account. The new user experience is limited to WordPress.com's Premium and Business plans for now, while the company fine tunes the process for a broader audience.

Australia adds digital currency AML rules: Australia is updating its money laundering rules following a recent report that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell out of compliance because of an incomplete technology upgrade. Reuters reports the new government rules will bolster the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, the agency that brought the legal action against CBA. The rules will also address digital currencies for the first time, following other countries such as Japan that require cryptocurrency exchanges to conduct yearly security audits and follow standard "know your customer" rules, which are designed to keep money laundering and criminal activity out of the financial system.

Bad game: The big 2016 web hack that knocked out several large payment sites, media companies and other businesses was likely the work of gamers that wanted to dump people from the PlayStation Network. The Verge reports a team of researchers from Google, Cloudflare, Merit Networks, Akamai and university partners found the IP addresses targeted by the attack were nameservers for the PlayStation Network that were used to connect visitors to the correct IP address. The networked nature of Dyn, the DNS provider that was the primary target of the attack, allowed the limited attack on a handful of servers to become, in effect, an attack on the entire system. Once that system went down, the attack cut off access to dozens of other servers, which explains the severity of the overall incident.

From the Web

Bitcoin: cryptocurrencies invent a new way of spending
The Times | Sat Aug 19, 2017 - You can now use bitcoin to buy a coffee on the high street. Is this the future of money? Bitcoin has quadrupled in value this year and hit a record high of $4,483.55 this week. From obscure origins as a cryptocurrency created by an anonymous computer programmer, bitcoin has defied critics and now costs more than gold. Its market capitalization, or value, is bigger than that of PayPal, the ubiquitous online payment system. Should you be investing?

Beyond Amazon and Alibaba: what’s next for e-commerce?
TechCrunch | Sun Aug 20, 2017 - Many assume the e-commerce game is over given the immense success of Amazon and Alibaba (both have $400+B market caps). Amazon has systematically commoditized product category after product category – books, houseware, electronics, clothing, grocery and more, while Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao platforms have captured market share and popular imagination with millions of SKUs, truly creating a global “everything store.” But declaring game-over in these markets is a mistake. A careful read of emerging trends reveals rich greenfield territory, where billion-dollar startups can thrive by recognizing the opportunities of global mass market of millennials from day one.

Alipay, WeChat Take Battle for Mobile-Payment Dominance Overseas
The Wall Street Journal | Sat Aug 19, 2017 - China’s tech titans are expanding into foreign markets, signing partnerships with merchants in Southeast Asia and Europe and looking to invest in payment systems in other countries. The biggest combatant is Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the owner of China’s dominant Alipay service. Alipay lets users pay for everything from haircuts to houses via codes generated on their smartphones, instead of cash or cards.

More from PaymentsSource

Alibaba finds a partner in Chicago for small-biz payments
Chicago-based crowdSPRING is a matchmaker, putting marketers and designers in touch with small businesses. And as with any matchmaking service, the true test of character is when the bill arrives.

Using digital services should be as easy as driving a car
A frictionless digital experience is not just about doing something quickly; it's about securely completing a task without puzzling over the details.

8 times payments clashed with politics
The simple act of moving money can have a big impact on any political movement, so banks and payment networks are often caught up in issues of national importance. Here are some recent instances where payments and politics came head-to-head.

Barclays puts in sensors to see which bankers are at their desks
Barclays PLC has installed devices that track how often bankers are at their desks.

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