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Emerging payments on the agenda in Australia: Many countries are dealing with issues such as ATM access, changes in identity security and emerging virtual currencies, and the Reserve Bank of Australia has placed all three on the Payments Systems Board's agenda. Finextra reports the board has not issued mandates yet, but has discussed the development of a digital identity framework to make payments and other interactions more secure. The board is also discussing the future of the ATM access code and will consider demands for a central-bank supported digital cash. The board is partly responding to the Australian credit union CUA and Travelex, which plans to issue a digital identity platform in partnership with the Australian post office.

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Blockchain grants: Digital currency Dash and blockchain web services company BlockCyper are operating a program for startups and established companies that want to develop blockchain-based technology. The program is seeking projects with a viable business model, go-to-market plan and the ability to support use cases on Dash's network. One of the early companies to receive a grant is the Petientory Foundation, which is integrating the Dash public blockchain with its own private blockchain, using BlockCypher's APIs to process health care payments. "We will be the first health care blockchain to show interoperability between blockchain networks," said Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of Patientory, in a release. "This is a major leap forward for how blockchains can be used to process health care claims payments."

British ID fraud spikes: There were 89,000 incidents of identity fraud in the U.K. in the first half of 2017, up 5% from 2016, according to Cifas, a U.K. fraud prevention service, which reports there are now more than 500 identities stolen each day in the U.K., where other types of payments fraud are also increasing. A vast majority, 83%, of the identity fraud took place online. There's been an increase in loan, telco, online retail and insurance fraud, according to Cifas. That has cut into the share of fraud incidents in bank and card accounts, though those two categories still make up more than half of the incidents. Fraudsters use several methods, such as stealing mail, buying data on the dark web, hacking social media or luring consumers through social engineering.

Faster cross-border payments: Mobile payments company Terrapay and money transfer provider Instant Cash are partnering to support international payments to mobile wallets in near-real time. The companies will power remittances to mobile wallets in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, mostly through mobile numbers and bank accounts. Other participants in the network are MPesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money and Zantel Ezy Pesa. The companies plan to expand the service to other countries after the initial rollout. The partnership will bring speed to the mobile money initiatives that have extended financial services across Africa over the past decade, just as faster processing advances for other types of payments.

From the Web

Australia says organized crime in financial sector costing $28 billion a year
Reuters | Thu Aug 24, 2017 - Organized crime in the financial sector is costing Australia A$36 billion ($28.43 billion) a year, the criminal intelligence authority said on Thursday. Money laundering was the main threat amid the rise of online banking and digital currencies, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) said in a report on organized crime in the country. The Australian government earlier this month accused the country's second-largest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, of widespread breaches of money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules. The government is concerned that encryption technology, including cryptocurrencies, allows transactions to evade detection, potentially enabling criminal activity and tax evasion.

Fintech startup AutoFi raises $10 million
Reuters | Thu Aug 24, 2017 - AutoFi Inc, a financial technology startup catering to the auto industry, said on Thursday it raised $10 million in series A funding, bringing the total amount of equity funding to $17 million. The funding round included existing investors such as Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Co LLC and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. AutoFi's platform helps prospective car buyers purchase and finance vehicles from a dealership's website by connecting them to a network of lenders to complete the car-buying process.

Digital Currency Ripple Soars 70% Overnight
Fortune | Wed Aug 23, 2017 - The cryptocurrency Ripple, which is used by many banks, shot up dramatically in the last 24 hours, climbing to nearly 30 cents from yesterday's price of around 17 cents. The price surge also saw the total value of Ripple grow to $11 billion, briefly making it the third most valuable digital currency behind bitcoin and Ethereum. For those unfamiliar, Ripple is like a corporate cousin to bitcoin. It relies on blockchain software to create a permanent, indelible transaction record but, unlike many crypto-currencies, it is controlled by a company rather than mined.

More from PaymentsSource

SunTrust's new mobile rewards strategy: Don't dis debit
Mobile wallets and digital payments apps are erasing the distinction between credit and debit, but many issuers still cling to old practices that treat those audiences differently. SunTrust is working to change that.

High expense means card marketing must be more than 'rewards'
As marketing becomes more expensive, issuers are under pressure to find new ways to lure merchants, according to Eric Marks and Sean Clark from West Monroe Partners.

Amex charged higher rates and fees in U.S. territories, CFPB says
American Express charged higher interest rates and annual fees for more than a decade to cardholders in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories, compared with customers in the U.S., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Wednesday.

Heavyweight vendors enter digital ID fray for retailers, banks
The bank technology provider FIS and the credit bureau Equifax are jointly launching an authentication platform called OnlyID for banks and retailers Wednesday.

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe is editor in chief at PaymentsSource and a contributing editor at American Banker.