8.25.17: 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:

Amazon accepts cash in the U.K.: Amazon.com is well versed in digital payments, and in April it set up a system for accepting cash on its U.S. site by partnering with brick-and-mortar retailers. A similar system is launching in the U.K., where Amazon customers can top up their store accounts by visiting stores that have a Paypoint register, according to Engadget. The bar code-based top-up system lets customers load values of £5 to £250 at a time, and is designed for shoppers who either don't have a bank account or are wary of using one to shop online, according to the article. The U.S. version, called Amazon Cash, let users carry a virtual Amazon cash card in Apple Pay.

Barclays now sells ice cream? To promote new use cases for contactless payments, Barclaycard has begun selling ice cream. The twist is that the cones are self-serve and the van accepts cards, reducing the time it takes to pay for and receive the ice cream — and presumably, reducing long lines on hot days. The self-serve queue offers only vanilla (the most popular flavor in Britain), while the van's driver handles other orders. The self-serve process takes less than a minute, the issuer says in its announcement. Barclaycard is known for being experimental with contactless payments, weaving the technology into everything from jackets to donkey saddles.

Square's store: Square, which created the mobile point of sale market by using mainstream convenience and office supply stores for distribution, is opening a store of its own. Square Showroom, opening in Manhattan, is designed to show off the complexity of modern-day Square offerings, including APIs and partner integrations. The location will also provide tech support and training, as well as showcase a handful of Square merchants that rotate on a monthly basis.

The flaw in two-factor authentication: Many merchants and card issuers use the customer's phone as a second factor of authentication by sending it a one-time passcode for logins. But what if the phone itself is hijacked? This happened to TechCrunch contributor John Biggs, whose T-Mobile SIM was swapped with that of a hacker who may have accomplished this by tricking the carrier in a phone call. "This, in turn, shut off network services to my phone and, moments later, allowed the hacker to change most of my Gmail passwords, my Facebook password, and text on my behalf," Biggs wrote. "All of the two-factor notifications went, by default, to my phone number so I received none of them and in about two minutes I was locked out of my digital life." To prevent such an incident going forward, Biggs suggests readers set a PIN on their mobile accounts, but also set up dummy email accounts and Google Voice numbers only for receiving two-factor alerts.

From the Web

China’s Mobile-Payment Food Fight
The Wall Street Journal | Thu Aug 24, 2017 - China’s leading internet search company, Baidu, has decided its food delivery business is, well, not delivering. The company said Thursday it would sell its Waimai unit to Ele.me, a rival backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba. The deal may not be life-changing for either Baidu or Alibaba. But it demonstrates again how Baidu is slipping behind both Alibaba and Tencent, the other member of Chinese tech’s top trinity.

Ezetap, racing against bigger rivals like Paytm, just raised $16 million in fresh funding
TechCrunch | Thu Aug 24, 2017 - There are more than 1 billion cellphone users in India. The country also abruptly went cashless last November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that millions of high-denomination currency notes would no longer be legal tender. These two developments play nicely into the vision of Ezetap, a six-year-old, Bangalore-based startup whose software as a service is used by more than 200,000 merchants; they’re using its technology to transact payments via everything from physical cards to online payments to wallets to one-click payments in applications via India’s new UPI system.

San Francisco and Berlin have new competition for the capital of 'fintech'
CNBC | Thu Aug 24, 2017 - Dubai has seen a surge of interest from fintech startups and banking assets over the last three years, according to the emirate's financial center's management body. It's fast becoming a destination for financial technology startups because of its location, private investment and innovation. "Dubai has its own unique attributes that the likes of San Francisco and Singapore do not have," Moussa Beidas CEO and Co-Founder of smartphone payment platform Bridg told CNBC on Thursday. "I think there are very few places in the world where you can get so much in such a small place and yet with so much potential," he said. The patented platform that takes digital payments offline is based at the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) – a special economic area that aims to support businesses to tap into the emerging markets.

More from PaymentsSource

How consumers found a better business model for DipJar
DipJar’s mission when it launched in 2012 was to provide a simple, secure device for consumers with no cash in their pockets to leave a small tip for cashiers through a computerized tip jar. The company quickly learned that consumers wanted to be more generous.

European payment rules make open tech inevitable
The advancement that we are seeing in terms of API Banking in the payments domain makes it evident that the overall banking system is moving towards an open banking framework, writes Satya Swarup Das, a senior architect for the global banking practice at Virtusa.

How NIST could change the way merchants protect card data
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is telling agencies and companies that collect or store data to change the way they have been protecting their networks — and its guidance is likely to soon spill over to financial services and payments.

Amex's $300 million prepaid technology experiment ends in sale
American Express Co. is selling its prepaid card technology to InComm Holdings as the largest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases continues its shift away from down-market customers.

Cryptocurrency's value is the enthusiasm of its participants
Alternative currency investments are volatile. Another way to look at the market's sustainability is the willingness of participants to stick with this new mode of payments, writes Mariam Nishanian, a representative for Dentacoin, a virtual currency for the dental industry.

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