8.31.17: 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:

Alipay steps up merchant acquiring: Alipay is accelerating an already aggressive strategy, adding more than 10,000 stores in South Africa and debuting a new data analytics service in China. China Daily, which reports on both new products, notes Alipay debuted in South Africa in June by supporting payments for sightseeing bus tickets for Chinese tourists. The merchant partnerships expand Alipay's global merchant network to more than 200,000. In Alipay's home market, it plans a "Life Account," which will allow the app's 520 million consumers to search merchants, receive discounts, make appointments and make payments. Merchants can also use the new service to identify consumers' locations and shopping preferences. China Daily also reports Life Account is designed to counter WeChat's public accounts and mini programs as a channel for digital marketing and CRM. WeChat's service currently has close to a billion active users.
Apple Pay on wheels: Apple Pay is picking up the pace with New York area bike rentals. Citi Bike is adding Apple's mobile payment app as an option in New York and New Jersey, Engadget reports, adding Apple Pay has shown up in an update on the bike sharing app, which has a color-coded map of New York and New Jersey that shows bike stations, bike and dock availability. The addition will allow people who rent bikes from racks across the area to pay without entering a card. The bike sharing system dates to 2013 in New York, but had some payment security issues in its first year.

Uber foe adds new payment option: Asian ride hailing app Grab has added a P-to-P transfer feature in Singapore. Users can transfer GrabPay credits to each other, and in a future update will be able to transfer the credits to merchants. Grab's goal is to build a network of businesses that accept mostly cash and add payments through the GrabPay mobile wallet. GrabPay reports three quarters of Grab riders in Singapore do not use cash, and are accustomed to making mobile payments, enabling these riders to become potential new customers for the currently cash-heavy merchants. Grab earlier this year bought Indonesian mobile technology company Kudo to accelerate its move into mobile payments.

More than Whoppers: Shortly after Russian Burger Kings debuted a new Whopper-based virtual currency, the country is accelerating efforts to build uses for distributed ledgers. The state-owned Vnesheconombank will open a research hub in Moscow at the National University of Science and Technology and will develop use cases for payments, banking and other categories of technology. Like a lot of countries, Russia was initially cool to virtual currency, and has gradually warmed to the concept by issuing regulations. Finextra reports Vladimir Putin now sees distributed ledgers and blockchains as a key to diversify Russia's economy beyond energy.

From the Web

MasterCard class action shows the pitfalls of overreach
The Times | Thu Aug 31, 2017 - An ambitious test of new class action procedures allowed under the laws of England and Wales failed spectacularly recently when judges properly exercised their gatekeeping role to reject a bold case against MasterCard on behalf of more than 40 million British consumers. The proposed class action was, to use an American term, a whopper: claimants sought £14 billion on behalf of just about anyone over 16 in the UK who had purchased anything from a merchant accepting MasterCard over a 16-year period — an estimated 70 per cent of the British population. The case’s far-reaching scope proved its downfall.

Bitcoin Payment Firm BitPesa Gets Big Boost From Famous Investor
Fortune | Wed Aug 30, 2017 - The grandfather of venture capital just made his first bet on bitcoin. Alan Patricof, the founder and managing director of Greycroft, announced on Wednesday a $2 million investment into BitPesa, a startup that uses blockchain to speed up business payments across Africa and Asia. While the size of the investment is modest, the involvement of Patricof, one of the country's first venture capitalists, is significant. While his firm has invested in various fintech companies—most notably Venmo, Acorns, and Braintree—Patricof and Greycroft have so far shied away from the crypto-currency space.

Customer data stolen at Cex online games store
BBC | Wed Aug 30, 2017 - Second-hand gadget and video games retailer Cex has said up to two million customers have had their data stolen in an online breach. The company said the stolen data included customers' names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and some old credit card information. It has urged customers to change their password, especially if they reused their Cex password on other websites. The company said it was working with the police following the breach. Cex has more than 300 stores in the UK where people can trade in gadgets and video games, and operates the webuy.com online marketplace.

More from PaymentsSource

How Android Pay gave itself a new identity
On the surface, Android Pay may not seem that different from the Google Wallet launched four years before it. Ultimately, it took the failure of multiple mobile wallets for Android Pay to find its own path.

Marketing 'detachment' can be just as rough on e-commerce as digital fraud
With such high levels of competition from global giants like Amazon and Alibaba and millions of independent retailers, coupled with the omnipresent risk of being burned by credit card fraudsters and the consequent chargeback fees, it is more important than ever than online retailers tick all the boxes to reduce risk, writes Suresh Dakshina, CEO of Chargeback Gurus.

The vastly different views of mobile
Ask any consumer what their most-used mobile wallet is, and you'll get one answer. Ask an issuer or a merchant, and the answer could be vastly different. Here's why.

Why the U.S. still isn't fertile ground for mobile wallets
Mobile wallet adoption in the U.S. is slow, and the payments industry has only itself to blame.

Costco tests self-checkout at some stores
Costco is testing self-checkout lanes at some of its U.S. stores as part of a push to speed up the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

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