8.7.17: Your morning briefing

Register now

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:

Is there a limit to Amazon's power?: Following Amazon's agreement to acquire Whole Foods, a move that sent a shockwave through the grocery industry, thoughts have turned to where Amazon may look next. One possible target for expansion is its payments business, which processed about $6 billion in 2016, double 2015's volume, according to Business Insider and other press reports, citing data from Goldman Sachs. While that growth is fast, PayPal's volume is still much higher, notes Goldman Sachs, countering some speculation from earlier in the year that Amazon's fast e-commerce expansion and forays into traditional retail could, if paired with a payments app, pose a threat to PayPal. PayPal is 57 times larger than Amazon Payments, according to Goldman Sachs, which reports PayPal's volume in 2016 was about $336 billion, not counting Venmo. PayPal also has partnerships with 14 of the largest 20 online merchants in the U.S., which Goldman says should keep PayPal safe for now. Amazon could make inroads against PayPal by offering incentives for consumers who choose Amazon Payments over PayPal, Goldman said, noting the PayPal and Amazon Payments footprints have a 90% overlap.
Fiserv offers a bit more for Monitise: Fiserv's initial offer to buy payments technology Monitise was too low for Monitise's investors, so Fiserv has upped its offer, according to Reuters. The new offer is about $98 million, up from the original price of about $88 million, according the report. That's still a bargain, given Monitise was valued at more than $1.4 billion as recently as three years ago. Monitise's directors have recommended accepting the increased offer. Fiserv's directors have recommended its directors accept the offer, reminding them the Monitise has said it would need to consider divesting the business if the deal were to collapse.

Capital One's budget app shutting down: Level Money, an app that helps consumers track payments and match transactions against money available in their accounts, is shutting down. Capital One purchased Level Money in 2015, at a time when the app had raised $5 million and has 700,000 users, TechCrunch reports. Level Money's shutdown blog post said there are other options for people to track their payments and budget their funds, an apparent reference to personal financial management apps such as Mint. Level is no longer in the Apple App Store and Google Play store, but it will remain active until Aug. 31. Capital One is also working on other money saving tools, according to Level's blog post.

Shopify finds its voice: Shopify is pushing its 500,000 merchants to run their businesses through bots or voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, reports VentureBeat. Shopify is expanding its conversational computing strategy, which started with the company's 2016 acquisition of Kit, a text-based virtual assistant. The latest move in its strategy emphasizes voice, though it isn't a requirement. Brandon Chu, Shopify's product director, told VentureBeat that merchants should be able to perform any store function via voice technology. Shopify's Alexa skill launched in January with no marketing, since the company wanted to find out how merchants would use it and what kinds of questions they merchants want the program to answer. Shopify also recently add more technology to help e-commerce companies handle physical sales, and entered a collaboration with eBay.

From the Web

Big banks are going after Venmo and Venmo is winning
Yahoo! Finance | Fri Aug 4, 2017 - Between 2011 and 2014, a consortium of six big banks banded together—Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo—to create their own payment system called clearXchange. Eventually snowballing into a consortium of 34 heavy-hitting partners of the banking world, clearXchange could not chalk up a win against Venmo in the payments wars. The banks shrunk back to their corner and emerged in June, officially rebranding clearXchange as “Zelle.” Users can use Zelle to pay each other from inside their bank’s app.

MasterCard Uses Film For Anti-Bribery Compliance Training
The Wall Street Journal | Fri Aug 4, 2017 - MasterCard Inc. used a novel tactic for its latest round of anti-bribery compliance training: It released an 11-minute film recreating the story of Richard Bistrong, who is now chief executive of an anti-bribery consulting firm who but who previously went to jail for violating U.S. anti-bribery and U.K. trade laws.

Apple Pay Adoption ‘Underwhelming,’ Goldman Sachs Says
Fortune | Fri Aug 4, 2017 - All of the big smartphone players have introduced much-touted mobile payment systems over the past few years, but most U.S. consumers are tuning out the hype. Apple, Samsung, and Google have yet to convince many people to use their wireless solutions on a regular basis, according to a new report on Friday from analysts at Goldman Sachs. "Despite much publicity upon launch, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay have struggled to gain traction," the analysts concluded. "Mobile wallet adoption has been underwhelming to date by nearly every objective standard, including initial penetration of smartphone users and repeat usage rate."

More from PaymentsSource

Rethinking ID to keep travelers' payments from getting stranded
Even the most honest customers can look risky if they frequently travel. Their movements can throw off traditional vetting techniques that authenticate transactions by looking at location as a risk factor.

Synthetic account fraud a likely culprit in issuers’ rising charge-off rates
Credit card issuers are beginning to see significant upticks in credit card account charge-offs, with Discover the latest to report a spike, flagging a 55% hike in losses during most recent quarter. But what exactly is driving the increase?

7 ways to reinvent the plastic card
From gold plating to silicon guts, the plastic card is not what it used to be. Here are some of the most ambitious attempts to make credit and debit cards relevant in a high-tech world.

Dentacoin debuts, bringing blockchain to dentistry
A Netherlands-based startup called Dentacoin is setting up a blockchain-based system enabling patients to pay for dental care with its Ethereum-based tokens guaranteeing lifelong, fully covered dental care.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.