9.5.17: 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:

Smile at KFC: A KFC location in China has introduced Alipay's "smile to pay" facial recognition system, as part of an effort to lure younger consumers. Yum China Holdings, which operates the country's KFC locations, is partnering with Ant Financial's Alipay to power the smile pay feature at a high-tech concept KFC location in Hangzhou in eastern China, the first deployment of Ant's facial recognition software, which Ant introduced as a concept in Germany two years ago. Consumers pay by scanning their faces at an ordering kiosk and entering their phone number as a security precaution. Reuters reports Yum is trying to boost sales in China following a series of food safety scares and changing consumer tastes in that past five years. Other companies such as Mastercard have also developed facial recognition technology as an authentication option.
Nacha changes exec roles: Nacha has appointed Jane Larimer chief operating officer, a new position created at the electronic payments association as Nacha pushes its faster payment initiatives. Larimer has been executive vice president of ACH Network Services and general counsel, and will continue in the general counsel role. "[Larimer's] leadership experience coupled with her vast knowledge of the ACH Network and the needs of our members and the industry make her the right person to lead a broader set of Nacha's operations," said Janet Estep, president and CEO of Nacha, in a release. In another move, Nacha named Michael Herd senior vice president of ACH Network Administration, a change from his role as senior managing director of ACH Network Rules, reporting to Larimer. Larimer's reports will also include Jeanette Blanco, a lawyer and payments industry veteran, who Nacha has hired to serve as associate general counsel. And George Throckmorton, managing director of network development, will now report directly to Estep and will work on Nacha initiatives in API development, consulting and strategic relations.

Payconiq's new digs: Digital transfer company Payconiq has relocated to Luxembourg from Amsterdam, a move the firm says will drive its expansion deeper into Europe. Using a model similar to the bank-powered P-to-P network Zelle, Payconiq got its start as part of ING's innovation hub, though it operates as an independent company. As it moves to Luxembourg, Payconiq has received an investment round of undisclosed value from ING, KBC and Belfius. Payconiq also hopes to add more international banks to its transfer network. In addition to transfers, Payconiq offers retail payments.

Fiserv closes Monitise deal: Bank technology vendor Fiserv has completed its purchase of Monitise, adding a portfolio of financial clients and FINkit, a cloud service designed to hasten speed to market for new digital services. Fiserv initially announced the $88 million deal in June, and the acquisition is expected to add substantial development capabilities in Europe. Additionally, Fiserv will be able to use Monitise's mobile technology assets to offer banks the ability to build their own mobile wallets as an alternative to the third party "Pays" such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

From the Web

UK at centre of secret $3bn Azerbaijani money laundering and lobbying scheme
The Guardian | Mon Sep 4, 2017 - Leaked data reveals thousands of covert payments, including to European politicians and journalists. Azerbaijan’s ruling elite operated a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) scheme to pay prominent Europeans, buy luxury goods and launder money through a network of opaque British companies, an investigation by the Guardian reveals. Leaked data shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections, made more than 16,000 covert payments from 2012 to 2014.

London developer to allow rental tenants to pay deposits in bitcoin
The Guardian | Mon Sep 4, 2017 - A London property developer is to allow its tenants to pay their deposits in bitcoin – the first time the virtual currency has been used in the UK residential homes market. Co-living pioneer The Collective has announced that prospective tenants can pay deposits from Monday in bitcoin. By the end of this year it will also accept rent payments in the cryptocurrency. This is the first time in the UK a major property developer has enabled bitcoin payments. The Collective said it was in response to demand predominantly from international customers.

Contactless means your car keys are the debit card of the future
The Guardian | Sat Sep 2, 2017 - Fancy a chip attached to your fingernail to let you pay for goods in shops? Or a tattoo on your hand that lets you wave and pay when boarding a bus or train? Or giving your bank a print of your retina, so all that’s needed is a scan of your eye? These are just some of the ideas being studied by Barclaycard and Visa as the contactless spending revolution continues. More immediately, the first car keys to have a contactless Barclaycard chip embedded in them were launched this week with DS Automobiles, part of Peugeot-Citroën. Fitbit, the exercise tracker, also this week introduced a band that incorporates a contactless payment chip. With the Ionic tracker, due to go on sale next month, cardholders will be able to pay with Fitbit Pay. Meanwhile, on Thursday Visa also announced a partnership with Garmin, perhaps best known for its satnav and GPS products. Its Vivoactive 3 smartwatch will allow wearers to be able to pay via their watch.

More from PaymentsSource

Mobile's risk/experience balance rests on a safer internet
Any attempt add speed and efficiency to the mobile payments experience has faced an increase in breaches and fraud, bringing digital payments and authentication to a critical crossroads.

Chatbots can move retailers to next-gen payments
Chatbots and artificial intelligence are still in their infancy. In a relatively short time, they have been implemented in a variety of industries, all clamoring to be on the cutting edge of new technology.

6 unconventional mobile wallets
In a market seemingly dominated by "Pays" from smartphone makers, a few companies are taking a much different approach to mobile payments. Here are some of the more extreme examples.

Blackhawk's M&A move portends robust growth in digital gifting
Blackhawk's $175 million acquisition of CashStar goes beyond synergies and vendor consolidation, demonstrating the often overlooked evolution of the prepaid gift market from display walls in stores to automated delivery across digital and social channels.

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