12.18.18 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Who goes there?
As Amazon builds out its household transaction capabilities by adding bill payments to Alexa and Ring devices, the e-commerce company is also enhancing its voice security to ease authentication.

Amazon has built a security panel controller that lets users control systems by voice, with options such as arm, set day parts such as night and day, and check in. Users still have to manually enable disarming by voice, reports Engadget.

Amazon has made other in-home moves tied to Alexa that have order and pay capabilities, such as automotive and microwave technology, in some cases to ward off competition from the likes of Samsung's Family Hub refrigerator and BMW's in-car voice assistant technology.
Holiday spirit
Not only are people using mobile devices exponentially more for holiday purchases, but they're paying for things that are more tied to the season.

Australia's ANZ bank reports customers used a mobile device 120 percent more in October 2018 than October 2017, with department stores, delivery services and electronics all among the top shopping categories.

That's in contrast to the rest of the year, when supermarkets, gas stations and cafes are the most popular categories, according to the bank.

More than a ride
Ride hailing apps such as Uber have turned to mobile delivery for diversification, a strategy that Middle Eastern app Careem has also adopted.

Careem's delivery feature supports pharmaceuticals, food and other commonly delivered items, according to Reuters, which reports Careem is facing increased competition in its market from Uber.

Careem launched in 2012 and is live in about 120 cities in 15 countries, according to Reuters.

Cloud transit
The Flanders region of Belgium will undergo an overhaul of its transit ticketing and payment system.

There will be two phases, one that will support contactless card payments. The second will use account based ticketing in which the commuter's ticket is stored in a cloud, which commuters can access via any payment card or mobile app — creating an open loop system, according to a release from Conduent Transportation, the project's technology vendor.

Transit payment projects have accelerated in recent years, as commuter ticketing is seen as habit-changing and thus a gateway for broader payment technology adoption.

From the Web

Saxo Bank to buy Dutch online lender BinckBank for $480 million
Reuters | Mon December 17, 2018 - Saxo Bank is to buy Dutch online bank BinckBank for around $480 million to expand in the online trading and investment business where competition is heating up. Traditional banks are having to compete with fintech startups, new payment providers and large internet platforms like Amazon venturing into the payment industry.

NTT DOCOMO mobile overseas remittance service launches in China, Thailand
Verdict | Mon December 17, 2018 - Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO has introduced its docomo Money Transfer mobile overseas remittance service in China and Thailand. With the move, customers can make money transfers to 70 banks and financial institutions in China along with 28 in Thailand.

12 Taiwan national forest recreation areas accept mobile payments
Taiwan News | Mon December 17, 2018 - Twelve national forest recreation areas in Taiwan have adapted themselves to accepting mobile payment, which has become a trending payment in recent years, according to a recent news release posted by the Forestry Bureau, which administers the country’s national recreation areas.

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Western Union, MoneyGram pile on mobile tech to counter fintechs in emerging markets
Cross-border payment startups like TransferWise and Xoom achieved rapid market growth by enabling consumers in emerging markets to receive funds via mobile wallets, cutting out intermediaries. Now legacy remittance giants Western Union and MoneyGram are improving their own resources to send funds directly to recipients' mobile wallets.

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