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

Hired hands: Amazon has received two patents for a wristband that can locate employees in warehouses and track their hand movements in real time, reports Geekwire. The system would include ultrasonic devices deployed in warehouses, the employee bands and a management device, reports The Verge. Amazon contends the technology will solve problems in finding items in large storage facilities. The patent would also seem to be a fit for Amazon's efforts to build a network of sensor-driven no-cashier stores, particularly if more consumers take to wearing smartwatches.

Bloomberg News

Grab adds a tech partner: Southeast Asian transportation app Grab is ramping up its rivalry with Uber, making acquisitions and adding different transport modes. Grab has now signed a memorandum of understanding with Samsung to boost digital inclusion. That will include new customer experiences, potential payment upgrades and new income opportunities for drivers. The two companies will additionally develop a mobile payments scheme for Southeast Asia.

Payments gig: The sharing or "gig" economy has attracted investment in technology that attempts to serve the complicated payroll needs of companies that use contract workers or freelancers. In a new collaboration, real-time gateway PUSH Payments and financial technology company ZayZoon are co-offering on-demand payroll services and expanded access to financial management tools for gig employees. The companies are targeting a crowded market of providers, but are starting with an addressable client base of more than 350,000 employees spread over 25,000 business, according to a release.

Belgian Messenger: Facebook Messenger is building a P-to-P business through partnerships such as PayPal. Finextra reports Facebook is expanding in another market through a service from Belgian bank Belfius, which is supporting a service that allows users to make payment requests through Messenger and WhatsApp. The payment feature is available in the Belfius mobile app and is open to anyone with a current account at the bank.

From the Web

Alibaba’s Online Growth Surges, Even as It Looks Offline
The New York Times | Thu Feb 1, 2018 - The Alibaba Group, the Chinese online shopping giant, has become so big that it is looking for growth by forging into new territory: the offline world. Alibaba has snapped up stakes in grocers and in an electronics chain over the last three years, a perhaps counterintuitive series of moves for a company that helps consumers in China buy products with their smartphones. In part, the push is driven by the eventual maturation of its online business. For now, however, online shopping still rules the roost. Alibaba on Thursday reported a one-third rise in profit for the three months that ended in December, on revenue that rose by more than half. The revenue growth rate was its slowest in a year but still came in better than expected.

Mexicans abroad sent record $28.8 bln home in 2017
Reuters | Fri Feb 2, 2018 - Mexicans abroad sent a record $28.8 billion back home in 2017, with a December rise of more than 11 percent over the year, the central bank said on Thursday, as the peso slumped on worries the United States could end a free trade deal with Mexico. Remittances rose to $2.60 billion in December from $2.34 billion 12 months earlier, Banco de Mexico said in a statement. Total transfers in 2017 were up nearly 7 percent from a record $27.0 billion in 2016.

Equifax's data breach sins live on to this year's tax season
The Hill | Thu Feb 1, 2018 - As you prepare your taxes this year, think of Equifax. Why? If you were one of the 145 million Americans who had their personal information breached at Equifax last year, you could become a victim of tax fraud. After the breach, there were a flurry of articles advising people to place credit freezes on their accounts and set up fraud alerts at each of the credit bureaus. This is good advice, but it does not prevent scammers from filing with the IRS using your Social Security Number and requesting fraudulent tax returns in your name. All you can do to protect yourself from tax identity theft is file as early as possible, so identity thieves don’t file before you do.

More from PaymentsSource

Bankwest looks inside to ensure its NFC ring is ready for prime time
The bank's commitment in the last couple of years to an "agile" environment of rapid testing and learning produced answers within a couple of months.

What happens when a payments power couple splits up
PayPal's brand is so ingrained with eBay sellers that its success forced the online marketplace to buy it in 2002. Even after the companies separated, their businesses remained intertwined. So it is no small decision for eBay to instead select Adyen as its primary payment processor.

Plenti takes another big blow as Macy's is out
The announcement comes only a month after five other retailers dropped from Plenti. AT&T had dropped out of the program three months earlier as the first retailer to leave.

'Anti-social' P-to-P hurts banks
For financial institutions to match Venmo and Apple Cash's power, they need an embedded, mobile and social payment strategy, write Richard Crone and Heidi Liebenguth of Crone Consulting.

John Adams

John Adams

John Adams is Executive Editor of PaymentsSource.