8.28.18 Your morning briefing

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

Cashierless in Seattle
Amazon Go has opened a second store in Seattle, part of a relatively small expansion plan that also covers Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The second Seattle store is smaller than the flagship and will not have a working kitchen and liquor section, according to The Verge. The new store is designed for office workers and will have ready-to-eat meals, baked goods and Amazon's meal kits.

Despite Amazon Go's slow start, the concept has inspired myriad competitors who hope to sell cashierless technology to brick-and-mortar grocery chains.
Smart city
Singapore's central bank is collaborating with the Singapore Exchange, Nasdaq, Deloitte and Anquan to build smart contract-powered payments and securities trades.

The partners are launching a new phase of Project Ubin, which is developing new use cases for a distributed ledger. In this case, they are developing an automatic settlement system for tokenized assets across different blockchains.

Project Ubin is also designed to improve government digital currencies, which are seen as inadequate to manage emerging faster payment requirements.

Fintech spinoff
Equity Group Holdings, Kenya's second largest bank, is spinning off Finserve, its fintech unit.

Finserve has supported several mobile banking and payments projects over the past several years, including integrations with remittance operators, card networks, AliPay and WeChat, reports Finextra.

The spinoff comes at the same time as Finserve launches an API to accelerate the deployment of mobile payment apps.

Hate speech petition
Financial services companies are under pressure to halt access to hate groups, which often use payment networks to fund their activities.

A petition from Care2 reports it has 8,000 signatures to call on PayPal to cut payments to hate groups, particularly after PayPal's move to halt transactions for white nationalist groups after 2017's violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Care2 contends similar groups are still using PayPal to send payments in violation of the payment company's policy.

From the Web

Airlines Cash In on Loyalty Credit Cards
The Wall Street Journal | Mon August 27, 2018 - Airlines are inundating customers with credit-card offers, hoping to widen a lucrative and steady revenue stream as they rely more on income beyond fares. Every major U.S. carrier earned more from credit-card and loyalty programs in the second quarter than during the year-earlier period, financial disclosures show. For many airlines, those increases outpaced overall sales growth. Much of the revenue comes from the credit cards associated with loyalty programs, though the programs don’t necessarily require customers to have a credit card.

With Samsung Pay linking to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, world’s smartphone leader is looking beyond specs as Chinese phones pose larger threat
South China Morning Post | Tue August 28, 2018 - Yiyin Zhao, head of IT and mobile communications at Samsung Hong Kong, agrees that Hongkongers have more spending power and much wider access to different phone brands, and thus making them among the hardest group of phone users to impress.

84% of companies are dabbling in blockchain, new survey says
CNBC | Mon August 27, 2018 - Companies don't want to be left off of the blockchain bandwagon. In a new report published by PwC on Monday, 84 percent of executives surveyed said their companies are "actively involved" with the technology. "Everyone is talking about blockchain, and no one wants to be left behind," according to PwC's 2018 Global Blockchain Survey, which included 600 executives from 15 territories.

More from PaymentsSource

FX investment drives change at Canada's Central 1
Canada’s credit unions have been losing out to the country’s banks in terms of business banking market share, and have struggled to keep up with the banks’ capacity for technological innovation. Central 1 wants to redress this imbalance in the credit unions’ ability to compete with the banks.

Digital transactions' speed is a gateway to account fraud
Fraud related to account opening has become a costly issue in the digital age.

Faster Payments, PSD2 spur interest in behavioral biometrics
The advent of Faster Payments services plus Europe’s PSD2 have heightened concerns among banks about increased fraud risks. This has created opportunities for firms such as New York/Israel’s BioCatch and Sweden’s BehavioSec, both of which develop technology around behavioral biometrics analysis.

Citi adds Spotify to Asian Pay with Points program
To expand its Asia Pacific regional reward redemption program, Pay with Points, Citi announced that it is enabling credit cardholders to spend their rewards points and miles to pay for a Spotify premium account.

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