4.3.19 Your morning briefing

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

Beyond Prime
Amazon is cutting prices at Whole Foods by about 20%, mostly on produce, as it seeks to bring in more grocery shoppers beyond its Prime membership base.

Slow traffic could be part of it. CNN, citing Wolfe Research, reports Prime members aren't shopping heavily at Whole Foods, noting 18% of Prime members shop at Whole Foods at least once per month and 70% of Prime members say they rarely or never shop at Whole Foods.

The e-commerce giant has been offering incentives to shop at Whole Foods to its Prime consumers, and the combination is considered a way for Amazon to compete with other supermarket chains.
Closer to home
eBay will shut down the eBay Commerce Network, a service merchants use to advertise based on consumer shopping on third party sites; and instead is directing merchants to other marketing programs such as affiliate marketing and the eBay Partner Network.

The move, which is effective May 1, is part of several changes underway at eBay, including adding officers from Elliott Management Corp. and Starwood Value to determine possible divestitures of non-core assets and third party relationships.

Elliott earlier contended eBay has been underperforming since its split from PayPal, which was partly driven by another activist investor, Carl Ichan.

Data breach
A data breach at Georgia Tech has impacted as many as 1.3 million current and former students and staff at the university.

It's the second breach in a year for the university, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution, adding the exposed data includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers and birth dates — all information that could be used downstream to infiltrate e-commerce and bank accounts.

Miles and miles
Delta Airlines extended its card relationship with American Express, covering Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards through 2029.

Amex has made some changes to the co-branded card, including adding discounts to lure younger travelers. Delta represents about 7% of Amex's billings.

Air Canada also recently signed Amex to a 10-year deal to be a partner in Air Canada's new loyalty program, which is set to launch in 2020.

From the Web

Stripe hires PayPal veteran to steer Asia-Pacific business
The Business Times | Wed April 3, 2019 - Payments startup firm Stripe has hired a veteran from PayPal to head its business in the Asia-Pacific. Rahul Shinghal was last PayPal's Singapore-based head of small and medium-sized businesses.

China slow-walks opening country to U.S. credit card companies
Politico | Tue April 2, 2019 - A trade deal between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump could finally fulfill a long-delayed promise to open up China’s multitrillion-dollar market for credit card and other payment methods to American companies such as Mastercard, American Express and Visa. But any agreement reached might be too little, too late.

5-Star Swiss Hotel Set to Accept Bitcoin Payments
CoinDesk | Wed April 3, 2019 - The Dolder Grand, a five-star hotel based in Switzerland, will begin accepting bitcoin payments starting next month. Once the new payment method goes live, guests can pay for accommodation, food and beverages or spa treatments using bitcoin.

More from PaymentsSource

Walmart plugs into Google to compete with Amazon Alexa shopping
Walmart customers will soon be able to shop for groceries online using Google hardware, giving the retailer an established market for voice ordering — that is still a distant second to Amazon's Alexa user base.

Dorsey wants Square, Twitter 'decentralized' from headquarters
Jack Dorsey said he hopes the companies he co-founded, Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., won’t be tethered to their headquarters in San Francisco.

Visa pilots a gig-worker payments app for large companies
As the faster-payments movement gradually increases the speed of transfers, the use cases for immediate debit push payments are becoming more specialized.

Wells Fargo joins the big-bank movement to contactless cards
Wells Fargo & Co. has committed to converting all of its payment cards to contactless technology, beginning with credit cards and adding contactless debit cards this summer.

PayPal invests in Cambridge Blockchain startup
PayPal has joined a funding round for startup Cambridge Blockchain, reportedly the first investment the online payments giant has made in distributed ledger technology.

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