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Amex is unplugging from Jawbone's smartwatch: American Express cardholders soon won't be able to use Jawbone's Up4 fitness tracker to make NFC payments. The card company sent notices to consumers that its payment partnership with the wearable device maker will end on Jan. 18, 2018, reports Ars Technica, adding consumers can disconnect before that date to avoid an automatic shutoff. Amex will issue $10 credits to Jawbone/Amex accounts after the partnership ends. Amex's NFC payments collaboration with the Jawbone Up4 is about three years old, and was limited since users could only link to an Amex card. However, the Jawbone costs about $200, or approximately $100 less than the Apple Watch. More recently, fitness bands that support a diverse range of cards, such as the Fitbit Ionic, have debuted. And Jawbone's corporate strategy has shifted toward medical devices, according to Ars Technica, which notes the company has not aggressively marketed the fitness tracker but has also not released a medical device either.

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

Cash won't go away: Despite myriad efforts to dump cash through policy or social engineering, currency is still going strong, and is even advancing in some countries. Echoing other recent studies that show cash is not declining quickly in the face of e-commerce and digital payment options, the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that in most of the world's largest 42 economies, cash in circulation (CIC) has outpaced GDP over the past ten years, including most of Europe, North America and Asia. Norway and Sweden were the only two countries to see an outright decline in CIC over the past ten years, and in South Korea and Mexico, CIC outpaced GDP by more than 100% over the last decade. The San Francisco Fed notes non-technological reasons for the continued strength of cash, attributing it more to uncertainty in the years following the 2008 financial crisis and low interest rates in most countries.

CBA fights laundering at the ATM: The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is setting a daily deposit limit of about $20,000 at ATMs for consumers using personal cards, which can be subject to AML and other payment fraud risk such as transaction laundering. The card-based limits, which go into effect today, apply regardless of the number of deposits a consumer makes during the course of a 24 hour period. The limit is designed to strike a balance between stopping suspicious transactions—the bank is required to report each deposit of $10,000 or more—and the legitimate needs of small businesses that use ATMs for daily deposits. The bank plans to contact small businesses and other clients to make alternative arrangements if their daily needs fall outside of the new ATM limits, CBA said in a release.

Smart contracts in India: As blockchain-powered payments start to take hold in India, The State Bank of India plans to test blockchain-enabled smart contracts by the end of December with "know your customer" compliance tools to follow shortly after, reports the Economic Times. Smart contracts trigger automatic action when certain conditions are met, and have become a key part of blockchain-powered transactions such as cross-border payments and stock trades. The State Bank of India is developing a blockchain for these and other use cases for BankChain, a network of 27 banks that serve India and have agreed to collaborate on blockchain solutions.The Bank of India is also designing an innovation center in Navi Mumbai to study artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics. The moves are part of a strategy to help the banks respond to and take advantage of rapid automation in payments and other financial services in India, which is attracting technology investment from Asia, Europe and North American sources.

From the Web

Fund Targets Victims Scammed Via Western Union
Krebs on Security | Mon Nov 20, 2017 - If you, a friend or loved one lost money in a scam involving Western Union, some or all of those funds may be recoverable, thanks to a more than half-billion dollar program set up by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Last week, the FTC announced that individuals who lost money to scammers who told them to pay via Western Union’s money transfer system between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 can now file a claim to get their money back by going to FTC.gov/WU before February 12, 2018. Scammers tend to rely on money transfer businesses like Western Union and MoneyGram because once the money is sent and picked up by the recipient the transaction is generally irreversible. Such scams include transfers made for fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergencies, advance-fee loans, and online dating, among others.

Bitcoin is working well for some big-ticket purchases despite its volatility
CNBC | Mon Nov 20, 2017 - Even as some of the world's most influential investors denounce bitcoin, the digital currency has steadily moved from the "dark web" into the real world and demonstrated where it may be most practical: big payments. CNBC spoke with individuals and businesses who have paid or received thousands of dollars in bitcoin in recent weeks. They said the digital currency lets them complete transactions far more swiftly than by traditional, government-backed means.

Gold startup business gives digital currency a run for its money
The Times | Mon Nov 20, 2017 - It is more than a century since people were routinely using gold sovereigns to pay the bills and 86 years since Britain completely abandoned the gold standard. However, a startup business in London has ambitious plans to revive the payment method. Glint Pay Services says it is “reintroducing gold as money” with a debit card allowing people to store rights to gold, send it as gifts and spend it with counterparties — by the gram, or fraction of a gram. Jason Cozens, chief executive and co-founder, said he was confident there would be demand for the product which is available from today through a mobile phone app and by using a conventional Mastercard plastic card.

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Tax proposals have some good news for the payments industry: former U.S. Rep. Lazio
Beyond overall tax cuts, there's also potential benefits for investors in fintech and payments innovation, writes Rick Lazio, former Republican Representative from New York and current senior vice president at alliantgroup.

PayPal provides a UI link to automated micro-investing
PayPal is following its investment in micro-investing app with a direct link, vastly expanding the app's addressable market.

Mobile payment companies need to think beyond NFC
Successful mobile payment players such as Starbucks, Alipay and WeChat Pay all rely on optical scanning technology rather than NFC to execute payments. It's time the rest of the industry take note, writes Maikki Frisk, executive director of the Mobey Forum.