Morning Brief 11.11.19: Apple Card under fire for gender bias allegations
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:
The New York State Department of Financial Services plans to investigate Apple Card issuer Goldman Sachs after a viral tweet accused it of gender discrimination.
Tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson accused Apple and its issuer of sexism for giving him 20 times the credit limit as his wife; Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak tweeted about a similar experience, having received 10 times the credit limit as his wife, despite having similar credit profiles.
At question is whether the algorithms Goldman Sachs uses are producing a biased outcome, Bloomberg reports.
The crypto files
Cryptocurrency is a "significant" law enforcement issue that's getting larger over time, according to the FBI, which is throwing more of its resources at alternative currencies.
Under questioning from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, at a congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray said cryptocurrency created the opportunity for evidence, money, communication and other information to be "walled off," reports Coindesk.
Cryptocurrency's anonymous model has long caused concerns about laundering and other crime, and there's some evidence to support those worries. In the past few days, it was reported that North Korea's government has used cryptocurrency hacks to get around sanctions.
U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer has added an installment pay feature for purchases over about $50 for the holiday shopping season, enabling purchases to be spread over six weeks with no interest.
The retailer is working with Clearpay, the U.K. arm of Australian fintech Afterpay Touch Group, reports Finextra.
Installment payments have gained ground recently as an alternative to credit cards, boosted by firms such as Klarna, Splitit and Affirm.
Andreessen Horowitz has launched a startup school, which is actually a means for the firm to spot new crypto startups.
It's hosting lectures and workshops in Menlo Park, which will also be available on video, on subjects related to cryptocurrency and starting cryptocurrency companies, reports TechCrunch. The program is not an incubator or a formal networking program, but it would presumably provide the VC firm with access to cryptocurrency and fintech developers.
The blockchain investment market has expanded, but has also become more competitive in the past year. Andreesen Horowitz is a major fintech investor, with a portfolio that includes Stripe, among others.
Cryptocurrency has long struggled to build support among merchants for retail payments — even Facebook's Libra would have to convince merchants to get on board if and when it does launch.
In a new collaboration, Worldline and Bitcoin Suisse are approaching Swiss merchants with a system that will use Worldline's SIX Payment Services in an attempt to create a network effect for cryptocurrency payments.
The companies hope to find demand in Zug, a Swiss technology hub that's home to a number of cryptocurrency firms.
From the web
Deutsche Bank tech failings hit thousands of payments
FINANCIAL TIMES | Mon November 11, 2019
Deutsche Bank has been forced to admit to regulators its role in the UK payment system still suffers serious problems, years after it was first placed in remediation, which has led to tens of thousands of transactions for clients such as Amazon being held up. Deutsche executives met Bank of England officials two weeks ago to explain the latest failings. They came to light after internal auditors reviewed the lender’s annual submission to supervisors detailing how well it is complying with the standards expected, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Alibaba to invest $3.3B to bump its stake in logistics unit Cainiao
TECH CRUNCH | Fri November 8, 2019
Alibaba is doubling down on its logistics affiliate Cainiao, two years after acquiring a majority stake in the firm. The Chinese giant said today it would invest an additional 23.3 billion yuan (about $3.33 billion) to raise its equity in Cainiao to 63% (from 51%).
EU states back new reporting rules for card payments
REUTERS | Fri November 8, 2019
EU member states provisionally approved new reporting rules for card companies on Friday to combat value added tax (VAT) fraud in cross-border e-commerce. The Council of the European Union, which represents the bloc’s 28 member states, said the new rules will enable countries to collect in a harmonized way electronic records from payments companies like banks that operate credit and debit cards used to buy goods online.
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