Morning Brief 9.6.19: Apple exec Jennifer Bailey teases Apple crypto

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

Apple coin

Facebook Libra is taking a lot of air out of the room regarding crypto payments, but other big companies such as Bank of America and Walmart have filed patents that could fuel blockchain payment projects; and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey says he's supporting bitcoin over forming his own cryptocurrency.

Apple has been relatively silent until now. Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of internet services, told CNN the company is "watching cryptocurrency," adding crypto has a lot of potential.

Apple recently debuted Apple Card, and the company has been enrolling banks, merchants and consumers in Apple Pay for years, giving it a base to work with for cryptocurrency. But like Facebook and other large tech firms, Apple would likely face regulatory pushback.

Print edition

In other Apple news: The fingerprint reader may be coming back to iPhones in 2020.

The new version will reside under the display, and would complement the existing Face ID system used for biometric authentication, according to Bloomberg. Apple uses Face ID and Touch ID to approve payments made through its mobile devices.

When Apple announced Face ID in 2017, it said the system was much stronger than its older Touch ID system — unless the user has an evil twin. In that case, the company advised using a passcode.

Big Grab

Grab, a prominent Asian ride-hailing provider, plans to invest $150 million in AI research over the course of the next year, building on a $100 million investment it has already made, Straits Times reports.

One focus of this investment will be using AI to improve service to passengers who speak localized languages. It is working with Microsoft to improve its natural language processing tech, the article states.

Grab launched its own financial arm last year, and in June announced plans to offer a cobranded payment card from Citigroup.

Go with the flow

Upflow, a French startup that tracks invoice payments, has raised $2.7 million in funding from Kima Ventures, eFounders and others.

To move companies off of using Excel spreadsheets for this task, Upflow creates a "payment brick" between the company's bank account and its customers, TechCrunch explains.

This system helps provide data about recurring customers — and how much they owe.

Smooth sailing

AVM Holding, the Venice public transport provider, is working with SIA to allow crew of the city's "vaporetto" boats to accept contactless card and mobile payments.

The service should launch by year end, the companies announced. Crew will use an Android-based terminal from Pax Italia to accept payments for rides. The devices can also read locally purchased tickets and passes.

SIA also plans to develop a dedicated app store for the devices to enable crews to offer more services to passengers.

From the Web

FOCUS-Citigroup doubles down on credit cards even as U.S. economy softens
REUTERS | Fri September 6, 2019

Despite signs that the U.S. economy is slowing, New York-based Citigroup Inc is betting big on credit cards. Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. card issuer has been among the most aggressive promoters of zero-interest balance transfers.

Unsecured Facebook Databases Leak Data Of 419 Million Users
FORBES | Thu September 5, 2019
The latest blow to the new privacy-friendly Facebook facade came just last night as news of a data leak exposing the phone numbers linked to 419 million user accounts broke. This security SNAFU really couldn't have come at a worse time for Facebook, as is evidenced by the efforts to minimize the number of phone numbers concerned.

How AI Is Protecting Against Payments Fraud
FORBES | Thu September 5, 2019
80% of fraud specialists using AI-based platforms believe the technology helps reduce payments fraud. 63.6% of financial institutions that use AI believe it is capable of preventing fraud before it happens, making it the most commonly cited tool for this purpose.

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