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Apple Pay picks up steam: It wasn't that long ago that Apple Pay was struggling to catch on in a manner matching its hype, but there are signs the mobile wallet is catching on. Apple Pay is live in 16 markets, and captures 90% of the mobile contactless transactions where it is available, said Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of Apple Pay, quoted by 9to5 Mac. Apple Pay will launch in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UAE in the next few days, bringing its total to 20 markets that account for 70% of the world's card transaction volume. Apple is also internally testing Apple Pay Cash, a service that Apple plans to release this year as a counter to PayPal's Venmo, according to Bailey. Like Venmo, Apple Pay Cash will power P-to-P transfers and will support payments at any retailer or company that accepts Apple Pay.

Bloomberg News

Alipay's travels: Alipay has made many moves to expand its services for travelers outside of China, and its latest deal is designed to upgrade the user experience at points of sale. Alipay will collaborate with Marqeta, a company that supports an application programming interface that merchants use enable digital payments. Alipay hopes to power real-time payments processing at Marqeta's merchant network inside the U.S. Alipay has more than 520 million registered users, which makes it an attractive target for U.S. companies looking to reach travelers. “The Marqeta platform will ensure a seamless user and merchant experience across the U.S. that Alipay’s customers need when traveling and shopping abroad,” said Jason Gardner, CEO of Marqeta, in a release. In a separate deal, Alipay said it would work with JPMorgan Chase to enable Chinese travelers in the U.S. to make payments at Chase's merchants via the Alipay Mobile Wallet.

Pay with Google goes live: Google is supporting payments for any card a user has on file, such as cards saved for Google Play, YouTube, Chrome or Android Pay. Called Pay with Google, the service formally launched today, and is designed for easy implementation--app makers and retailers can add Pay with Google with a couple of lines of code through Google's application programming interface, part of Google's strategy to boost its mobile payment share by connecting to cards other than those saved to Android Pay. Google has also partnered with more than 40 payment companies for easier integration than the coding, including Braintree, Stripe, Vantiv, Worldpay, and Adyen. Online service providers live at launch include Eat24, Doordash, Postmates, with Airbnb, Papa John's, Subhub and others expected to launch in the short term.

Poppy appeal: The Royal British Legion is distributing more than 200 mobile terminals to accept contactless payments during this year's Poppy Appeal fundraiser to benefit veterans. Payment technology provider Cardnet is supplying the terminals, which will have preset levels of £2, £3 and £5. Fundraising has proven to be a popular use case for contactless payments, with Ingenico and ANZ collaborating on a fundraiser in New Zealand; the Church of England introducing the technology this past summer; and GM adopting the technology as part of its participation in the recent Stand up to Cancer fundraiser.

Shopkick shifts gears: Shopkick is restructuring its staff to focus more on e-commerce than its original model of increasing traffic in stores and malls through a shopping rewards app. The company has cut more than 10% of its staff, or about 30 people, and will hire about 20 engineers, developers and data experts to refocus the company on digital marketing and commerce, reports TechCrunch. The company will still focus on retail, though that vertical is not growing fast, Shopkick CEO Bill Demans told the technology news site. E-commerce is growing faster—the company has nine online and mobile retailers on board, and expects to add dozens more by the end of the year. To serve this segment, Shopkick will develop a data platform to analyze buying patterns and preferences.

From the Web

Millions caught in South Africa's 'worst data breach'
BBC News | Fri Oct 20, 2017 - Authorities in South Africa are investigating a data breach which has seen the personal details of more than 30 million citizens leaked on the internet - placing them at risk of identity theft. The information contained in a 27GB file was discovered by Australia-based internet security expert Troy Hunt earlier this week. It contains their names, full identity numbers, income, gender, employment history, contact numbers and even home addresses. South Africa's population is about 54 million, so more than half of the country is affected by what has been described as the country's worst leak of private data. The country's State Security Agency (SSA) would not be drawn into discussing the implications of such a breach and whether it could threaten security.

Transferwise resumes Nigeria money transfers citing confidence in naira
Reuters | Fri Oct 20, 2017 - Money transfer company Transferwise has resumed remittances to Nigeria after a 17-month break, having confidence in the central bank’s handling of the naira, its chief executive said on Friday. Remittances or money transfers make up the second-largest source of foreign exchange receipts in Africa’s biggest economy, after oil revenues. Around $20 billion a year is sent to Nigeria, according to the World Bank. Transferwise, one of Europe’s most well-funded fintech companies, ceased its service to Nigeria in April 2016 saying it felt it could not offer a true mid-market rate and a transparent fee.

Whole Foods says hacking incident resolved
Reuters | Sat Oct 21, 2017 - Amazon.com Inc’s Whole Foods Market said on Friday it had replaced affected point-of-sale systems at venues located within some stores where payment card information had been stolen. The upscale grocer last month disclosed card information had been stolen from taprooms, restaurants and other venues located within some of its stores. Whole Foods, which Amazon recently purchased for $13.7 billion, said transactions on Amazon.com had not been impacted. The investigation found unauthorized software was present on the point-of-sale systems at certain venues, the company said.

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