9.15.17: Your morning briefing
Welcome to the PaymentsSource Morning Briefing, delivered daily. The information you need to start your day, including top headlines from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Face/off: When describing the new Face ID system in the iPhone X, Apple cautioned that there may be some situations — such as an evil twin — where users want to disable the feature. But what if a user needs to disable the feature on a moment's notice, such as when handing the phone over to a mugger who could then unlock the device by pointing the screen at its rightful owner? Apple took that scenario into account, and created a way to quickly disable Face ID, according an email from Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering. The email, as quoted by The Verge, states that the Face ID feature can be turned off by covering the screen and pressing the buttons on either side of the phone. Users can also avoid unlocking the phone by avoiding eye contact. The process is reminiscent of the so-called "cop button" in iOS 11, which allows the user to turn off Touch ID after pressing the home button five times, The Verge reports; the nickname comes from the concern that police may force a suspect to unlock their phone with Touch ID or — as happened in one case in Michigan — use a 3D printer to duplicate a murder victim's fingerprint.
The card is in the mail: MoviePass, the startup that sells movie tickets for a flat subscription fee, is able to operate at hostile theaters because those theaters are obligated to accept its Mastercard debit card. So it's problematic that MoviePass can't get cards in the hands of all its new customers. There is now a two- to three-week delay in mailing out cards, Engadget reports, and some of those cards are going out in the wrong order. The alternative for customers is to buy e-tickets, but only a few theater chains support that format; AMC, the largest theater chain in the U.S., refuses to partner with MoviePass and has lashed out against the startup for allegedly de-valuing movie tickets.
Hong Kong wallet draws funds: NewMargin Capital is the lead investor in a $115 round in TNG fintech, a Hong Kong startup that's building a digital wallet platform. KBR Capital Partners also participated in the round, which brings TNG's value to $565 million, according to the China Money Network, which reports it's among the largest Series A funded startup in Hong Kong. TNG supports global money transfers, P-to-P payments, foreign exchange transactions and bill payments. It also recently entered a collaboration with 7-11 in Hong Kong to allow topups or withdrawals at more than 900 locations.
ICO for student housing: Universities often spark payments innovation, and a new initiative will use cryptocurrency to fund student housing. KexGill will conduct an initial coin offering from Sept. 15 to Oct. 14 to produce a cryptocurrency called KexCoin. KexGill will buy back the KexCoins, returning 50% of the profits to the investors and applying the proceeds to expand its portfolio of university housing. KexGill has about $140 million in total assets. ICOs have become increasingly popular as virtual currencies have risen in value in the past year, though there are some challenges for the model. The most notable recent pushback has come in China, where the Chinese government has banned ICOs.
From the Web
Alibaba testing face recognition technology
China Daily | Fri Sep 15, 2017 - Two units under internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd are working in tandem to test facial recognition technology that will allow users to unlock delivery drop boxes. Cainiao Network Technology Co Ltd, an Alibaba-backed courier aggregator, is promoting such an application to its partner delivery firms and parcel pickup facility providers in a test run in Shanghai, the company said during a customer conference in Shanghai on Thursday. The technology is provided by Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba's fintech subsidiary, which since September has enabled customers to pay by literally flashing a smile in a KFC store in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered.
Didi adds Apple Pay support across core mobility services
TechCrunch | Fri Sep 15, 2017 - China’s ride-hailing giant Didi is this week adding support for Apple Pay to its core personal mobility services — including Didi Premier, Didi Express, Didi Luxe and ofo, a partner station-less bike-rental service also powered by an app. Apple Pay is the mobile payment system baked into iOS, which lets users authenticate payments with a fingerprint biometric (and soon via Face ID — Apple’s new facial biometric feature in the iPhone X). Didi already supported other iOS features — such as ride-hailing by using Siri from within the Maps app, and via the Apple Watch. It says it now supports payment through WeChat Pay, Alipay, Apple Pay, QQ Wallet, international credit cards and CMB OneNet Service for core services.
Dems propose data security bill after Equifax hack
The Hill | Thu Sep 14, 2017 - Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Thursday that would press data broker companies, including recently breached credit report company Equifax, to implement better privacy and security practices. "We need to shed light on this ‘shadow’ industry of surreptitious data collection that has amassed covert dossiers on hundreds of millions of Americans," Markey said of his "The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act" in a press release. The Equifax breach gave hackers potential access to the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans. Though best known for credit reports, Equifax is also a data broker, selling the data it amasses to advertisers to aid in targeted advertisements and services. The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would mandate "comprehensive" privacy and security programs at data brokers and allow the public to opt out of having their data included in data sales. The FTC would be in charge of enforcement.
More from PaymentsSource
In the digital era, can products become their own merchants?
Despite lowering barriers and eliminating borders for commerce, the internet still makes it clunky comparison-shop for products across multiple sites. It's even clunkier when the consumer wants to fill an order with items from multiple merchants.
Artificial intelligence, blockchain make a powerful team for payments innovation
In the world of financial services and payments technology, a growing asset is artificial intelligence (AI), which is capable of completing tasks with limited human oversight.
Can Amazon make a tech hub out of Whole Foods?
In late August, Whole Foods started selling Echos as soon as it completed its sale to the e-commerce giant. It may seem like an odd item to stock at a grocery store, but there's a solid strategy behind it.
Vantiv, Visa Direct partner to speed up merchant payments
Rather than waiting one to three days for funds through the Automated Clearing House system, merchants will be able to receive settlement payments straight to their debit cards within minutes through a partnership between Visa and the processor Vantiv.