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Alexa finds its voice in Australia: Australia's Westpac and NAB are supporting Amazon's Alexa via their mobile banking apps, giving Amazon a boost in adding payments and marketing to the service. Westpac's integration will provide voice commerce for payments, budget queries, spending history, reward points status and other financial services; while NAB will allow consumers to access deposit and payment functions and data, reports CanStar. Westpac plans an update that will embed financial news in daily news updates.

Bloomberg News

Corporate divide: European regulators have added rules designed to ensure card brands and their subsidiary processors are independent in an effort to encourage competition. Under the pending regulations, retailers will be able to choose the processor they feel is most compatible with their business needs in line with the European Commission's cap on interchange fees and a 2015 rule that requires payment brands to separate processing and card businesses. The new rules, which go into effect on Feb. 7, impose more limits on information exchange, separate corporate structure and distinct decision making between card and processing businesses.

That's the ticket: iOS business technology seller Infinite Peripherals is partnering with Tickets.com to integrate NFC contactless payments for iPhone and Apple Watch at live events. The release follows a test of NFC payments with the Oakland Athletics in 2017 and the Society for Performing Arts in Houston. The two companies will add more Major League Baseball and performance venues in international markets this year. The ticketing technology integrates Infinite Peripherals mobile point of sale with Tickets.com's marketplace to support venue entry via iPhone, Apple Watch or contactless passes.

PSD2 contractor: The Payment Services Directive phase 2 (PSD2) is yielding benefits for technology vendors that can power the technology sharing between third parties and banks that is expected to follow the regulation. The U.K.'s Open Banking Implementation Entity this week hired Contego to perform identity checks and verify users that access personal account data for third party developers, reports Finextra. The open banking standard is now in effect, and Contego will use a single API for onboarding in compliance with online applications, real-time ID and mobile ID document capture.

From the Web

Exclusive: Brazil credit card processor Stone plans New York IPO: sources
Reuters | Fri Jan 19, 2018 - Brazilian credit card processing firm Stone Pagamentos SA is planning its initial public offering in New York by the second half of the year, three people with knowledge of the matter said, to raise funds to compete with larger rivals Cielo SA and the Rede division of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA. Stone has discussed with investment banks a transaction in which the company would raise money and some shareholders would sell part of their stakes, the sources added, asking for anonymity because the talks are still private.

Charleston Jason's Deli possibly impacted by nationwide credit, debit card data theft
ABC News | Fri Jan 19, 2018 - The Jason’s Deli on Savannah Highway in Charleston is one of four locations in South Carolina and 163 across 15 states the restaurant chain says may have been impacted by a financial data breach in December. The restaurant chain says on its website that payment processors notified company officials on Dec. 22 a large quantity of credit and debit card information linked to Jason’s Deli restaurants had appeared for sale on the “dark web.”

Bitcoin's fluctuations are too much for even ransomware cybercriminals
The Guardian | Thu Jan 18, 2018 - Bitcoin’s price swings are so huge that even ransomware developers are dialing back their reliance on the currency, according to researchers at cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. Over the last quarter of 2017, researchers saw a fall of 73% in payment demands denominated in bitcoin. When demanding money to unlock a victim’s data, cybercriminals are now more likely to simply ask for a figure in US dollars, or a local currency, than specify a sum of bitcoin.

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