6.28.19 Your morning briefing

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

Bank Calibra?

Facebook's cryptocurrency project, which involves a subsidiary called Calibra to provide financial services, has already drawn global pushback from regulators. A suggestion one of its executives made would likely draw even more attention if it goes beyond a TV interview.

Kevin Weil, vice president of product at Calibra, told CNBC if the digital Calibra wallet is successful, the company might add other financial services, saying "you could imagine things like credit." Weil did not mention any specific plans for services beyond crypto payments.

More immediately, Weil said Calibra will boost Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Checkout by allowing more people to shop by using Facebook's apps.

JCPenney turns Apple Pay back on

JCPenney has reportedly resumed accepting Apple Pay, about two months after shutting it off over a contactless EMV deadline.

JCPenney began accepting Apple Pay again in June, MacRumors reported, attributing the news to a tweet from the retailer to a consumer. The retailer originally attributed the shutoff to a "third-party credit card brand" (Visa) that required support for EMV contactless payments on April 13 over existing MSD contactless technology. JCPenney, an early adopter of Apple Pay in 2015, cited resources and timeframe as the reasons for its suspension. Apple Card has also emerged as a threat, since it's primarily designed to be used through Apple Pay.

Apple Pay has made progress in luring holdout retailers over the past year, adding Target in January. Walmart is one of the last remaining major retailers that does not accept Apple Pay.

Funds for Grab

Invesco has invested $300 million in Grab, giving the ride-sharing company's diversification strategy a major boost.

The funding keeps Grab on track to raise $6.5 billion between June 2018 and the end of 2019, according to Grab, adding it will use the funds to drive its product and geographic expansion, including more financial services.

Grab and Uber have both added tangential products over the past couple of years in an attempt to build more revenue streams off of their large consumer bases and relatively easy payment experiences.

Crypto card

An Ethereum-powered card called TokenCard has launched on the iOS App Store in the U.K. and the European Economic Area, making a crypto-style pitch for consumers who do not want to do business with large banks.

The product allows users to store, send and receive assets and pay using a TokenCard Visa card, reports Finextra.

The card converts ETH and ERC-20 tokens to traditional currency and loads the Visa card, which can be used across the card brand's global merchant network.

Another locker

Amazon's many attempts to improve its "last mile" include its lockers, which the e-commerce company uses as secure locations where consumers can pick up packages.

Amazon is expanding the concept with Counter, a pickup service that is launching at 100 Rite Aid locations. Instead of using lockers, Counter asks staff at Rite Aid to hold packages, reports The Verge. When the package arrives, the consumer receives an email with a bar code to scan at the Rite Aid location.

Amazon has also pursued smart doorbell technology to enable in-home deliveries when people aren't home.

From the Web

MAS in talks with Facebook over its Libra cryptocurrency
The Straits Times | Fri June 28, 2019 - Facebook's new Libra cryptocurrency could help to solve inefficiencies in cross-border payments, but the social media giant's initiative needs deeper study, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon said.

Big banks accused of giving fintech start-ups a raw deal
The Times | Fri June 28, 2019 - The treatment of fintech by big banks has come under scrutiny after the takeover talks of two start-ups collapsed, forcing one to shut down.

Bitcoin price surge is not just about Facebook's crypto push
Yahoo Finance | Thu June 27, 2019 - Based on many business news headlines of the past week, you’d think bitcoin’s surge is all thanks to Facebook. But bitcoin was already up nearly 200% before June 18, when Facebook announced its plans to launch a cryptocurrency.

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