1.29.19 Your morning briefing

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

Messenger calling
Facebook's strategy to boost Messenger by adding payments and customer service queries has gotten a boost in the U.K. with a collaboration with social payment Isreali fintech PayKey and First Direct, HSBC's digital bank subsidiary.

The partnership will allow consumers to avoid launching a banking app or logging into online banking to enter transaction details, and instead execute a P2P payment from a messaging app, reports thisismoneyuk.

First Direct is looking to enhance its P2P service as it faces increased competition from Monzo and Starling, which are both adding more mobile-accessible financial services.
Arms race
As First Direct beefs up its tech, Monzo is adding new billing and points technology to keep up its 100,000 new customers per month pace.

Monzo, which recently became a "unicorn," or valued at greater than $1 billion, will work with fintech Flux to add itemized receipts and loyalty points to Monzo's app, reports TechCrunch.

The new function, which is scheduled to be released in London on Wednesday, has been in beta since 2017 while Monzo, traditionally a mobile payments company, build its account opening system and developed its banking strategy, according to TechCrunch.

Coffee maker
SOHO and U.K. mobile payment and loyalty marketing company Yoyo will build a new payment and loyalty app.

A global coffee chain, SOHO specializes in organic and Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee and food products. The app, which will debut in the U.K., will power mobile payments, marketing, SOHO's "new currency" points, and digital receipts from within the same experience.

The chain is building its new app as Starbucks deploys mobile delivery, expanded rewards and partnerships with companies such as Uber and Alibaba to extend its loyalty and mobile strategies in China and the U.S.

Merchants wanted
The cryptocurrency crash has not stopped fintechs from building technology to support retail payments, with some arguing the lower valuations will make it less expensive for merchants to accept bitcoin for payments.

As an extra lure, Aliant Payments will offer free cryptocurrency processing for some merchants in the U.S. and Europe that sign up for credit and debit card processing.

The move is designed to draw attention to Aliant's processing product, CryptoBucks, which allows merchants to use an API, plugin or app from Aliant's library to convert cryptocurrency to dollars.

From the Web

Fintech companies raised a record $39.6 billion in 2018: research
Reuters | Tue January 29, 2019 - Venture capital-backed financial technology companies raised a record $39.57 billion from investors globally in 2018, up 120 percent from the previous year, according to research by data provider CB Insights. Funding was raised through 1,707 deals, up from 1,480 in 2017, the research said.

Sanction-hit Iran ready to launch state cryptocurrency
Asia Times | Mon January 28, 2019 - As US sanctions continue to affect Iran, the Islamic Republic is reportedly about to launch its own state-backed cryptocurrency and an official announcement is expected at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference that starts this week in Tehran.

5 Reasons Why Payments And ID Need To Merge
Forbes | Mon January 28, 2019 - Massive personal data breaches and identity fraud continue to occur on a regular basis. Users still have to deal with countless passwords and registration procedures, while governments suffer from poor online acceptance and merchants experience high fraud costs.

More from PaymentsSource

Samsung invests in Mobeewave as contactless spreads in U.S.
Mobeewave, a provider of in-person contactless payment acceptance software, is getting an investment from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation that pushes a recent Series B funding round led by NewAlpha, Mastercard and Forestay Capital to nearly $20 million.

Discover adds Garmin Pay to boost smartwatch transactions
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Mastercard renews efforts to operate in China
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Curve adds benefits, Amex support for the tough all-in-one card market
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