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

Insurance gig
Asian ride sharing app Grab has dramatically expanded into other products such as technology development, hotel management and prepaid, a diverse mix that's about to add insurance.

Through a joint venture with Zhong Insurance, Grab will offer insurance with discount premiums for consumers and drivers.

The collaboration includes accessing insurance products, disbursements and premium payments supported by Grab's app, which is designed to cut costs and navigation, thus broadening the insurance market.
No-cashier driverless vehicle grocery app
Boston-based Stop & Shop has developed a grocery service that uses autonomous vehicles to bring a small version of a store to people's homes.

Built via a collaboration with Robomart, the store is a combination of Uber and Amazon Go. Consumers "hail" the store with a mobile app, then unlock the vehicle with a smart lock, and pick groceries — which are then charged to the user's e-commerce account, reports Engadget.

RFID and computer vision track the purchases, which will generally be small convenience-store type items. The service is scheduled to be ready in the spring.

Getting paid
Cryptocurrencies have picked up steam as a way to pay contract workers, and are getting a technology boost that could help companies use crypto to pay salaried workers as well.

Bitwage has added functions that help companies fund payroll, benefits and payroll taxes with bitcoin or ether, reports Coindesk. This would support the more complex payroll needs for companies seeking to pay salaried workers in addition to freelancers.

The service converts to dollars to assess taxes, which are then paid as per U.S. tax laws and regulations.

R3's ID
Shortly after partnering with rival Ripple, the R3 blockchain consortium is taking steps to ease onboarding and authentication on its Corda blockchain.

R3's Corda Network will be managed by an independent foundation that will support data and asset transfers between nodes, or participants, and encourage a balance between interoperability and trust among parties.

The network will do this by creating a common layer for ID vetting and a consensus for ID among Corda participants. The network will also be an open shared infrastructure, which is designed make it easier for participants to communicate.

From the Web

Nets launches same-day settlement of e-payments for hawkers
The Straits Times | Thu January 17, 2019 - Hawkers can now get their sales proceeds from e-payments in their bank account on the same day, with the launch of a new initiative by Nets. The payment service group said the initiative, which launched on Thursday, will improve cash flow and give hawkers faster access to their funds.

PayPal turns the 'kitty' digital with Money Pools
The Irish Times | Thu January 17, 2019 - According to research from PayPal, 86 percent of Irish consumers said they have been involved in group purchases such as restaurant bills, gifts and travel expenses. However, they find it difficult to reclaim the money. The new feature allows PayPal users to create a Money Pool through the app or website, and share the URL with people contributing.

Jewelry Retailer Accused of Opening Fake Store Credit-Card Accounts
The Wall Street Journal | Wed January 16, 2019 - Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed Wednesday to pay $11 million in penalties to federal and state regulators for allegedly opening credit-card accounts—possibly hundreds of thousands—without customer consent at retail stores it operates under such brands as Kay Jewelers and Jared.

More from PaymentsSource

Fiserv, First Data and the staggering fintech threat
The numbers behind Fiserv's deal to acquire First Data are huge, particularly considering each company's existing tonnage still makes consolidation the best play when faced with nimble fintechs and mobile startups.

Swift's Pay Later API puts focus on merchant relationships
As the e-commerce payments ecosystem rapidly changes, banks have to find a way to be part of that landscape. This is especially valuable to banks whose customers shop online and could benefit from a loan.

Going local for payments is the best international play for U.S. merchants
Local payment methods cater to the technology and user-experience needs of specific regions, says Steve Villegas, vice president of partner management at PPRO.

Samsung's less-pushy beacons stress sales over alerts
NEW YORK — Just a few years ago, tech companies imagined a world where Bluetooth beacons would push alerts to consumers' smartphones as they walked by a store or navigated its aisles. The tech isn’t gone, but it’s become more subtle in how it's being used.

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