3.26.18 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Santander's contactless charity
As cash usage diminishes in the U.K., technology companies are stepping in to bridge the gap in charitable payments, which traditionally rely on in-person cash donations.
The latest move comes from Minds Matter, the retail division of mental health charity Mind, which is piloting contactless donation terminals in 10 locations around the U.K. to compensate for the decline in cash.
Santander Corporate & Commercial is funding the terminals for the 12 month program, which could be extended to other locations if successful.
Long Island to Singapore
Long Blockchain Corp. has had quite a ride over the past few months as it's charted a branding and strategic move into blockchain.
Its latest play is a minority investment in TSLC, a Singapore-based fintech company that has a strategic ownership in CASHe, which provides digital and short-term financial services to millenials.
CASHe uses algorithms and "intelligent big data analytics" to track users' social patterns and digital footprint, and distributed ledgers and smart contracts for lending and payment products.
Crypto in China
Most of China's moves in the cryptocurrency market have been to restrict or even ban alternative currencies. But the country's position may be softening.
Zhou Xiaochua, a former governor of the People's Bank of China, said the introduction of digital currency is "inevitable," reports Finextra.
The announcement is not a full reversal, as the former governor said any progress will be "steady and orderly" and likely have some direct tie to the government. China is also investigating distributed ledger technology to produce a digital currency that would not be a traditional alternative coin, but a government-backed initiative.
Amex eats Cake
American Express has acquired Cake, a U.K.-based fintech firm that provides mobile payments for restaurants and bars.
TechCrunch reports the $13.3 deal is relatively older — Amex and Cake came to terms in October, but just confirmed the deal to the technology site late last week.
Cake's executive team now works for Amex, which had made an offer earlier in 2017. The deal gives Amex a technology infusion at a time when other payment companies are streamlining restaurant experiences by adding mobile capabilities.
On deadly ground
Regulators in Tennessee are warning residents about Bitcoiin, a project backed by Steven Seagal.
Coindesk reports Tennessee referenced a cease-and-desist order against Bitcoiin from New Jersey, which contends Bitcoiin failed to reveal payment information about its staff, executives, founders or Seagal, who is serving as a brand ambassador.
Contrary to its name, Bitcoiin is built off of the ethereum blockchain, and offers rewards for people who refer the project to others.
From the Web
More than $16 Million Ransomware Payments Have Been Made in the Past 2 Years
Electronics360 | Fri Mar 23, 2018 - Researchers from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have studied ransomware payments learning that $16 million in ransomware payments have been tracked in the past two years by researchers with South Korea paying about $2.5 million as the country has been hard hit by the impact of ransomware. Researchers found that most ransomware operators used the Russian bitcoin exchange, BTC-E, to convert bitcoin to fiat currencies.
China’s UnionPay plans global expansion of QR code e-payments in battle with Alipay and Tenpay
South China Morning Post | Sat Mar 24, 2018 - China UnionPay, the country’s top bank-card clearing service, is looking to expand its QR code digital payment services abroad through partnerships with global e-payment service providers, as it faces stiff competition at home. UnionPay International recently signed a partnership with ACI Worldwide, a US-based e-payment provider that has 5,100 institutions and merchants as its clients, and is emphasizing the security of QR-based payments, according to Cai Jianbo, chief executive of UnionPay International, the global arm of the company.
WhatsApp QR code payment option may spell doom for e-wallets like Paytm
International Business Times | Mon Mar 26, 2018 - Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp is trying to make the social messenger app more user-friendly with new features, particularly for the Indian market. The company is testing two value-added options, one is about payments and another for advanced Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) search. WhatsApp, which already runs Unified Payment Interface (UPI) service for users to transact money in India, is testing Quick Response (QR) code feature.
More from PaymentsSource
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PSD2's open banking wave is attracting lots of attention from payments technology firms, and Zafin is making moves to cement its place in the market.
PCI's breach response creates tough new identity standards
Driven by big breaches like the Equifax incident, all stakeholders in card payments will have to demonstrate multi-factor authentication, writes Michael Magrath, director of global regulations and standards at VASCO.
Biometrics beat passwords, but cling to an old and risky concept
While biometrics may finally be ready for identity prime time, the technology's reliance on factors that don't constantly change gives it at least one thing in common with the static security methods that are falling out of favor.
Punchh IDs Apple Pay users in the restaurant before they sit down
Restaurant owners will have the ability to identify an Apple Pay user the moment they walk into the restaurant through a new tool on the Punchh restaurant marketing cloud platform — and send them special offers or coupons through a text message.