6.15.18 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Amazon's rivals forge ahead
Walmart and Microsoft are reportedly working on a cashierless store that's similar to Amazon Go, which is just starting to expand beyond its Seattle roots.
Gizmodo reports Microsoft has about a dozen people working on the technology. As part of the project, the software giant is reportedly working with Walmart, which has a much larger retail footprint than Microsoft.
Microsoft wants to use fewer cameras than Amazon does to detect purchases, so it's attaching the cameras to the carts instead of the Amazon model of placing cameras in the stores' ceilings, according to Gizmodo.
PayPal ramps up its war on cash
PayPal is cutting fees in Ireland in attempt to lure people away from cash, reducing its 3.4% plus $0.35 transfer fee to zero for "friends and family."
The payment company hopes to put a dent in the $700 million in small unpaid debt in Ireland, reports the Irish Times, saying these debts go unpaid because the consumer doesn't have enough cash on hand and doesn't want to pay a fee for such a small amount.
PayPal is also selling consumers on the idea of avoiding ATM fees to withdraw cash to pay back a small loan to a friend or family member.
When is a DLT a DLT?
Ripple chief cryptographer David Schwartz says distributed ledgers don't have the scale or privacy protection to process cross-border payments, reports Finextra.
But aren't banks already using Ripple's DLT technology to process international payments? Finextra quotes Schwartz as saying several banks are using xCurrent, which is a bidirectional messaging service, and not a true distributed ledger. It's more of an "interledger protocol" that offers instant settlement and is an improvement over the traditional cross-border payment ecosystem, according to Schwartz.
Ripple said it's gotten feedback from banks that there are limits to how much volume xCurrent can handle, and it's still working on a full-fledged distributed ledger that can handle larger volumes.
We need more power
One of the more controversial elements of bitcoin is the strain bitcoin mining causes on energy grids.
A Canadian solar energy company, Solar Alliance, is trying to mitigate that power drain, and has hired William Shatner as a spokesman. Solar Alliance, a Canadian solar energy company that has acquired a 165,000 square-foot warehouse in Murphysboro, Ill. The warehouse will have a 3-megawatt solar panel, which it will rent to bitcoin miners.
"As an advocate for solar energy, I was intrigued by the potential for it to power cryptocurrency mining operations," said Shatner in a release.
From the Web
Privacy.com Offers Virtual Payment Cards To Keep Your Digital Cash Secure
Forbes | Thu June 14, 2018 - Similar to how we protect ourselves online through VPN services, Privacy.com offers virtual payment cards that act like a VPN when it scrambles your IP address, shielding your true account information from possible scammers. It uses the same security standards as banks (which is give or take these days) and lets you create a virtual debit card which you can use to purchase all the weird stuff you like to purchase online.
Montana experts offer tips to protect consumers from credit and debit card skimmers
CBS News | Fri June 15, 2018 - As Montanans hit the road for summer trips, law enforcement leaders are reminding travelers to watch out for credit-card skimmers. One of the most common tactics is the use of a skimmer, a small device attached to an ATM or credit card slot that collects customers’ information and transmits it to a criminal.
Deal inked to introduce Alipay, WeChat Pay to East Africa
China Daily | Thu June 14, 2018 - Kenya-based regional financial institution Equity Bank and Singapore-based online payment company Red Dot Payment on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to introduce Alipay and WeChat Pay to the East African market. Jack Ngare, managing director of Equity Bank subsidiary Finserve, told journalists in Nairobi that following the agreement East Africans will be able to use WeChat Pay and Alipay to purchase goods and services in local currency.
More from PaymentsSource
In cash-heavy UAE, Mobeewave bets on near-field payments
Mobeewave is rolling out its mobile point of sale technology in the United Arab Emirates, a country that still has very high cash usage despite government initiatives to encourage digital payments.
Banks team up to outflank fintechs for gig economy payments
As the gig economy balloons, a private network is adding partners and geographies to separate itself in a fintech-dominated market.
Apple Pay suffers as merchants get choosy about digital wallets
The advancement of digital wallet technology in the past five years may be having a numbing effect on e-commerce merchants, who favor familiar brands over big-name wallet apps.
Digital identity control belongs in the hands of the consumer
Businesses are tasked with carrying too much of the burden of protecting customers' personal information, and typically turn to Social Security numbers. The advent of self-sovereign identity may give consumers a chance to reclaim control over their data and how it’s used, Finicity's Nick Thomas writes.