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A mobile wallet holiday: The decision by Australian banks to boost digital payment options in the year ahead appears to be a solid one, as mobile wallet usage at ANZ jumped for the holiday shopping season. ANZ reported 3.9 million mobile wallet transactions in December 2-17, up 140% from the prior year and 23% more than the previous three-month average. Payments via wearable devices such as Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay also increased, according to ANZ. Overall, consumers used smartphones and wearables for 4.5% of their transactions, compared to 2% for December 2016.

Image: Bloomberg News
Image: Bloomberg News

Dutch mobile collective loses a member: Digital transfer company Payconiq's efforts to build a national payment network in the Netherlands suffered as ABN Amro pulled out of the initiative. That leaves ASN Bank, ING, Rabobank and SNS in the cooperative, which will offer online, in-store, P-to-P and other digital payments in a Zelle-style bank-powered model. Finextra reports ABN will instead focus on its own payments app, Tikkie. Payconiq's remaining Dutch partners will continue the national beta without ABN Amro.

DDoS danger: Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), which stifle sites by jamming them with false traffic, have been behind a range of cyber attacks targeting Dwolla, Amex, Mt. Gox and others. Such attacks may be getting worse, according to Netscout Systems, which issues a yearly report on infrastructure security. The report found the enterprises that lost revenue due to DDoS nearly doubled in 2017, and 57% of enterprises found their bandwidth saturated due to a DDoS attack. And about half of the companies reported a financial impact between $10,000 and $100,000, almost double the percentage from 2016.

Who knows bitcoin? Bitcoin is dominating the news, but it's still not universal. TechCrunch reports 60% of Americans know what bitcoin is, citing data from SurveyMonkey. Only 5% of people own bitcoin, and an additional 21% say they are considering investing. True to some long-held beliefs about bitcoin, most owners are non-partisan, and 24% of bitcoin owners are more likely to trust bitcoin than the U.S. government. Despite the wild price fluctuations, people are still bullish on bitcoin, as 69% expect the price to rise in the next five years, with only 13% saying it will fall.

From the Web

Ban credit cards for online gambling, says government review
The Guardian | Tue Jan 23, 2018 - A ban on using credit cards for online gambling and a mandatory levy on gambling firms to fund addiction treatment are among last-minute recommendations submitted as part of a government review of gambling regulation. As a consultation by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) drew to a close, ministers faced calls to introduce concrete measures to tackle the “hidden addiction” suffered by the UK’s estimated 430,000 problem gamblers.

Loan Program Plans to Offer Students Prepaid Bank Cards
The New York Times | Wed Jan 24, 2018 - The Department of Education plans to provide students with a prepaid card that would hold surplus loan money that is not needed for tuition, giving the government and financial services providers a firsthand look at how students are spending those dollars. Students, meanwhile, may receive text messages about their spending choices after they swipe their cards, a reminder that the government is watching.

Cyber security, fintech and laundering key risk areas for banks, U.S. big-bank regulator says
Reuters | Wed Jan 24, 2018 - The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) highlighted cyber security, and banks' relationship with financial technology companies, and anti-money laundering, as key concerns for the federal banking system in its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2017. In addition to spotting key risk areas, the report also covers banks’ operating environment, their performance, and related supervisory actions. Through the report the regulator, which oversees U.S. nationally chartered banks and federal branches of foreign banks, focuses on issues that pose threats to financial institutions and relies on bank financial data as of June 30, 2017.

More from PaymentsSource

A community bank's mobile strategy drives digital payments
Much like small businesses, small banks can't take on huge IT projects and rely more on targeted deployments to build a user base for future technology.

China's influence will drive mobile pay's next chapter
Alipay and WeChat have become so common in China that many tourists are finding it difficult to pay for goods and services without the apps, writes Mike Ward, CRO and CEO of North America for WorldFirst.

Stripe bails on bitcoin as the currency's drawbacks pile up
Bitcoin has lost touch with its original mission of being an alternative decentralized currency, and Stripe has decided that it is no longer worth supporting for payments.

Wirecard adds data-harvesting tool to personalize travel deals
Wirecard has introduced a feature that uses payments data to shape marketing offers and loyalty programs in the travel industry.

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