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Park the car

Voice assisted payments are slowly adding use cases such as bill payment, and are also making inroads into driving.

Mobile parking technology company PayByPhone has added its payment services to Amazon Echo Auto, which connects to Alexa through mobile devices and plays through car speakers. The integration will provide users access to 90,000 skills, including the command "Alexa, ask PayByPhone to start parking" to commence a parking session, including meter payments.

Parking is a common task for mobile payment apps since it's a general pain point in driving and is often part of shopping or other tasks that involve purchases, making it a natural fit for an early voice assistant deployment.

Cross-border tuition

International education financial services firms Student Loans Company and Flywire are collaborating to expand payment options for borrowers that live in a different country than their university.

Since the integration went live at the start of June, SLC has used Flywire to collect from more than 40 countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Spain and the U.S. Consumers access an online portal to set up and make payments directly to SLC via Flywire.

Flywire also recently partnered with True North to expand its tuition payments reach in Canada, and Billtrust to add cross-border payments technology.

Consolidation

Payment technology company Celero has made two acquisitions, agreeing to buy Elmhurst Financial Services and Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions.

Both companies are payment processors, and will provide scale for Celero, bumping its market to 25,000 merchants and $10 billion in annual payments volume.

The deals come amid a wave of M&A activity in the payment processing and financial services technology industries as companies combine to offer a wider range of merchant services to counter threats from emerging fintechs.

Following rewards

Google is expanding a feature to support incentive marketing that's tied to consumers "following" stores on the search engine.

The feature builds on an existing Google service that allows consumers to follow stores and restaurants to get updates, products or offers, reports Engadget. Google has added the ability to deliver discounts, coupons or other rewards as a "welcome" to hitting that business' follow button for the first time.

Google has also added a "short name" and URL for a store's Google profile (such as @Toms-restaurant), which is designed to make it easier for consumers to find the business in a search.

From the Web

Facebook’s ‘crypto’ project faces more international hurdles
CoinGeek | Thu June 20, 2019 - If Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook thought that the world would embrace its Libra stablecoin without hesitation, they were completely wrong. The U.S. has already stated that it wants Facebook to hold off on the project and is requesting that the company’s executives attend a hearing in Washington, D.C. to clear the air.

Bank of America CEO says company wants a ‘cashless society’
Fox Business | Thu June 20, 2019 - Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan spoke this week about embracing digital payment transactions while moving toward a cashless society. The CEO spoke about Zelle, Google Pay and Apple Pay and its increasing popularity. He said Bank of America “will continue to move” toward digital banking transactions.

U.S. charges 4 ex-executives at Canadian payments firm PacNet with fraud
Reuters | Thu June 20, 2019 - The U.S. Department of Justice announced criminal charges accusing four former executives of the Canadian payment processor PacNet Services Ltd of running an international mail fraud scheme that cheated U.S. victims out of tens of millions of dollars a year.

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