Morning Brief 11.21.19: PayPal's $4B bet on loyalty

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

PayPal's sweet deal

PayPal is paying $4 billion — its biggest acquisition yet — to buy Honey Science Corp.’s deal-search tool in a bid to put PayPal and Venmo ahead of any competing payment options.

By attaching to Honey and its base of 17 million mostly young, female consumers who use the platform to find the best price on e-commerce deals, PayPal also is aiming to get closer to merchants with customized offers it plans to seed to PayPal and Venmo users.

“We think this moves us up in the entire shopping process,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told investors on Wednesday during a conference announcing the mostly cash deal, which is set to close early next year.

Laundering probe

Australian authorities have flagged more than 20 anti-money laundering and terrorist financing violations at Westpac, a finding that could result in potential fines of more than A$100 million.
The government says Westpac didn't properly report more than 19 million payments between 2013 and 2018, including transactions tied to parties with business in sanctioned countries such as Iraq, reports the BBC. Westpac also reportedly did not share information about the source of funds to other banks, and did not perform proper due diligence on payments to parties in nations with links to child exploitation.
Commonwealth Bank paid a fine of A$700million in 2018 for similar violations, according to the BBC. Westpac admitted responsibility for the charges and promised to improve its management of payment crime.

Is Libra a security?

U.S. regulators have long leaned toward classifying cryptocurrency as a security, which would heighten regulatory oversight, though the government has never taken a firm stance.
The government's reluctance appears to also apply to Facebook's Libra project, which has drawn global attention from regulators and was expected to push the U.S. to provide more regulatory detail.

But Health Tarbert, chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commision, says since it's not clear what kind of product Libra will be, it's still too early to weigh in, reports Coindesk.

A new vein

Barclays has upgraded its biometric vein scanner, which supports payments and other transactions without PINs or passwords.
The bank debuted the technology in 2015, using infrared technology to capture a user's vein patterns. The new version adds written instructions that describe the transaction that's authorized, and Bluetooth to improve navigation, reports Finextra.
The added technology could also fit Barclays' frequent pursuit of new IoT deployments, which often use experimental payment products.

Time piece

The SOMA social platform for luxury watch sales and risk management has come out of testing, a vast expansion for its blockchain-powered payment and authentication system.
The platform includes more than 160 watch brands, and each watch generates a tag that tracks its digital lifecycle. This tag includes ownership titles, information about the brand, photos and other information tied to that watch.
A blockchain protocol backs the tags, which is designed to combat counterfeits and support authentication and help execute payments for the watch.

Border to border

Amway has partnered with Computop to handle payment processing for the direct selling of the company's products in 14 countries in North, South and Central America, according to a press release.

Computop will route transactions to several local acquirers with global and local credit and debit card processing, with plans to add e-commerce as Ada, Mich.-based Amway builds out an omnichannel delivery approach.

From the web

China’s virtual currency will ‘definitely’ be rolled out within a year
YAHOO FINANCE | Wed November 20, 2019
China’s enthusiasm over blockchain technology doesn’t appear to be waning. While it’s clear the country wants nothing to do with Bitcoin, it is going full steam ahead on launching its state-backed digital RMB in the next six to 12 months.

Breakingviews - China’s Pinduoduo digs in for a long Alibaba fight
REUTERS | Thu November 21, 2019
China’s Pinduoduo is in for a long fight that may now have multiple fronts. The e-commerce startup lost nearly $11 billion of market value on Wednesday after reporting a bigger quarterly loss than shareholders were anticipating. The rising cost of wooing consumers is to blame, as it takes on Alibaba in bigger cities.

Enabling mobile payments in South Africa
BBC | Wed November 20, 2019
Yoco, a contactless mobile payments service is helping small businesses in Cape Town, South Africa take off. About 70% of people in South Africa now have a debit card, one of the highest levels in the world for an emerging market.

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