Morning Brief 12.3.19: Paytm, Walmart make moves in India

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

A license to compete

Paytm has applied for a license to evolve from a payments bank to a small finance bank, which would allow the Indian payment company to directly issue credit cards and make consumer loans.

Paytm recently raised $1 billion, bringing its valuation to more than $16 million, and its parent company One97 Communications is also looking to cut Paytm's operational losses by a third to about $400 million for the next year, reports Times of India. Paytm's investors include Softbank and Ant, and the company faces an incursion from Google, Walmart and Facebook.

Walmart's most recent play in India is a co-branded credit card with HDFC Bank, reports the Economic Times in India.

Endangered species

Piggy banks are on the decline in the U.K., a trend that corresponds with the broader move away from cash.

Seventy-two percent of children in the U.K. say they own a piggy bank, which is down 8% in just one year, according to Halifax. The bank also found the number of children with bank accounts has increased to 23% from 19% in the same time. Also, 4% of British children ask their parents to pay them directly into digital apps.

The trend, if it spreads, is good news for youth payment apps, which have often struggled in the past few years while continuing to proliferate in anticipation of more young people using digital financial services.

Helping North Korea?

North Korea has long been rumored to use cryptocurrency to avoid Western sanctions, and U.S. authorities arrested a U.S. citizen for allegedly training the North Korean government to use blockchain.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has charged Virgil Griffiths with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Law enforcement officials say Griffiths, who was apprehended in Los Angeles, traveled to North Korea to make a "presentation" on cryptocurrency, "knowing" the information could be used to launder money.

Griffiths also allegedly instructed the North Korean government on how to use blockchain to operate "outside" the regulated banking industry.

No password

Mattress and bedding retailer Tuft & Needle left more than 236,000 shipping records on Amazon Web Services without requiring a password, meaning customer data such as names, addresses and phone numbers — data that often unlocks other credentials to commit payment fraud and identity theft — were exposed to the public.

It's unclear how long the web services storage bucket was open, reports TechCrunch, adding some records range from 2014 to 2018.

MIA

Chinese Cryptocurrency exchange Idax suspended withdrawals and deposits, and the exchange's staff is reportedly unable to get in touch with Lei Gurong, Idax's CEO.

The shutdown followed a run on Idax's holdings over the past week, reports Finextra, adding several cryptocurrency exchanges in China have shut down recently.

China has taken several steps over the past two years to curtail cryptocurrency, such as banning certain types of transactions and pressuring bitcoin mining.

From the web

Indiana Department of Revenue warns consumers of cyber scams, identity theft
FOX | Mon December 2, 2019
The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help protect consumers this holiday shopping season. In a release, DOR said the partnership is to help Hoosiers be extra vigilant while shopping online by protecting their important financial data.

Thanks to data breaches, hackers may be able to use your 2020 vote to steal your info
FOX | Mon December 2, 2019
2019 is on track to finish as the worst year for data breaches and in 2020, hackers could use drones, your cellphone, and even who you plan to vote for in the 2020 presidential election to steal your financial information.

For banks, data on your spending habits could be a gold mine
JAPAN TIMES | Tue December 3, 2019
Banks want to turn data they already have on your spending habits into extra revenue by identifying likely customers for retailers. Banks are increasingly aware that they could be sitting on a gold mine of information that can be used to predict — or sway — where you spend. Historically, such data has been used mostly for fraud protection.

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