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A record for Singles Day: Singles Day, or China's version of Black Friday, has smashed records for the second year in a row, reaching $25.3 billion, or 40% higher than 2016's total of about $18 billion, reports The New York Times. The event, which has its roots in the 1990s as a mostly student-led protest against Valentine's Day, has become more associated with Alibaba's vast scale in e-commerce, as the company has in recent years turned Singles Day into a promotional event similar to Amazon's Prime Day. This year Alibaba included 60,000 global brands as part of Singles Day and enlisted celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Pharrell Williams as part of its marketing. It reached $1 billion in online sales in the first few moments, or similar to the sales Amazon generated in 30 hours during this year's Amazon Prime Day. Alibaba's Tmall marketplace is the main infrastructure behind Singles Day, with Alibaba promising one-hour delivery for certain products. It also converted 100,000 stores in China into "smart stores," which could complete payments using facial recognition to speed processing.
Cryptowallet: As the value of cryptocurrencies has grown over the past year, the market for services that surround the currencies has become more specialized. Unified Signal, which sells cloud-based software for the wireless industry, is working with health care record blockchain provider BurstIQ to deploy a mobile network blockchain cryptowallet. The wallet will provide mobile access to bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies in addition to mobile payments and mobile transfers to serve the health care market and other industries. The wallet, which will go live in late first quarter 2018, will support bill payment, P-to-P transfers, point of sale payments and e-commerce. BurstIQ has an addition a pipeline of wallets and features that it will announce in the coming weeks, along with a B-to-B version of the wallet, Frank Ricotta, CEO of BurstIQ, said in a press release. "This partnership with Unified Signal is an important step in deploying our blockchain platform," Ricotta said in the release.
SIx shakes up its business: Swiss digital payment technology company SIX is reorganizing its business to improve its ability to compete with startups. The company, which sells virtual cards among other products, will merge its exchange execution and post-trading areas into one unit, and will separate its card acquiring unit from the rest of its payments business and seek a "partner" to operate the acquiring business. Jos Dijsselhof, SIX's incoming CEO, will supervise the changes. Dijsselhof, the former CEO of Euronextin Amsterdam, will take over for outgoing CEO Urs Ruegsegger in January. The company will additional set up a unit that's focused on innovation, with about $55 million to invest in startups. The changes are scheduled to be complete by second quarter 2018.
Check image: As the U.K. starts its migration to check imaging, the contracts are starting to roll in. Santander has hired The Tall Companies, an electronic payment technology company, to provide check imaging scanners across Santander's U.K. branches. The company will install 1,800 scanners, which will integrate with Santander's image capture application at the counters of its branches. The Image Clearing System requires the digital capture of check images, and the transfer of data into a central clearing center. "The extensive implementation of this specialist scanning equipment across Santander's network of branches will help ensure the bank is best positioned for ICS and the benefits which will follow for the bank and its customers," said Martin Ruda, group managing director of the Tall Group of Companies in a release.
From the Web
As digital payments spread, the cash lobby raises its voice
Fox News | Sat Nov 11, 2017 - Credit card companies, tech startups, and even some governments have pushed to move consumers away from carrying around a wad of bills in their pocket toward using plastic or their smartphones to make payments. Digital transactions are safer, cheaper, and more convenient, they argue. But the cash industry disagrees. And now, it’s fighting back. A group of companies that make up the global supply chain for banknotes and coins came together last year to form the International Currency Association. Its membership, which costs $35,000 per year for larger companies, includes companies that make the paper for bills, the inks and holograms that are printed onto it, the machines for handling cash, and the machines for destroying it.
The online payment scam that could leave you penniless
The Times | Sat Nov 11, 2017 - Making a big payment to a builder, solicitor or friend through online banking? Double-check the account number and sort code before you hit send, because you are still unlikely to get any money back if it goes straight into the hands of a criminal, despite moves by the regulator to crack down on what is known as push-payment fraud. The Payments System Regulator announced this week that it will consult on ways to compensate those who are duped into sending cash online to fraudsters. It also wants to make it harder for them to open bank accounts to collect their illegal earnings.
Facebook makes it easier to donate in times of crisis
TechCrunch | Fri Nov 10, 2017 - Facebook’s social good team has launched a donate button specific to crises. The goal is that people will be able to more easily and securely help communities affected by natural disasters. Facebook already has a Crisis Response hub with crisis pages. Now, when you click on the crisis page, you’ll see the option to donate right at the top of the screen. Facebook says it will not charge any fees for donations made through the Crisis donation button. Facebook is doing this in partnership with GlobalGiving, a non-profit organization that collects and sends fund to local organizations that are able to help during times of disaster. Facebook’s Safety Check had already integrated fundraisers back in June, but those have a 6.9 percent plus $.30 fee that goes to payment processing, fundraiser vetting, and security and fraud protection.
More from PaymentsSource
Why wearable payments need one-size-fits-all security
Because wearable payments technology is still considered experimental, it is important to address security before the market for such products gets much bigger.
Blockchain's potential rivals that of Linux and the Internet
Financial institutions process hundreds of thousands of interbank payments per day on behalf of their clients, which can be revolutionized by blockchain, writes Angel Diaz, vice president of technology and advocacy for IBM Digital Business Group.
7 creative uses of AI in payments
The spread of Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Samsung's Bixby are changing the way consumers interact with technology. Behind the scenes, artificial intelligence is doing more than ever to handle and protect payments.
Klarna adds pay-later feature at Swedish stores
Sweden's Klarna made its mark with a pay-later model for e-commerce shopping that’s spread to other European countries and the U.S., and now it’s piloting the same concept for in-store purchases.