8.16.19 Your morning briefing

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

Smartphone straphangers

New York's contactless transit payments test has been far beyond expectations, with usage of the OMNY system four times higher than anticipated.

The contactless system is getting 22,000 taps per day in limited availability on parts of the Lexington Avenue line, with mobile wallets accounting for 80% of the taps reports AM New York. The entire system is expected to be complete by the end of 2020, with Metrocards phased out by 2023.

It's good news for Apple, which has made the New York transit project a large part of its efforts to grow Apple Pay adoption. And it's also a good sign for general digital payments, as mobile transit payment adoption has been shown to be transferable to other payment types.

Switching banks

Barclays has reportedly ended its relationship with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, disrupting Coinbase's access to the U.K.'s faster payment scheme.

Coinbase has replaced Barclays with challenger bank ClearBank, which will also restore the crypto exchange's connection to U.K. faster payments, reports Coindesk, citing unnamed sources.

The bank ended the relationship because its risk appetite for crypto had waned, Coindesk reports. Banks have been generally reluctant to support cryptocurrency because of its reputation for risk and volatility.

Green crypto rewards

A Bristol, U.K. blockchain startup called Dovu has developed a rewards program that ties Uber rides to carbon offsets.

Users link Uber accounts to a Dovu wallet, which is connected to Uber's APIs, making the reward system as seamless as the general Uber transaction experience, reports TechCrunch.

Dovu calculates the tokens based on the length of the ride. These tokens can then be applied to a carbon offset project of the user's choice.

Fintech investment falls, but there's a catch

The value of fintech investments for the first half of 2019 fell 29% to $22 billion from $31 billion in the same period in 2018, though the impact of one deal tells most of the story.

Ant's record $14 billion fundraise made up a large share of 2018's first half, and when that's removed, fintech investment was mostly strong, reports Accenture, which notes strong gains in the U.S. and U.K. Overall spending sans Ant's deal increased 28%.

Payments and lending took up most of the fundraising, with 28% of fintech investments going to payments startups and 25% going toward lending. Some of the larger deals were Monzo's $144 million fundraise in June, Starling Bank's $211 million investment spread over two deals, and TransferWise's $292 million round in May.

From the Web

Alibaba earnings show Chinese consumers are still shopping despite trade war
CNN | Thu August 15, 2019 - The Chinese consumer is still spending, despite concerns about a trade war-induced economic slowdown. Online retail giant Alibaba reported a more than 40% jump in sales in its latest quarter, results that were better than analysts expected.

87 payment apps face an uphill battle to turn India cashless
The Business Times | Fri August 16, 2019 - The playing field in India's rapidly expanding market for digital payments is poised to get more crowded as the country races to catch up with China in squeezing out the use of cash, according to the head of the South Asian nation's payments network.

UK Fintech Curve Launching its First Ever Crowdfunding Campaign
Yahoo Finance | Thu August 15, 2019 - For the first time ever, Curve will be offering eligible customers a chance to invest in one of Europe’s hottest fintech start-up. Eligible Curve customers will be able to invest from as little as £10 to own part of the business and gain access to some exclusive shareholder rewards.

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