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In transit: After a relatively slow start outside of London, transit systems all over the world are adding digital options, ranging from New York and Boston to Singapore. Hong Kong's getting in on the act, launching "Smart Octopus" on Samsung Pay to cover transit and other services accessible via its Octopus fare system. Starting on Dec. 14, the feature will power NFC payments at all Octopus acceptance points such as transit, 21,000 retail locations, online shopping, recreation centers, vending machines, self-service terminals and parking ramps. The goal is to enable consumers to string together a series of activities through the same mobile app or experience while moving Hong Kong closer to becoming a cashless city. The other "Pays" have also made inroads with transit agencies, with Masterpass and Apple Pay both available as options in the New York transit system.

Bloomberg News

Russian hackers: A group of previously unknown Russian hackers has stolen more than $10 million from 20 attacks on law firms and banks in the U.K., U.S. and Russia over the past two years, the Houston Chronicle reports. Called MoneyTaker, the group broke into ATMs and Russia's interbank payment transfer system. The hackers have moved into financial institutions in other regions of the world, including Latin America and the Swift messaging service, which has been targeted by other hackers over the past two years.The group hid by using fileless malware that exists only temporarily in memory, then self-destructs when the computer reboots. This makes it easier to avoid antivirus programs. The hack was detected by Group IB, a Russian security company that has clients such as Sberbank and Raiffeisen Bank International, and recently signed an agreement with Interpol to share information on the hack's investigation.

More investment in bitcoin investment: Much of the VC attention for bitcoin companies has gone into developing technology to trade the virtual currency rather than develop use cases that involve using bitcoin for payment at stores. In another big round, Valor Equity partners, former PayPal COO David Sacks, technology investor Bill Lee and DRW have invested $42.5 million in BitGo, which will use the funding to pursue institutional investors for cryptocurrencies. The company already powers about $8 billion in transactions per month and has clients that include CME Group and the Royal Mint. In an announcement, BitGo contends bitcoin has crossed a tipping point, and BitGo intends to build business among exchanges, hedge funds, trust and business-to-business transactions for bitcoin.

Postal bill pay: Shortly after drawing initial users for its federated digital ID project, Australia Post has found a collaborator to offer mobile bill payment. Sniip, a mobile technology company, will work with the postal service to develop ways to use Australia Post barcodes to pay bills through a mobile app. Sniip will offer an in-app notification to users when certain recurring bills are due. Consumers will be able to pay in app, or can scan and pay bills using bar codes at payment terminals that accept bills. Sniip has already earned payment contracts from billers in Queensland such as Brisbane City Council and Queensland Urban Utilities.

From the Web

Stripe launches beta version for testing in India
Economic Times | Tue Dec 12, 2017 - After global major PayPal, Stripe has officially entered the digital payments market of India with a beta version being launched and tested with a small group of companies. In a blog post today, Anand Balaji, the India lead of Stripe said that the company is kicking off the beta version for small businesses in India enabling them to accept digital payments. By launching a local platform, Stripe will allow Indian merchants to accept payments in Indian currency, connect to their local bank accounts and build products specifically for Indian merchants.

CommBank SMB customers to accept payments via Samsung smartphones
ZDNet | Tue Dec 12, 2017 - Under an agreement signed with Mastercard and identity and security firm IDEMIA, small business customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) using a Samsung device will soon be able to accept face-to-face payments from a contactless card or mobile wallet using their phone. Similar to Mastercard's PayPass, the payments will be restricted to less than AU$100 and the users will be able to "tap and go" on the CBA customer's smartphone to make the payment.

Spotlight: Malaysia sees mobile commerce boom as mobile payments become widely available
Xinhua | Mon Dec 11, 2017 - Malaysian people's love for mobile shopping has led to more transactions generated on mobile platforms. The data compiled from Malaysia's three major online marketplaces -- Lazada, 11street and Shopee -- revealed that 70 percent of the online transactions on Single's Day and MyCyber sales were done through mobile devices, said iPay88, a leading regional payment gateway provider in South East Asia. According to Malaysian Central Bank, there are 42.8 million mobile phone subscriptions in Malaysia currently. Meanwhile,

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John Adams

John Adams

John Adams is Executive Editor of PaymentsSource.