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China's travelers draw more payment support: Fresh off adding a new platform designed for e-commerce, Adyen is adding support for WeChat Pay, giving Adyen's merchant network access to one of the largest and fastest growing mobile payment apps in China. WeChat has become a substantial channel for consumers in China to shop online, make payments and, increasingly, travel. The Adyen collaboration will place WeChat Pay on point of sale terminals in global markets, adding a brick-and-mortar option on top of the existing e-commerce portal in an effort to support Chinese consumers who are active global travelers, a market segment that's also popular with China's e-commerce giant Alibaba. WeChat has hundreds of millions of users, enough to regularly set payment records for events such as Singles Day: 1.3 billion users, 400 million of whom use WeChat Pay for P-to-P payments and other transactions. In a release, Roelant Prins, Adyen's chief commercial officer, said that after November's record Singles Day sales via WeChat, it's become important to enable Chinese consumers to make purchases via their preferred method.
Brave content payments: The market for online content payments is getting more crowded, with Twitter recently upgrading its Periscope service to compete with providers such as Patreon. A blockchain startup, Brave, is using funds from a $35 million ICO to expand its ability to offer "BATs," or basic attention tokens. These tokens allow consumers to directly pay content creators through an online portal. TechCrunch reports Brave will proactively distribute 300,000 "bonus" BAT tokens over the next 30 days to its users, valued at about $60,000, to incent usage above the normal BAT token rewards that are tied to site activity. Brave hopes that by rewarding consumers and creators for connecting online, it will develop a record of user activity that will also make advertising more targeted. Brave reports it has one million monthly users, 1,100 content websites and 600 YouTube channels as content partners.
Revolut embraces cryptocurrencies: U.K. payments startup Revolut, whose investors include tennis star Andy Murray, will support a variety of cryptocurrency activities. TheNextWeb reports Revolut will let consumers buy, trade and exchange Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ether in more than two dozen currencies, including Swiss Francs, Polish Zloty, Hungarian Forint and British Pounds. Revolut will charge a 1.5% flat markup on all transactions between cyrptocurrency and fiat currencies, which it contends is less than the common rate of about 5% for such trades.The move for Revolut comes as it diversifies beyond its original prepaid cross-border payments model to a more robust account that supports payroll and peer-to-peer transfers.
How is EMV doing? Fifty-nine percent of card-present transactions globally between July 2016 and June 2017 used EMV chips, reports EMVCo, which notes that this usage is up from 42% the prior year. The largest year-over-year increase was in the U.S., where 31.4% of card-present transactions were EMV, up from 7.2% the prior year. While the U.S. is still in the midst of its EMV migration—gas stations are expected to accelerate conversion in the next couple of years—EMV use in many other markets is near saturation. In Western and Northern Europe, more than 98% of card-present transactions are powered by EMV, 90% in Africa and the Middle East and Eastern Europe, 89% in Canada and Latin America, and 56% in Asia. The most recent data indicates EMV is becoming the foundation for contact and contactless card-present payments globally, according to a release from EMVCo, which said it would work with payment stakeholders to evolve the EMV specifications to promote interoperability for mobile and other emerging payment forms.
From the Web
Bitcoin Hasn’t Replaced Cash, but Investors Don’t Care
The New York Times | Wed Dec 6, 2017 - When Bitcoin first entered the public consciousness a few years back, a handful of large companies like Dell and Expedia announced that they would begin accepting the virtual currency. But there weren’t many takers. This failure hasn’t bothered many of the people buying up Bitcoins in recent months, pushing the price to new highs — above $13,000 for one Bitcoin on Wednesday. These investors aren’t using their tokens to buy computers or to book trips. Instead, they are hoarding Bitcoins as if it were virtual gold, a new way to store money outside the control of any government or company.
What's Driving Walmart's Digital Focus? Paranoia, Top Exec Says
Fortune | Thu Dec 7, 2017 - The biggest company in the world has a chip on its shoulder right now—and that’s probably a good thing. Why? The ever-growing challenge from online retailers is pushing Walmart to be a much better operator in the digital world. “For us, a big part of it is being paranoid,” said Walmart chairman Greg Penner on Thursday at the Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, China. “We’re at our best when we’ve got a competitor that’s really challenging us.” If so, the mega-retailer is doubly blessed: It now has two mammoth online retailers targeting its core business.
Jack Dorsey’s Square rolls out bitcoin to more of its Cash app users
CNBC | Wed Dec 6, 2017 - Square is letting more people buy and sell bitcoin on its Cash app. The payments firm had tested the feature with a number of Cash users last month, and said in a tweet Wednesday that it planned to expand the feature to "more of our most active customers." Users can swipe right from their Cash Card page to buy bitcoin. The digital asset surged past $12,000 for the first time Wednesday. Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of both Square and Twitter, has said that he views bitcoin as more of an investment vehicle than a means of payment. Dorsey said he has invested in the cryptocurrency.
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