3.15.19 Your morning briefing

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

Financial sanctions
The U.S. may impose financial sanctions against Venezuela, prohibiting the use of Visa, Mastercard and other financial products in the country, Reuters reports.

The sanctions are meant to pressure Nicolas Maduro and his supporters by affecting Maduro's elite loyalists while sparing the common people, the article states.

The sanctions would also limit access to Swift and other international financial systems. The Trump administration has previously considered using the financial system to pressure other countries, such as an abandoned idea to halt cross-border payments to urge Mexico to fund a border wall.

Authentication problem
What was the digital fallout of Wednesday's Facebook outage?

The incident, which began Wednesday morning and wasn't officially declared over until 24 hours later, knocked out many of the properties Facebook owns: WhatsApp, Instagram, and even Oculus VR. It also prevented people from logging into websites that use Facebook credentials to log in, The Verge reports.

While this outage, attributed to a server configuration change, knocked out much more than the link to Facebook authentication or payments, it shines a spotlight on how a single platform provider can affect digital commerce throughout the Web. If something like Apple Pay were to suffer a similar outage (as Apple's iCloud did on Thursday), it could leave iPhone users without access to their finances.

Learning experience
Actress Lori Loughlin's alleged college entrance cheating has prompted Sephora to end its partnership with daughter Olivia Jade — just in time for the cosmetics brand to announce its first credit card.

Sephora worked with Alliance Data to launch its new card in limited markets ahead of a broader rollout in coming months, the beauty brand said in a press release.

Arch rival beauty supply chain Ulta launched a Mastercard credit card program with Comenity in 2016.

Uber IPO timing
Uber will kick off its IPO in April, Reuters reports, citing anonymous sources.

The ride-sharing company, which set a new bar for making seamless payments within a mobile app, will issue its S-1 in April on the heels of rival Lyft's IPO, the article states, noting that both companies filed confidentially for an IPO in December.

Uber's cobranded Barclays credit card is notable for allowing consumers to apply for an manage the card account within Uber's ride-sharing app, rather than going to a separate banking app.

The Chinese online shopping site Gearbest has suffered a security breach, TechCrunch reports.

The vulnerability exposed millions of records per week on a server that wasn't password protected, according to security researcher Noam Rotem, the article states.

The database had customer order details including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and payment and invoice details, according to TechCrunch. Certain order details could prove embarrassing or even illegal if they went to certain countries that limit freedom of speech or expression, the article said.

From the Web
Mastercard Takes a Giant Step Into the Retailer-Customer Relationship With New Rules
Forbes | Thu March 14, 2019 - Mastercard announced a new policy that will require certain businesses that offer free trials for subscription goods and accept Mastercard to obtain explicit cardholder approval in order to begin recurring billing once the free trial has ended.

Alipay inks deal with UK card transaction platform
China Daily | Fri March 15, 2019 - China's largest mobile wallet Alipay will become more accessible in the United Kingdom, following an agreement between the company and UK card transaction platform Barclaycard to promote the app's acceptance among local merchants.

Republican Leader McCarthy Proposes Blockchain Transparency in Government
CoinDesk | Thu March 14, 2019 - Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, has called for an exploration to see if blockchain can make the U.S. government more efficient and transparent.

More from PaymentsSource
Can UnionPay really threaten Visa and Mastercard’s U.K. dominance?
After forming a series of high profile partnerships with various payments service providers, China's UnionPay International has declared its plan to challenge Visa and Mastercard’s duopoly of the U.K. card industry.

Could new payments council push Fed to move faster?
The new U.S. Faster Payments Council states a clear mission — to promote faster payments in the U.S. But this new entity could butt heads with the Federal Reserve if it thinks the Fed isn't moving fast enough.

SpotOn, Poynt target small businesses with multi-service terminal
Payments software provider SpotOn Transact is partnering with terminal maker Poynt to provide loyalty, marketing and point-of-sale services in a new terminal for small and medium-size businesses.

EU should focus more on innovation than intervention
In addition to conducting monetary policy and regulating banks, that the EU’s central bank should try to “drive innovation” in payments, writes Eric Grover, a principal at Intrepid Ventures.

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