Welcome to the PaymentsSource Morning Briefing, delivered daily. The information you need to start your day, including top headlines from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Card cruise: Private label card business Alliance Data's card services business has inked a deal with Viking Cruises to manage a cobranded payment card. It's the first foray into the cruise industry for Alliance, which has managed cards for retailers such as Williams-Sonoma. It's also the first time Viking has offered a branded card. The collaboration includes marketing, with ties to guest engagement programs both before and after the cruise, and offers for repeat bookings. There will also be a rewards component based on dollars spent with Viking that will draw on payments data to produce tailored content. Cruise lines are a popular partner with payment companies, with Cardtronics, Ingenico and prepaid card company Brightwell also entering deals to provide services on ships.

Bloomberg News

Nordic Alipay: Alipay's vigorous international growth relies heavily on collaboration with local merchants and travel destinations, and both strategies are a part of its Nordic move. Alipay has signed merchant acquiring agreements with travel trade group Finpro in Finland, the merchant network Svensk Handel in Sweden and the Scandinavian Tourist Board. This could bring Alipay to most of the merchants in the Nordic region, providing a "local" way for travelers from China to make payments. Alipay has a head start in Finland where it already has a network of 500 merchants that are searchable on Alipay's discover feature. ePassi, a European electronic payment company, is collaborating with Finpro to market Alipay to merchants in Finland. Alipay has a similar promotional deal with Business Sweden, a public/private commerce association. In Norway, mobile payment company 2paynow is working with Alipay to market the app to Norwegian merchants. The companies are chasing a growing market, as The World Tourism Organization reports Chinese tourism spending reached $261 billion in 2016, up from $250 billion in 2015.

Crypto ATM network: Blockchain technology company Coinme is hoping to provide greater access to cryptocurrencies, which it says is a problem in the nascent industry. Bitcoin ATMs have existed for a few years, though the machines often bump up against regulatory uncertainty. There are about 1,500 cryptocurrency ATMs globally, compared to about 500,000 government currency-dispensing ATMs in the U.S. alone. CoinMe will conduct an UpToken sale starting on or about October 16, with proceeds going toward building the network. In exchange for purchases, UpToken buyers will receive cash back offers at the ATM, fee discounts and input on which cryptocurrencies will be accessible at the machines. "We believe money should be accessible everywhere, and our mission is to help the world gain access to virtual currency through the necessary financial infrastructure," said Neil Bergquist, Coinme's cofounder and CEO, in a release.

Fime's new chief: Testing and certification provider Fime has appointed Lionel Grosclaude as its CEO. Grosclaude will help drive the company's expansion into new markets and products. He joins Fime from PIC, where he was managing director of EMEA and the rights and compliance business unit. He was also CEO of Etrali, a trading communications company. Fime has provided testing for several payment companies. It has worked with UnionPay to improve speed to market for digital payments; and has tested American Express' host card emulation technology for contactless payments.

From the Web

Ebix Inc to buy money transfer service scheme business of India's Paul Merchants
Reuters | Thu Sep 21, 2017 - Ebix, Inc., a leading international supplier of On-Demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance, financial, e-governance and healthcare industries, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) Business of Paul Merchants Limited also referred to as PML or Paul Merchants hereinafter, for $40.7 million approx. through its Indian affiliate. Paul Merchants Inward Remittance Exchange Encompasses 20,000+ Distribution Outlets, 165+ Branches, Processing over 6 Million Transactions Per Annum. The deal is expected to be accretive to Ebix earnings immediately; co-funded transaction using internal cash reserves. As part of deal, Paul Merchants will take 10 percent stake in Ebix’s combined international remittance business entity in India for cash consideration.

Equifax has offered free credit monitoring after its epic data breach. Here’s what happened when some people tried to sign up.
Washington Post | Thu Sep 21, 2017 - Like the back-to-back hurricanes this year, the theft of our personal data is increasingly catastrophic. The latest breach is courtesy of the credit bureau Equifax. The company reported that 143 million consumers’ personal data was stolen. Hackers got key information — consumer addresses, Social Security, driver’s license and credit card numbers. Equifax is offering complimentary identity theft protection and a credit file monitoring product, called TrustedID Premier. “Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, we will provide you the option to enroll,” the company said. People have tried to take Equifax up on its offer. But many have had trouble enrolling.

ECB may ask fintech banks to hold bigger buffers
Reuters | Thu Sep 21, 2017 - High-tech banks looking to enter the fintech zone may be asked to hold bigger liquidity and capital buffers due to the unique nature of their risks, the European Central Bank said in draft licensing guidelines on Thursday. Fintech banks may require greater liquidity levels given their volatile, price-sensitive client base, and may need more capital as they enter mature markets with a niche but untested product, requiring an aggressive pricing strategy, the ECB said. The fintech sector, though still relatively small, has been stealing market share from traditional lenders in a variety of sectors from payments to lending, and the ECB has already granted six fintech banking licenses with two applications still pending. Financial technology, or fintech, firms range from those that offer mobile payment apps to digital currencies like bitcoin, and many governments regard the sector as a key source of economic growth.

More from PaymentsSource

What can drag U.S. contactless cards out of limbo?
Contactless card volume is soaring in key markets around the world including the U.K., Australia and Canada, raising the question of how long the U.S. must wait before issuers and merchants broadly support the format.

Big Data and the cloud can slice paper out of B-to-B payments
Consumers happily use technology to buy and pay for everything from shoes and electronics to coffee and groceries. Businesses, however, have been slower to follow.

ISOs need a deeper dive to find payment partners in the mobile age
In my 30 years in and around the payments space, I have never witnessed more disruption or opportunity, which is scary, yet exciting at the same time.

Amazon's patent expiration will democratize single-click payments
The expiration of Amazon's one-click checkout patent is sure to set off a rush for big e-commerce and payments companies to create their own one-click payments experiences.

Mastercard turns to local bank to woo Myanmar's merchants to contactless
Myanmar’s Co-Operative Limited Bank (CB Bank) and Mastercard are working together with local merchants on the country’s first broad rollout of contactless payments.