2.8.19 Your morning briefing

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

Sweetening the deal
Visa has upped its offer for Earthport to about $319 milion, or 12 percent more than Mastercard's bid in January as the two card networks battle to acquire the cross-border payment company.

Earthport, which had originally supported Mastercard's counter offer, is now telling its shareholders it should accept the new Visa offer, reports Reuters. Mastercard is considering its options and asked Earthport's shareholders to not take action on Visa's bid

Earthport is a relatively small company, but is attractive to both card networks since it offers an alternative to Swift for international payments. Earthport's shareholders are aware of that, and have pushed for higher takeover bids for the past two months, even though Earthport's stock had been declining for most of 2018.
Lights, camera, transaction
Atom Tickets has added Google Pay and Samsung Pay, providing an extra channel that could shorten lines for theater purchases, a competitive segment that recently attracted the attention of Amazon.

The payments are in-app, and not a contactless NFC payment, and will store users' credentials for repeat purchases, reports 9to5Google.

Atom is also supporting "Save to Google Pay," which allows users to access the feature via the a "Passes" tab, which 9to5Google reports is often used for airline boarding passes and transit ticketing.

Retail with no store
Former Google, AOL and Verizon advertising executive Tim Armstrong has launched a new company, dtx, or "direct to consumer," which aims to largely eliminate stores.

Armstrong will invest in startups that build direct relationships with consumers that are scalable, reports CNBC, adding there will also be "pop ups" that are designed to more closely match goods with consumers.

Armstrong contends the economy is moving away from a wholesale/distributor model to a more direct tie between seller and buyer, powered by a mix of social media technology and digital payments.

Loyal to Bink
Barclays is the lead in a new investment about $14 million in Bink, a U.K. fintech that ties loyalty points to cards.

Binks' model is to allow points to be accumulated by the consumer's primary credit or debit card, so there's no need for a separate loyalty card, reports the Telegraph.

The bank is making its investment, which includes a minority stake, ahead of Bink's launch in the U.S. and South Africa.

Doing the dishes
Shortly after expanding in Australia via a collaboration with local fintech Tyro, Alipay has extended its reach in Canada through the Vancouver-based ClickDishes food ordering app.

Users will be able to use the Alipay app to access ClickDishes, order and pay, reports Betakit, which adds Calgary and Edmonton will soon join Vancouver as available markets.

Vancouver is a top destination for Chinese tourists, which is a common target audience for Alipay and its affiliates in new markets.

From the Web

The Chinese tradition of giving red packets gets a digital update, keeping it alive and well
South China Morning Post | Fri February 8, 2019 - The tradition is undergoing a major digital update in China, where instantaneous money transfers can be made with the tap of a smartphone. Data released this week by WeChat, the most popular social app in China with more than 1 billion users, showed that those born in the 1990s are the biggest givers and receivers of virtual red envelopes, followed by those born in the 1980s and 1970s.

Cash in Venezuela has plummeted in value and availability. Much of the country relies on debit cards now
Los Angeles Times | Thu February 7, 2019 - Much of the population, especially in urban areas, uses debit cards to pay for basic purchases, from food to household goods. Many routine debit purchases amount to the equivalent of less than $1, the equivalent currently of about 3,000 bolivars.

Why Samsung & Opera’s Crypto Wallets Will Fuel Mass Bitcoin Adoption
CCN | Thu February 7, 2019 - Major browser operator Opera has integrated a feature to purchase crypto into its Android app less than three months since announcing its plans to further explore blockchain technology. With a partnership with Safello, a European crypto exchange, users are now able to purchase cryptocurrencies directly from the Opera browser.

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