6.18.18 Your morning briefing

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

Walmart puts cryptocurrency on the grid
Amid news that it may team with Microsoft to develop technology that eliminates cashiers, Walmart is also reportedly designing a blockchain to help consumers manage their electric bills.

The retailer last week received a patent for a system that would allow consumers or organizations to use a blockchain to track and pay for energy-consuming devices via a cryptocurrency.

By placing energy consumption records on a blockchain, the retailer also hopes to improve distribution and consumption to save energy, since over- or under-usage of energy can be shared among participants.
Fitness Chase
Payments are advancing deeper into wearables, pressuring banks to consider support for transactions on a wider range of connected devices.

JPMorgan Chase is extending Chase Visa payments to Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. Like a lot of fitness wearables, Chase is positioning this deployment for people who are exercising and don't want to bring their wallet or smartphone.

Both fitness bands will be able to make payments at any NFC terminal, according to Chase.

Mind the journey
Transport for London's migration to contactless fares has gotten a huge head start over other transit systems, and the agency is automating further with a feature that allows riders to view their travel history on the TfL Oyster and contactless app.

Commuters will also be able to personalize cards or transit apps, making them easier to find on their mobile devices when boarding the system.

TfL reports more than half of all Tube and rail pay-as-you-go trips in London are now made through contactless cards or mobile devices.

Business and games for Alipay, WeChat Pay
WeChat Pay and Alipay have been added as payment options in the video game bundle service IndieGala.

The service already supports PayPal, cryptocurrency, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Users browse games on the site, then download the content, which is a mix of traditional games and virtual reality.

From the Web

UK’s WorldFirst set to be first foreign firm allowed into China’s payment services industry
South China Morning Post | Fri June 15, 2018 - UK payment services provider WorldFirst could get a licence to operate in the Chinese city of Shanghai imminently, a local official said, making it the first foreign company to be allowed into China’s payments business as the country pushes ahead with the opening of its financial sector. Zheng Yang, the director of the Shanghai Financial Services Office, said on the sidelines of the Lujiazui financial forum in the city on Friday that the authorities had already asked WorldFirst to provide supporting documents for its earlier application.

Tesco bank ups fees when using credit card when loading prepaid cards, but backs down on Curve
The Times | Sun June 17, 2018 - Consumers who use prepaid cards to spend money abroad, or the latest payment technology, such as contactless watches, are being warned to watch out for hefty fees if they top them up using a credit card. This month, Tesco bank raised the fee it levies on customers using its credit cards for “cash withdrawals and transactions” to 3.99%.

Google to invest $550 million in Alibaba rival JD.com
ABC News | Mon June 18, 2018 - Google said Monday that it will invest $550 million in Alibaba's main rival JD.com as the U.S. tech giant seeks to expand in fast-growing Asian e-commerce markets. Under the partnership, JD.com products will appear on Google's shopping service, giving JD.com access to consumers outside Asia, while Google can apply the Chinese e-commerce company's supply chain and logistics expertise to its technology.

More from PaymentsSource

Can Starbucks stay at the forefront of payments without Howard Schultz?
Longtime Starbucks boss Howard Schultz was so invested in the company's mobile payments strategy that he once stepped down from his day-to-day duties to focus his full attention on the tech initiative. Without his involvement, will Starbucks lose its edge in fintech?

What's next for the U.K.'s contactless innovators?
As contactless cards continue their momentum in the U.K., new use cases are popping up for the tap-and-go technology.

Mobile payments' war on fees
Going back to the debut of the free Square card reader, the mobile payments market has made fees — or the lack of fees — a major selling point.

Visa Canada's AI chatbot walks customers through (non-payment) pain points
Visa Canada is collaborating with Finn AI to develop natural language chatbot technology to address common needs experienced by credit cardholders.

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