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

More automation in India: India's march away from cash has drawn investments in digital financial services, including a P-to-P feature from WhatsApp. TechCrunch reports WhatsApp is testing the service, which allows users to send money to other WhatsApp users. The feature does not include merchant accounts, and hasn't been publicly announced since it's not yet widely available, TechCrunch reports. The company has been working with banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis bank to build mobile payments technology for a while, according to TechCrunch.

WhatsApp
Bloomberg News

Stealth Skimmer: Pottsgrove, Pa., police are looking for two suspects in connection to a card and PIN skimmer in checkout lanes at regional Aldi supermarkets. The men are using a hard-to-spot version of skimmers that "overlay" the top of the customer-facing card terminal, reports security writer Brian Krebs. Krebs writes the skimmer is hard to spot because they install in less than a second by placing the skimmer on top of point of sale terminals. The skimmers capture the consumer's debit card PIN.

Tap for fundraising: Fundraising was an early use case for mobile point of sale technology and is still of its more natural fits. Marketing company Earnest and LibertyPay are collaborating on Tap for Change, which helps charities set up contactless donations. Charities design and rent donation boxes for about $30 per month. The boxes are configured to a set donation amount for each card tap, or the amount can change based on an adjustment on the box. Tap for Change will also analyze donation trends to determine campaign performance.

Another reason to dump mag stripe: Forcepoint has discovered new malware that targets hotels and restaurants where there's still a large number of magnetic stripe payment terminals. Hotels are also targets for fraud because of how they record and store payment information. The fraud family, called UDPoS, uses third party remote connectivity services to lure corporate users to provide access to the malware.

From the Web

Nordic banks may team up on payments as competition heats up
Reuters | Fri Feb 9, 2018 - The Nordic region’s biggest banks may form a joint regional system to facilitate payments, they said on Friday, in the latest sign of cooperation to stave off competition from fintech upstarts and Silicon Valley giants. Recent regulatory changes in Europe open up parts of the banking market to companies that were not traditionally part of the industry, including the likes of Facebook and Amazon, triggering more competition for incumbents. Despite close ties between Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, the Nordic countries’ current payment infrastructure is highly fragmented along national borders, the region’s banks said.

UK's Hogg Robinson gets AmEx GBT takeover offer, to sell unit to Visa
Reuters | Fri Feb 9, 2018 - British business travel company Hogg Robinson Group said American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) made a recommended offer for the company and that it agreed to sell its payments technology business, Fraedom, to Visa Inc. Hogg Robinson said GBT would pay up to 120 pence per share, which according to Reuters calculations would value the company at up to 393.1 million pounds ($549.6 million), a nearly 54 percent premium to the stock’s close on Thursday. U.S. credit card issuer American Express Co has a 50 percent holding in American Express GBT. Visa said it would pay 141.8 million pounds for Fraedom. However, if the Fraedom sale does not complete prior to a court meeting to approve the AmEx GBT takeover, Hogg Robinson said its shareholders would receive a minimum consideration of 110 pence per share in cash. Visa said separately that it expected the Fraedom deal to close in the first quarter of 2018.

What’s needed to unlock the real power of blockchain and distributed apps
TechCrunch | Thu Feb 8, 2018 - With cryptocurrency prices reaching all-time highs and total market capitalization topping $800 billion recently, everyone wants to know if we’re witnessing the second coming of the internet or the craziest bubble of all time. Today, we have blockchain projects raising hundreds of millions of dollars with little more than a whitepaper — no product, no traction, just an idea and some technical specifications. You don’t need to be in venture capital to understand this level of speculation is unsustainable. At the same time, however, we saw much the same in the early stages of the internet, and look where we are today.

More from PaymentsSource

How Europe's GDPR data-splitting rules will change the global payments market
In many ways, the goal of the GDPR is to increase difficulty for a hacker, while also flipping the rights of data ownership back to the European consumer. U.S. companies that serve European consumers are obligated to follow the regulations.

How vendors are gathering data on the least digital shoppers
Advances in mobile technology have also permeated into other products, including point of sale hardware. With mobile point of sale devices being updated to include sophisticated software, there is more real-time capture of customer data in the store.

Mastercard promotes JoAnn Stonier to be its first chief data officer
Emphasizing its commitment to data advancement and security, Mastercard has named JoAnn C. Stonier as its first chief data officer.

Amazon adds Whole Foods to Prime delivery service
As owner of Whole Foods Market, Amazon is bringing one of its key strengths — swift product delivery — to its retail grocery store business.