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    Archive: News in brief

    US Payments Forum to study mobile and contactless payments

    November 15th, 2016

    The US Payments Forum is creating the Mobile and Contactless Payments Working Committee, to explore mobile and contactless payment opportunities and challenges, identify solutions, and share guidance and best practice. The Forum says it also plans to address issues including tokenization, card-not-present security solutions and encryption. “Our goal is to provide concrete, usable guidance to make new and emerging payment technologies a reality in the US,” says Forum director Randy Vanderhoof. The committee will hold its first working session on December 8.

    Amex cardholders to redeem loyalty points at pharmacy chain

    November 15th, 2016

    American Express cardholders will soon be able to redeem Membership Rewards points at Rite Aid, the first US pharmacy chain to formalise such a deal with the financial services company. Customers will be prompted to use points for their purchases after they swipe, tap or insert a Membership Rewards-enrolled American Express card in-store.

    IBM in blockchain project with Singapore fintech startup

    November 15th, 2016

    IBM has announced a blockchain project with Singapore fintech startup KYCK! to enable the financial services provider to create new customer accounts more quickly and securely. Using the open source Hyperledger Project Fabric, KYCK! intends to provide brokerages a platform with video conferencing and encrypted document submission capabilities. “We have seen how blockchain can improve operational efficiency, increase transparency and reduce transaction risks,” says Darryl Tan, co-founder of KYCK!.

    Indonesian mobile wallet joins with blockchain money transfer network

    November 15th, 2016

    Hong Kong-based blockchain money transfer network OKLink has teamed up with Doku, an Indonesian mobile wallet, to provide customers with cheap, real-time money transfers. The Doku Wallet allows consumers to top up their account via an ATM, through cash at convenience stores, or by linking it with a credit card. OKLink announced last month that it will subsidise all fees on the first US$100,000 of cross-border transfers for every partner on the OKLink network, up to a total of US$100m.

    More than 1bn Alipay payments made on Singles’ Day

    November 15th, 2016

    More than one billion online and offline transactions were made through Alipay at this year’s Singles’ Day Shopping Gala, an increase of 48% from 2015, with the peak number of transactions standing at 120,000 in a single second. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) through the mobile payments platform was US$14.6bn, about 82% of total GMV, compared to 69% last year “Peak transactions enabled with banks around the world were 54,000 transactions per second, two times last year’s peak,” Alipay parent company Ant Financial says.

    Seqr launches P2P payments in 14 European countries

    November 15th, 2016

    Swedish mobile payments specialist SeamlessSeqr mobile payment platform has launched a P2P money transfer service that enables users to instantly transfer money to each other “regardless of where they are in the world”, the company says. The service is being rolled out to 14 countries across Europe: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

    Top marks for palm-vein biometric solution

    November 14th, 2016

    Fintech firm Fiserv has collaborated with Gesa Credit Union in the US to introduce palm-vein biometric authentication into Fiserv’s DNA account processing platform — the first palm-vein authentication solution implemented by a US financial institution. The companies found the Verifast solution reduced the time it takes to authenticate a member in the branch by 93% and was given top marks by 99.9% of Gesa members on both the registration process and ease of use.

    Global NFC market to reach US$47.43bn

    November 14th, 2016

    The global NFC market is expected to reach US$47.43bn by 2024, according to a new report by Grand View Research. The industry is poised for “unprecedented growth”, it says, with Asia Pacific expected to remain the key revenue generating region, accounting for over 20% share in 2015. NFC tags and readers are expected to portray highest growth over the forecast period, the report adds, due to the high demand for mobile payments and access control.

    R3 develops KYC registry using blockchain

    November 14th, 2016

    Blockchain consortium R3 and 10 of its member banks have developed a proof-of-concept Know Your Customer (KYC) registry using distributed ledger technology to address the “challenges associated with satisfying regulatory requirements” and allowing identities to be managed by their owners. “The project simulated establishing the identity of both a legal entity and an individual using KYC data and identity attestations by third-parties,” International Business Times reports.

    Montreal to get NFC transport payments

    November 14th, 2016

    Some 100 employees of Montreal’s public transit network STM are beta-testing a service that will enable commuters on the Metro to pay using their NFC smartphones. “The first phase of testing has gone well over the last two weeks but the application won’t be immediately available to the public,” CBC reports. “There are adjustments that would need to be made such as ensuring the application is available on all smartphones, since it only currently works on Android devices.”

    French store uses augmented reality for Christmas shoppers

    November 14th, 2016

    French department store Galeries Lafayette is using augmented reality to offer Christmas shoppers a virtual Arctic experience telling the story of climate change. The store’s ‘Amazing Arctic Christmas’ tells the story of a family of polar bears who must venture away from the North Pole due to melting ice caps, taking refuge under the store’s dome. Parisian start-up Sky Boy has partnered with them to create a mobile app, in which the bears come to life in the store.

    Indian bank unveils AI-powered robot helper

    November 14th, 2016

    India’s first artificial intelligence banking robot has made its debut in a branch of City Union Bank in Chennai, The Times of India reports. Lakshmi is said to be able to voice intelligent and informal answers on more than 125 banking subjects. Sensitive financial information like account details are displayed on the robot’s screen and not voiced. The bank has plans for 25 to 30 robots at key branches by the end of the year if Lakshmi proves a hit with customers.

    Airport launches Android app to deliver offers via iBeacon

    November 11th, 2016

    Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar has launched an Android version of its mobile app, which uses iBeacon technology to deliver passengers information about special offers at retail outlets, as well as real-time details on flights, baggage claim and location-based services. The iOS version of the HIA Qatar app has also been upgraded to make use of Apple’s indoor mapping service. “Investing in state-of-the-art technology is crucial for maintaining our position among the top airports in the world,” says Suhail Kadri at HIA.

    Microsoft in blockchain trial for travel booking website

    November 11th, 2016

    Australian travel booking website Webjet has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a blockchain proof-of-concept solution for online booking services. ‘Smart contracts’ are being built to remove the risk of data inaccuracies, streamline payment processes and improve data security. “Blockchain… could potentially assist every one of our partners in the [travel] supply chain to improve their efficiency,” says John Guscic from Webjet.

    Citi launches global API Developer Hub

    November 11th, 2016

    Citi has launched a global API Developer Hub to give developers access to APIs across eight usage categories including account management, peer-to-peer payments, money transfer to institutions, Citi rewards, investment purchases and account authorisation. “The release of Citi APIs marks the evolution of Citi’s technology to open architecture, which will facilitate collaboration and partnerships with fintech companies and consumer brands to benefit customers,” Citi says. Additional categories will be added over time.

    Students develop SMS biometric authentication app

    November 11th, 2016

    Four students from India’s Birla Institute of Technology and Science have developed an SMS-based biometric authentication system for use in rural areas with poor internet connection. The team has developed an Android app to allow fingerprint scans to be taken and then turned into an encrypted, numeric code which can be sent by a simple SMS message. The team’s idea won the grand prize in the Accenture Innovation Jockeys 5 competition earlier this month.

    Fake glasses fool face recognition

    November 10th, 2016

    A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has fooled face recognition algorithms using a pair of fake glasses, New Scientist reports. By printing bespoke patterns onto the front of the frames, they enabled wearers not only to obscure their identity but to impersonate people who look completely different.

    Apple Pay ranks fifth in online payments survey

    November 10th, 2016

    Apple Pay now has a 0.25% share of payments on the top 10,000 websites, analytics firm SimilarTech reveals, ranking in fifth place behind PayPal with a 2.36% lead, followed by the PayPal Subscribe Button (0.98%), Stripe (0.35%) and Braintree (0.32%). Amazon Payments comes in eighth place with 0.07%. Among the top 100,000 websites, Apple Pay remains in fifth place with a 0.11% share of the number of overall payments. It launched on the web in September 2016.

    Bank al Etihad takes bill payments to ATMs

    November 10th, 2016

    Customers of Jordan-based Bank al Etihad can now pay bills and top up their airtime at the bank’s ATMs. “This convenient service will see Bank Al Etihad customers topping up their airtime with Orange as well as making bill payments for various services such as utilities and water,” technology provider CR2 says. “Bank Al Etihad customers will now also be able to update their mobile number at the ATM.”

    Orange Cash supports Apple Pay

    November 10th, 2016

    Orange’s mobile wallet app Orange Cash now supports Apple Pay in France, with support from German payment firm Wirecard, the operator has announced. The prepaid NFC payments service announced by Orange and Visa went live in the country in 2014, with Orange saying it would support Apple Pay in the summer. “Our innovative spirit helps us to develop the most useful and advanced services for our customers,” says Nicolas Levi from Orange. “We believe Apple Pay is just that.”

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