11.26.18 Your morning briefing

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

Amazon’s difficult Black Friday
Already reeling from a revelation that it exposed shoppers’ personal information ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon had another issue to contend with: a worker walkout in Europe.

It’s becoming a holiday tradition — a similar incident coincided with Amazon’s Prime Day shopping event in July, Engadget noted. During Black Friday, workers at fulfillment centers in Spain, the U.K. and Germany held demonstrations to protest issues such as salary and working conditions.

The glitches didn’t seem to seriously hurt Amazon, at least early on. reports Amazon’s 2018 Black Friday pace was far above 2018, with consumers ordering more than 1 million toys and more than 700,000 fashion items in the first nine hours, placing it ahead of Amazon’s full-day Black Friday total for 2017, reports TheStreet.com, which added sales for most e-commerce and m-commerce sites grew substantially. Amazon did not report its full-day Black Friday sales by deadline. The boost for mobile also comes as a variety of consumers become more comfortable using mobile to shop and buy in both online and brick and mortar venues, placing the smartphone closer to the transaction.

Overall, total U.S. payments for Nov. 23 reached $23 billion, up up 9 percent from Black Friday 2017, reports CNN.

Bloomberg News

A vacation from mobile wallets
As more companies move to accommodate consumers’ attachment to their smartphones, the five-star Ayana Resort & Spa is moving in the opposite direction: It banks mobile devices at its River Pool during daytime hours, The Guardian reports.

Though this is about mobile use overall, it of course also means that guests can’t use their mobile devices for payments at the pool. However, hotels are also at the forefront of wearable payments, with companies like Carnival and Disney offering guests dedicated payment devices or wristbands.

Chasing a milestone
2018 has been a pivot year for Google Pay, as years of tweaking and redesign finally sparked momentum for the app.

Google Pay has added 16 more banks in the U.S. bringing the total to about 1,750 financial institutions in the States as the app targets 2,000 institutions, reports 9to5Google.

The app also added Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates in the past year, reports 9to5Google.

Draft picks
Open developer events such as hackathons have existed for years as a way for mainstream companies to find new financial and payment technology, and the Swift Foundation is extending the concept to the university level.

The foundation has placed an open call for students to use the Google Cloud to build technology for instant payments, artificial intelligence, and fraud detection. The winners will present at the Sibos London conference in 2019.

Avoiding IBAN
ABN Amro has added a feature to its Tikkie P2P app that removes the requirement that sederes enter the recipient’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number) before making a payment.

Instead, users select a recipient from their Tikkie address book to send a payment. The recipient gets a confirmation request. The bank claims this removes the need for people to request payments.

Similar to Zelle, Tikkie recognizes the users’ mobile numbers, and the corresponding account numbers, to authorize the transaction in near real time.

From the Web

Pay Taxes With Bitcoin? Ohio Says Sure
The Wall Street Journal | Sun November 25, 2018 – Ohio appears set to become the first state to accept bitcoin for tax bills, a show of support for a technology that has garnered lots of hype but failed to gain traction as a form of payment. Beginning this week, Ohio businesses will be able to go to the website OhioCrypto.com and register to pay everything from cigarette sales taxes to employee withholding taxes with bitcoin.

Secret Service cracks down on credit card skimming at gas pumps nationwide
NBC News | Sat November 24, 2018 – The U.S. Secret Service said it is kicking off the holiday season with a nationwide initiative to crack down on credit card skimming devices installed at gas stations. The operation, called “Operation Deep Impact,” was launched on Thanksgiving Day and is set to coincide with an increased demand for fuel over the holidays.

Venmo Caught Off Guard by Fraudsters
The Wall Street Journal | Sat November 24, 2018 – Venmo was hit by a wave of payments fraud earlier this year that helped push losses higher than the company previously expected and prompted it to shut down some user features to control the damage. In the first three months of 2018, the digital money-transfer service owned by PayPal Holdings Inc. recorded an operating loss of about $40 million—nearly 40% larger than the loss for which the company had budgeted, according to internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

More from PaymentsSource

Data: Mobile’s loose grip on holiday spending
Across all age groups, many consumers still prefer shopping in stores for various reasons. But even when going into a brick-and-mortar store, these consumers don’t leave their digital habits behind; many still prefer to pay by mobile or wearable when the option presents itself.

‘Uberization’ of retail still has lots of room for growth
When companies cling to outdated methods of payment processing, the results is a highly fragmented consumer experience. It also adds unnecessary administrative costs and decreases efficiency, writes Jeffrey Brown, president of VPay.

Chase to bring offers to Chase Pay app
Chase is planning to enable users of the Chase Pay app to receive and redeem custom offers from merchants, in addition to the ability to find offers from more than 150 merchants through the Chase Mobile app.

How Zelle plans to recapture the smaller banks, credit unions it left behind
A year after its launch, Zelle’s P2P payment volume has rapidly expanded through usage at the nation’s largest banks. But enabling smaller institutions to offer it to their customers is proving to be more challenging.

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe is editor in chief at PaymentsSource and a contributing editor at American Banker.

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John Adams

John Adams

John Adams is Executive Editor of PaymentsSource.

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