While some of us were – and still are – pondering the “what to watch: Wimbledon or World Cup?” dilemma, the payments industry has also witnessed some exciting developments, as we`ve seen this week.

Let`s dig into the most relevant ones.

PayPal`s acquisition spree will continue

Taking a retrospective look at our recent global business news coverage (here and here), it seems that PayPal has launched an all-out acquisitions offensive, with no signs of slowing down.

As already stated by CEO Dan Schulman in an interview, the company will not pivot away from this strategy any time soon. In fact, it plans to spend as much as USD 3 billion a year on buyouts, in a bid to extend its existing range of services, deliver more value and become a “one-stop solution for global commerce”.

Until PayPal figures out who to pick up next, media outlets have announced Uber`s support for the PayPal-owned mobile payment service Venmo over the next few weeks, as an additional payment option for US customers. Those ordering rides and food will be able to pay with their Venmo balance, linked bank account, credit card or debit card, so they can split the cost with friends and family in the Venmo app, at no additional cost.

And since we`re talking about splitting the bill:

Google refines mobile payments platform

Through the merging of the Google Pay and Google Pay Send apps, Google is rolling out new features that enables users to send and request money, if they live in the US (and soon in the UK). In addition, if customers purchase something with Google Pay, splitting the bill becomes even easier: they can tap the bill to request money from up to 5 people.

As mentioned in the company`s blog post, other updates include the ability to store event tickets and boarding passes from companies such as Ticketmaster and Southwest. Upon saving the tickets to Google Pay, users can find them on the new Passes tab alongside their loyalty cards and gift cards.

MasterCard and its bet on biometrics

With new PSD2-related regulations across Europe set to come into force soon, there is a big window of opportunity in the biometrics space. The European regulatory updates aim to address online fraud by increasing the number of transactions subject to 2-factor authentication by the payer, known as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).

Video source: PSD2 explainer series by Neira Jones, Independent Advisor and International Speaker

When it comes to card payments, currently only 1 to 2% of online transactions require cardholder authentication to complete a transaction, but this is expected to jump to 25% as of September 2019, Mastercard indicates. The card scheme points to the implementation of selfie payments and fingerprint cards as trend-setters in a biometric future.

“In payments technology this is something we’re closing in on as we move from cash to card,

password to thumbprint, and beyond

to innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence.”

Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard

India continues cashless path, with increased focus on data

Now that India has overtaken France in becoming the world’s sixth largest economy, things are going to get even more interesting. The country has made rapid progress in economy, doubling its GDP in less than past 10 years, as The Times of India reports. It also emerged as the economic growth engine across the region, especially with China “showing definite signs of lethargy“.

As suggested in one of our previous articles, India`s story is too good to miss, especially when it comes to the aggressive competition game played between local and international companies. Most recently, Walmart has decided to follow PayPal`s example by continuing to focus on tech acquisitions. In May, Walmart agreed to buy a 77% stake in Indian online retailer Flipkart for USD 16 billion and niche tech-product start-ups in India are now on its radar.

With an aim to promote digital payments and converting India to a cashless society, a large number of initiatives have been being taken by the Government. Now the Indian government wants to establish a system that will track every electronic payment transaction. With this purpose in mind, it has joined forces with the Reserve Bank of India to create a database or a ‘search engine’ to track all non-cash financial transactions in the country.

“The move is aimed at widening the government’s crackdown on black money and will help RBI establish money trails”

 Moneycontrol.com

For now the focus seems to be on corporate data, however individuals-related details could also be made available in the database. And although preliminary discussions on the initiative have been held, concerns have already been raised: will the tool be sufficient in investigating and tracking transactions meant to lander money? Does the current set-up encourage tracking all transactions related to an entity and its main functionalities?

Meanwhile, as of now the Financial Intelligence Unit tracks suspicious transactions and all cash transactions of over Rs 10 lakh.

When being recognised among the world’s best AI-systems is not enough

The promise of AI and its subsequent benefits have been teetering on the brink of the retail and financial world. There is probably a big breakthrough about to happen right this minute. We’re talking technologies like deep learning, where software can perform difficult tasks without the help of a human being. As you can imagine, this is set to be huge for the industry. But there is a long road from here to a “goodbye humans” scenario.

AI is not as scary as it sounds. Think of it as an aid for online businesses to provide a more seamless experience to their users. This week`s example:

Amelia is considered to be one of the world’s best AI-systems, currently used by over 50 major companies in various industries, including healthcare and finance. This week, a Swedish online bank has decided to “fire” this virtual assistant, as a result of underwhelming performance, failure to  speed up the onboarding of new customers and improve customer satisfaction.

To conclude on a positive note: maybe, just maybe, robots are not going to steal our jobs after all.

 

Related global business news articles:

Top Business News: PayPal, Alipay and GDPR

The Pursuit of Divide-and-Conquer Strategies

A Cashless Society – the Near Future or Still a Buzzword?

Adriana Screpnic, Content Marketing Specialist, G2A PAY