Alibaba challenges Google, Amazon with new Echo-like device

Alibaba challenges Google, Amazon with new Echo-like device — Bloomberg — “Importantly, the gadget — powered by the AliGenie system — may eventually simplify shopping for the Chinese e-commerce giant’s 450 million active buyers who turn to the website for everything from cherries to makeup. It will begin formal sales from August 8 only for China and won’t come with a display.”


Apple tests 3D face scanning to unlock next iPhone

Apple tests 3D face scanning to unlock next iPhone — Bloomberg — “For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product… The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of the people said.”


What's New in Payments

Macau’s ATMs are using facial recognition to help follow the money

Macau’s ATMs are using facial recognition to help follow the money — Bloomberg — “Chinese bettors withdrawing money from some ATMs in Macau need to do more than punch in their PIN code. They also have to stare into a camera for six seconds so facial-recognition software can verify their identity and help monitor transactions… China UnionPay Co’s network is the first to use the software, which will be installed in all the city’s 1,200 cash dispensers.”


What's New in Payments

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial nearly doubles profits amid deal push

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial nearly doubles profits amid deal push — Bloomberg — “The company controlled by Alibaba’s billionaire co-founder Jack Ma racked up an 86% jump in pretax profit to 5.56 billion yuan ($814 million) in the year ended March, according to Bloomberg’s calculations… Since starting as Alipay in 2004, Ant Financial has grown into an online giant that controls more than half of China’s $5.5 trillion mobile payments market.”


What's New in Payments

Square will replace meters in Washington taxis

Square will replace meters in Washington taxis — Bloomberg — “The overhaul of the city’s cab system will help drivers compete with Uber… By the end of August, all of the taxis in Washington have to tear out their traditional meters and start using smartphones or tablets, in what the city government has been describing as a complete reimagining of how the cab system works.”


What's New in Payments

In cashless Sweden, even God now takes collection via an app

In cashless Sweden, even God now takes collection via an app — Bloomberg — “A growing number of Swedish parishes have started taking donations via mobile apps… Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; some shops and museums now only accept plastic; and even Stockholm’s homeless have started accepting cards as payment for their magazine.”