Amazon adds payments to Alexa skill sets

Over the last year, we’ve seen considerable progress in the use of voice interface technology, due in part to the success of Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa, but also efforts by Alphabet and to a lesser extent Apple. Like most Disruptive Technologies, we are seeing the use cases continue to expand and ripple across our Cashless Consumption investing theme. Not surprising given Amazon’s efforts into voice-driven shopping as well as its online and mobile payments initiative known as Amazon Pay.

Amazon Pay is coming soon to apps developed for Amazon’s Alexa by third-party developers.

Starting out, Alexa’s payment-embedded skills will fall into the following categories: donations, restaurants and event ticketing.A developer preview made available yesterday also indicated that Alexa’s Amazon Pay-powered skills will expanded more dramatically in 2018. That change will roll out with a public beta for the Gadgets API, giving developers a chance to start making games that interact with the Echo Buttons for multi-person gameplay. Those will be in stores starting next month, according to reports. The new payments skill will likely leverage voice recognition technology, as Amazon has also announced that it will expand access to that capability as well.

Presently, only Amazon-built Echo apps can use voice recognition.Native payments for Alexa and Echo devices will allow Amazon to offer its 20+ thousand member developer base a chance to monetize their app creations. Thus far, so doing on the platform has been difficult as ads are mostly forbidden — with the exceptions of flash briefings and streaming audio, which are able to run ads.

Source: Amazon Pay Comes To Alexa Skills | PYMNTS.com

Barclays combines Disruptive Technologies with Cashless Consumption for voice payments

Barclays combines Disruptive Technologies with Cashless Consumption for voice payments

Several quarters ago we shared our view that after capacitive touch, voice would be the next interface to watch. We’ve seen adoption growth in smartphones with Apple (AAPL) and Siri, Microsoft (MSFT) and Cortana, and then in intelligent speakers like Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa powered Echo products. We’ve even read about licensing deals between Amazon and appliance as well as auto manufacturers for the Alexa technology. Now Barclays (BCS) is combining this Disruptive Technology with our Cashless Consumption theme to enable voice payments.

If you have a Barclays bank account, you can now make payments simply by instructing Siri to do it.

The feature, added to the latest version of the company’s iOS app, uses the Siri integration for payment apps Apple introduced with iOS 10.

PayPal took advantage of this last November, but banks have been slow to do so …NordVPNMaking a payment is as simple as ‘Hey Siri, pay John Appleseed $10 with Barclays.’

As with PayPal, the exact wording shouldn’t be important so long as you specify the person, the amount and Barclays.

To prevent someone picking up your unlocked phone and asking Siri to make a payment to them, Barclays says several protections are in place. First, you need to opt-in to the feature.

Source: Barclays bank now lets customers make payments via Siri | 9to5Mac

Visa & Mastercard mandating contactless payment terminals

Visa & Mastercard mandating contactless payment terminals

New technology adoption can be driven, primarily, by two forces – bubbling up based on consumer demand or pushed down due to a mandate from companies or the government. With contactless payments, we’ve seen consumer uptake grow as mobile payments, like Apple Pay, have come to smartphones and wearables. Now Mastercard  (MA) and Visa (V) are mandating payment terminals to include contactless payments by 2020. This should deliver a pronounced step up in contactless payments, but it also means an upgrade wave coming to payment terminals from Verifone (PAY), First Data (FDC), Ingenico and others.

Apple Pay should get a major lift within the next five years from a pair of factors, according to new research, most notably contactless support demanded by credit card giants Visa and Mastercard.

By 2020, both companies will require payment terminals in many markets to offer the technology, Juniper Research noted. The lack of compatible sales terminals has been a consistent obstacle in U.S. Apple Pay adoption, such that some retailers —like Anthropologie —have promised support for years without delivering.

Growth may also be aided by shoppers wanting to avoid the slower speeds of chip card transactions, which are presently replacing magnetic swipes.

U.S. contactless payments at retail are forecast to rise from 2 percent this year to 34 percent by 2022, Juniper said. Globally, figures are predicted to rise from 15 percent to 53 percent, reflecting the technology’s greater popularity in countries like Poland, Japan, and the U.K.

Source: Apple Pay likely to get boost from Visa & Mastercard mandating contactless payment terminals

Tencent scales thematic investments in payments, AI and cloud

Tencent scales thematic investments in payments, AI and cloud

Our Content is King theme isn’t the only one getting a lot of attention this week as more companies look to invest not only in payments, which we see as Cashless Consumption but also artificial intelligence, a slice of our Disruptive Technologies theme. As we look at these moves, we are reminded of the global nature of our investing themes. This means that Amazon (AMZN), MasterCard (MA), Visa (V), Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOGL), Apple (AAPL), PayPal (PYPL) and the like need to be aware of moves made by Tencent (TCHEY), Alibaba (BABA) and other players outside the US.

Tencent, the Chinese mobile games and social media company, is gearing up to increase its investments in online payments, cloud services and artificial intelligence.Still, with competition on the rise in the digital payments market, the investments are necessary. “We think there is still a lot of growth potential from Tencent’s cloud and payment business,” BOCOM International Analyst Connie Gu said in the Reuters report.

China’s Tencent isn’t only investing in artificial intelligence, payments and cloud services. Earlier this month, it showcased how it is also investing in other areas. Essential Products, the smartphone company that was started by Andy Rubin — the creator of the Android mobile operating system — raised $300 million in venture funding from a cadre of investors, including Tencent. According to a news report in The Wall Street Journal, the company announced the list of investors betting it can take on Apple and Samsung Electronics in the smartphone market, reported the paper.

Source: Tencent Increases Investments In AI, Payments | PYMNTS.com

Facebook Messenger Brings PayPal Payments Home To Roost

Facebook Messenger Brings PayPal Payments Home To Roost

The payments landscape continues to evolve with partnerships being inked that bring payment capabilities to platforms that consumers are favoring be it for entertainment (smartphones) or communication (like Facebook’s Messenger). With Apple expanding its iMessage capabilities, we suspect it is only  a matter of time before its filling the Apple Pay love.

PayPal is deepening its relationship with Facebook, and will now become one of the payment options within Messenger, among other integrations. That means customers who shop via the growing number of chatbots from online merchants will be able to transact on Messenger using PayPal’s payment service. In addition, as part of this deal, PayPal says it will make it easier to link your PayPal account to Facebook and Messenger, and it will roll out support for receiving notifications about PayPal transactions to Messenger users in the U.S.

Source: Facebook Messenger now supports PayPal payments in bots, will track your PayPal receipts | TechCrunch

Cyberthief Malware Targets Banking Credentials on Smartphones

Cyberthief Malware Targets Banking Credentials on Smartphones

It used to be you were concerned with losing your check-book, then it was either losing your credit card or having someone lift the account number, expiration date and 3-digit code. Through the wonders of technology and the adoption of Cashless Consumption,  thieves are now targeting smartphones. This dark side of our Cashless Consumption investing theme is a tailwind for Safety & Security applications be they for locking down a smartphone or proactively alerting you when the offender uses your banking credentials.

Cyberthieves have a new way to hack into consumer bank accounts: mobile phones.

Malicious software programs with names like Acecard and GM Bot are gaining popularity around the world as criminals look for new and lucrative ways to attack the financial-services industry. Cyberthieves are using such so-called malware to steal banking credentials from unsuspecting consumers when they log on to their bank accounts via their mobile phones, according to law-enforcement officials and cybersecurity specialists.

The malware typically gets onto a phone when a user clicks on a text message from an unknown source or taps an advertisement on a website. Once installed, it often lies dormant until the user opens a banking app.

The malware then creates a customized overlay on the authentic banking app. This allows criminals to follow a user’s movements on the phone and eventually grab credentials to the account.

Source: Mobile Bank Heist: Hackers Target Your Phone – WSJ