Lending Club Shutters SMB Lending Arm, Redirects Customers to Other Lenders

U.S. peer-to-peer lending pioneer Lending Club closed the doors on its in-house small business lending operation. The good news is that it opened a window for small business clients through a round of partnerships.

Opportunity Fund, a non-profit small business lender; Funding Circle, one of the largest alternative small business lending platforms in the U.S.; and Lending Club have teamed up to offer Lending Club’s small business clients access to credit. Businesses can now borrow up to $300,000 for rates as low as 5%.

“With partners like Opportunity Fund and Funding Circle, we’re creating an ecosystem where LendingClub’s members can take advantage of additional services from trusted providers that can help them generate more savings,” said Scott Sanborn, CEO of LendingClub. “This enables us to both deliver greater value to our applicants and capture a new revenue stream for LendingClub, while further simplifying our business and setting the stage for more partnerships and innovations for Club Members.”

Opportunity Fund will leverage LendingClub’s online application technology to provide prequalified offers to underserved small businesses, while Funding Circle will apply its credit assessment process to fund loans for established small businesses. Overall, the three will be able to serve a broader range of applicants, including those that may have previously been rejected because of limited credit, including businesses owned by minorities, women, and immigrant entrepreneurs.

Lending Club entered the small business lending market in 2014, before the company’s original CEO, Renaud Laplanche, resigned in 2016 amid accusations of loan-documentation errors.

Founded in 2006, Lending Club demoed at FinovateSpring 2009 and at the inaugural Finovate in 2007. The company went public in 2015 and today has a market capitalization of $1.46 billion.

Payrix raises $22M led by Jerry Jones-founded Blue Star Innovation

Payrix Payments Technology said it raised $22 million in funding led by Blue Star Innovation Partners, a fund founded by Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

The founders of Blue Star also include entrepreneur Rob Wechsler and Providence Strategic Growth, the growth equity fund affiliated with Providence Equity Partners.

Payrix said it will use the funding to scale the business and invest in business development and marketing.

“We’re excited to haveBlue Star and Providence as our first outside investors,” said Boruch Greenberg, co-founder and CEO of Payrix in the announcement. “Beyond the investment, there is tremendous value in gaining access to teams who have accomplished so much and build global brands in highly competitive markets.”

As part of the agreement Wechsler and PSG’s Marco Ferrari will join the Payrix board of directors.

The agreement is not the first payment-related investment by Jones. He is separately an investor in Sports Stack, a firm that signed an agreement with Fiserv earlier this year to enable mobile payments for youth sports leagues.

 


Topics: Financial News, Mobile Payments, Technology Providers


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PasswordPing Rebrands as Enzoic

Less than a year after making its Finovate debut, Boulder, Colorado-based cybersecurity specialist PasswordPing has rebranded as Enzoic.

“2019 begins a new era for our company and the name change to Enzoic reflects our growth and evolution,” company co-founder, CMO, and Head of Product Management Kristen Ranta Haital Wilson said. “Customers are using our products in different ways, from risk-based authentication signals to bundling our solutions into their own product suites. Our name needs to reflect the diverse use cases for our solutions.”

These use cases include providing identity theft protection via its flagship IDShield solution whether users are accessing their accounts online or on the app. Enzoic serves as an additional layer of security at the point of authentication, detecting compromised credentials and prompting password resets when unauthorized logins are identified.

The company also highlighted a new service, IDShield Credential Screening, that monitors online sources, including the dark and deep webs, for exposed credentials. Offered as part of the base level plan, the new feature alerts users in the event their credentials – typically paired usernames and passwords – are found. The service then prompts users to make necessary changes. Enzoic’s IDShield also offers password screening at both new account setup and during password reset to ensure that new passwords are suitably strong.

Enzoic sees itself as part of the solution to a problem that represents 81% of hacking-related breaches in 2018: the challenge of compromised credentials. The company notes that losses from account takeover (ATO) climbed 1.2x from 2016 to 2017, and increased by another 1.6x the following year. And unfortunately, the “friendly fire” of people reusing passwords – more than 70% according to some studies – makes the battle against compromised credentials that much harder to fight.

“We have reached the point where compromised credential screening is really a must-have in order to adequately secure the authentication layer of your customer applications and corporate systems,” Enzoic founder and CTO Mike Wilson said. “Balancing security with user experience is a business imperative; unlike some other solutions on the market, our solutions provide protection without unnecessary friction.”

Founded in 2016, the company – as PasswordPing – demonstrated its credential screening technology at FinovateFall 2018. A finalist in the Innovation Quotient awards last year, Enzoic was named Startup of the Year at the 13th Annual 2018 IT World awards back in October.

Postmates Adds Delivery To 1,000 More Cities Ahead Of IPO

Delivery company Postmates announced on Tuesday (April 23) that it is expanding and adding 1,000 more cities, bringing the total number of cities it serves to 3,500 across all 50 states, according to report by Fortune.

Postmates said it’s now available to upwards of 70 percent of households in the country, which is up from 26 percent in the middle of 2018.

Postmates is currently preparing an initial public offering (IPO), for which it filed quietly in February. The company will join a slew of high-profile tech companies that have filed for IPOs this year, including Uber and Lyft.

The company is in a crowded market and has many competitors, including Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash.

The company is the fourth-biggest food delivery service by user spending, and has had two huge investments recently to the tune of $400 million, which has allowed for expansion.

“We weren’t able to spend that much money in 2018 because we weren’t the most capitalized player,” said Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann, in reference to DoorDash and Uber Eats. “We are now putting the money we have raised to great use.”

Postmates has a valuation of $1.85 billion, compared to $7.1 billion for DoorDash. Postmates, however, doesn’t only deliver food. It will deliver anything from a toothbrush to alcohol.

Lehmann co-founded the company with Sean Plaice and Sam Street in 2011.

“We wanted to enable anyone to have anything on-demand,” Lehmann said.

Postmates leans toward millennials, which make up about 75 percent of its customer base, and it’s been introducing new services to help increase its business and efficiency.

It debuted Postmates Unlimited, which lets customers get free delivery for orders over $15, in 2016. Lehmann said the service makes up a third of all orders and triples the numbers of orders a customer will make, on average.

Postmates has also avoided some of the blowback other delivery companies have faced over covering workers’ wages with tips.

“I think it’s horrible to subsidize the earnings with tips,” Lehmann said. “We have never even entertained the thought that we could disguise the pickup fee from you, so we can subsidize it with the tips you’re getting.”

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

Tencent Invests In Argentinian Mobile Banking Startup

Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent has invested in Argentinian mobile banking startup Uala, according to a report from Reuters.

Point72 Ventures and George Soros have also invested in the mobile payment company. The startup’s Founder Pierpaolo Barbieri said the Chinese company would help Uala develop its app, among other things. He did not reveal the amount of the investment, but said it would significantly raise the company’s valuation.

There has been a lot of interest from China toward the Latin American region, with companies like Didi Chuxing, Huawei and Baidu all looking for investments in the area.

Tencent said last year that it was going to boost its investments in certain “key areas,” including digital payments. The company competes with Alipay, which is another huge player in the sector.

Tencent’s payment app, WeChat, has more than one billion users in China, and the company has developed in-app services to compete with Google and Apple.

Last year, the company invested $180 million in the financial tech company Nu Pagamentos, which is located in Brazil.

“The idea is that it’s not just money. It’s about learning from their experience in China and in other Asian markets to inform our Latin America strategy,” Barbieri told Reuters. He said his company was approached by Tencent and traveled to China to meet with executives from the company. The investment, he noted, will help to speed up Uala’s plans.

Uala offers users prepaid Mastercards, metro card refills, digital payments and bill payment services. Although there are some regulatory issues in Argentina the company has to deal with, many successful startups have emerged from the region, such as the U.S.-listed MercadoLibre and online travel company Despegar.com.

The country has a large unbanked population, and is seeing a rush of digital finance companies competing with traditional banking institutions.

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

It’s Not Easy Solving For $1.5 Trillion In Student Debt

This week Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren managed to capture a lot of airtime — no small feat in a field with over 20 people in it — with what is as of yet the largest and most radical proposed solution to the student debt situation in the United States.

Simply put, Elizabeth Warren wants to cancel student debt.

Admittedly the plan is quite a bit more complex than that, as detailed by Sen. Warren in a Medium post that went live yesterday (April 22). In broad strokes, for students from families with less than $100,000 a year in annual income, $50,000 in student loan forgiveness would be available. The post also calls for “substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000.” The Warren plan also calls for the elimination of tuition at all two-year and four-year public institutions of higher learning, and would create a fund of at least $50 billion specifically for historically black colleges and universities. Federals subsidies for for-profit colleges would be banned.

All in, the plan would cost $1.25 trillion over 10 years, and has received all kinds of feedback from rapturous praise to apocalyptic warnings that adopting such a plan would be the end of American society as we know it, with all make and manner of reactions and responses in between. We salute the political, policy and news organizations that get to sift through all that. We’re also deeply glad not to be one of them.

Because while much of Sen. Warren’s post was controversial, at least one idea contained within it is not: There is $1.5 trillion worth of student loan debt outstanding in the U.S. and it is creating problems. According to the Federal Reserve, it is making debt holders less likely to buy homes; according to the Philadelphia Fed, it’s also keeping borrowers from starting businesses. Moreover, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted, there are costs to the staggering size of the student debt load in American that are harder to directly track with data.

“You do stand to see longer-term negative effects on people who can’t pay off their student loans. It hurts their credit rating, it impacts the entire half of their economic life.”

And while the candidates debate whether a 10-year, trillion (with a t) dollar project is the best way to go after the problem, there are smaller-scale efforts at play in the startup community tackling student debt from an entirely new angle. The current model asks students to make a large upfront investment in their future earnings that requires a massive debt load. Under an emerging model, the income share agreement (ISA), a third party makes that investment, and only sees a return when the student is a productive economic unit.

The ISA Model

The best known proponent of the ISA model is the Lambda School, founded in 2017. Valued at $150 million, as of early January 2019 the firm has snapped up $30 million in new funding from the likes of Geoff Lewis, the founder of Bedrock, along with Google Ventures, GGV Capital, Vy Capital and Y Combinator, as well as actor Ashton Kutcher.

Lambda is not a solution for a four-year degree or a two-year degree as of yet. The program is focused on filling gaps in employment, meaning places where there are worker shortages are usually where Lambda starts its program construction efforts — areas like nursing, programming and cybersecurity are popular.

Those courses are offered for no upfront charge; students pay nothing for the education they receive through the program. Instead, under an ISA, students are required to pay a percentage of their income for a set amount of time after graduating, provided they find a good enough job and earn enough money to make that payoff.

For Lambda, students are required to pay 17 percent of their income for two years after graduation, if they find a job that pays $55,000 a year or better. Payments are capped at $30,000, so a highly-paid student isn’t penalized for success, and if a student loses a job, the payments pause.

“There are no schools that are incentivized to make their students successful anywhere. The schools get paid up front, they get paid in cash, whether that’s by the government or whether that’s by an individual doesn’t really matter,” said Austen Allred, co-founder and chief executive of Lambda. “At the end of the day, the schools get paid no matter what. I think in order to create better outcomes the school has to take the hit.”

And while Lambda and its proposed multidisciplinary school have attracted the most headlines, it isn’t the only player in the ISA field. Vemo Education vets students for a handful of other schools on behalf of potential investors. Such loans allow higher education recruiter Amy Wroblewski to pay off her college debts in 8.5 years with payments of $279 per month — if her salary remains the same. If she makes more, the payment goes up, if she loses her job, the payments pause.

“Even with all my other loans, I knew I could make it work,” Wroblewsk told Bloomberg.

The Critics

ISAs have garnered a lot of enthusiasm, particularly in recent months. But the model is still relatively rarely applied. Yale reportedly attempted an ISA in the 1970s that lasted until the early 2000s — but the program was plagued by problems an ultimately needed to be bailed out by the university financially and was quietly wound down in 2001.

Critics of the model compare it to indentured servitude, and note that consumers may often be agreeing to sign away quite a bit more of their income than they would have had they stuck with a traditional loan product. Whether the product works for a student is a result of a lot of factors and variables that are hard to predict for any individual student, said Julie Margetta Morgan, a fellow who studies higher education at the Roosevelt Institute.

“It’s pretty darn near impossible to say whether an ISA is better or worse for an individual,” she said.

Others have claimed this is another broadside against traditional liberal arts education, since the students who do best in ISA agreements tend to have STEM-connected courses, as investors typically ask for a smaller slice from more lucrative majors. At Purdue, for example, English majors borrowing $10,000 pay 4.52 percent of their future income over nearly 10 years, while chemical engineers pay 2.57 percent in a little over seven years.

Moreover, critics say, because investors are looking for “good investments,” they might easily overlook non-traditional but high-potential students.

Lambda’s Allred conceded that risk, but said it is inherent in any competitive process, including college admission itself. “I think schools should be actively trying to determine who will be successful and that’s part of your job. Harvard does that, right?”

Moreover, he said, a situation where students are taking on debt and extending it into their 40s, 50s and 60s is unsustainable — and corrosive. Change needs to come from somewhere, he said, and ISAs at least give students options when trying to decide how to finance what is becoming one of life’s larger purchases.

And while one might not like Lambda’s solution or Senator Warren’s, their point of agreement does seem to hold. Someone is going to have to find a solution — before the gravity of student debt starts sucking the rest of the economy into a black hole.

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

Standard Chartered Unveils Digital Card Issuance; UnionPay Inks Cooperation Agreements

Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes Standard Chartered Bank’s unveiling of instant digital credit issuance in Singapore. In addition, Google has debuted a rewards points program for Google Play customers in South Korea, and UnionPay International (UPI) has come to cooperation agreements with institutions in six countries, including Indonesia and Thailand.

Standard Chartered Bank has unveiled instant digital credit issuance in Singapore to shorten the process of accessing a credit card, according to reports. While the company taps into technology that pre-populates many deals in the application form, clients who already have credit cards through the bank will have a less extensive form to fill out. Applicants can activate their cards after they attain immediate approval for their applications. They can then add their cards to wallets from Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. “Most consumers these days, especially millennials, expect products, services and information to be easily and instantly available digitally,” said Natalia Goh, Standard Chartered Bank Singapore’s head of credit cards and personal loans.

In South Korea, Google has rolled out rewards points for customers who make in-app purchases in the Google Play store, ZDNet reported. Through the Google Play Points program, customers will receive one point for each 1,000 won made in purchases at the bronze tier. Users on the silver tier, however, will accumulate 1.1 points per 1,000 won, as well as six points for each 5,000 won spent. It was also reported that promotions will provide points for specific apps. South Korea will serve as the second country with the service, as Google Play Points first came to Japan in 2018.

And UnionPay International (UPI) inked cooperation agreements with institutions in six countries including Thailand and Indonesia, among others, according to an announcement. The agreements encompass the construction of local payment networks as well as UnionPay card issuance. The move, according to the report, “reflects the latest achievements of UPI to localize its business through multiple measures along the Belt and Road, and its support to personnel exchanges along this area.” The company claims that 106 Belt and Road regions and countries have UnionPay services, and that 31 regions and countries have the availability of Union Pay mobile payment services.

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

Expensify Integrates With Grab Ridesharing For Asia T&E Expansion

Corporate travel and expense management software provider Expensify is expanding its reach in Southeast Asia through a new collaboration with the region’s leading ridesharing company, Grab.

A press release Tuesday (April 23) said Expensify is integrating its solution into Grab, enabling joint customers to automatically submit expenses related to Grab trips when using Grab’s corporate travel platform, Grab Business.

Expensify noted the integration mirrors those recently launched for Uber and Lyft in other markets.

“Business travel has become one of Grab’s priority segments, with more users discovering and using Grab Business Profiles every day,” said Grab for Business Regional Head of Business Development Shawn Heng in a statement. “Partnering with Expensify, a great app for anyone who needs to keep track of receipts and expenses, is an exciting next step to make business travel even smoother for all of Grab’s customers.”

Expensify pointed to its recent Spend Trends report that found Grab experienced a 200 percent growth rate last year — the highest in the ridesharing category — with much of that growth a result of its investment in business travel.

Earlier this month, Grab Managing Director and Head of Financial Services Ankur Mehrotra spoke with PYMNTS about the company’s continued growth and the focus on its digital wallet, which has now been downloaded by 144 million users in Southeast Asia. The company is also focused on the drivers themselves, partnering with companies like Toyota and smaller service providers to address the needs of both users and drivers, he told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster.

Expensify, meanwhile, is focused on growth through product development, having recently launched new software to support freelance workers and self-employed professionals in need of more efficient ways of tracking business expanses and filing taxes. The company’s solution was featured in PYMNTS’ February Workforce Spend Management Tracker.™

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

Coinbase Lays Off 30, Shutters Chicago Office

Digital currency exchange Coinbase has shuttered its Chicago office and laid off 30 engineers, according to a report in Fortune.

The company had opened the office as part of a rapid expansion, and Coinbase said it was going to scale back and make a new “matching engine” targeted toward high-frequency trading.

“We have made the difficult decision to consolidate the matching engine efforts and thus wind down the matching engine team in Chicago. We will look to relocate a small number of Chicago-based matching engine employees to San Francisco,” said the company.

Even as crypto prices fell in 2018 and trading volumes decreased significantly, Coinbase continued to expand, building its employee roster to include 800 people.

A Coinbase employee said the Chicago closing was a setback, but the company continues to add new employees in other departments. The employee also said it was diversifying, adding custody services and over-the-counter trading.

Cryptocurrency saw a dramatic rise in value through 2017, when bitcoin reached $20,000 and other digital currencies saw extremely high valuations. The bubble burst in 2018, and many currencies saw their value drop more than 90 percent.

Those dramatic revenue dips hurt companies like Coinbase, which earns revenue from trading. Even with bitcoin slowly regaining value, companies like Coinbase are looking for other ways to make money.

The company, which is based in San Francisco, said it was going to keep a remote sales team in Chicago, and that it planned to expand to New York, Portland and London.

Earlier in April, Coinbase announced the launch of the Coinbase Card in the U.K., which is a Visa debit card that lets customers in the U.K. spend crypto as easily as money sitting in a bank account.

In a blog post, Zeeshan Feroz, chief executive of Coinbase U.K., said the Coinbase Card is funded by customers’ Coinbase account crypto balances, giving them the ability to pay in-store and online with bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other digital tokens. Customers are able to use the card in millions of places around the world to pay for things via contactless, chip or PIN and make cash withdrawals from ATMs. When the customer uses the Coinbase Card, the crypto is instantly converted into fiat currency such as GBP.

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

Tesla To Have Robotaxi Fleet By 2020; Waymo To Build Self-Driving Cars In Detroit

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he will launch the company’s robotaxi program by 2020, according to reports.

“I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year – not in all jurisdictions, because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere,” Musk said, although he didn’t mention specific regulations.

People who own equipped Teslas will be able to add their own vehicles to the company’s ride-sharing app, which will work like Uber or other similar companies.

The carmaker will take between 25 percent and 30 percent of the revenue from the rides, and where there aren’t enough cars to go around, Tesla will provide a fleet of robotaxis.

All new Teslas currently being manufactured are equipped with a self-driving chip that Musk said is the “best in the world.” He said the software will be created next, and then it will be ready to go.

“From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we’ll have over a million robotaxis on the road,” Musk said. “The fleet wakes up with an over-the-air update; that’s all it takes.”

In other self-driving news, Reuters is reporting that Waymo, a company under the umbrella of Alphabet, which owns Google, has picked a Detroit factory to make self-driving cars.

Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik said the company was teaming up with American Axle & Manufacturing to redo a Detroit factory, with the aim of it being operational by the middle of 2019.

Waymo is thought by many to be at the forefront of making self-driving technology a reality, even if many experts think it will be a few years before the tech is actually viable.

Uber, General Motors and, of course, Tesla are all competing to be the first to bring the cars to the masses. Waymo already has a robotaxi fleet in Arizona consisting of retrofitted Chrysler Pacifica minivans, with plans to expand the program.

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Digital Align

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Register today and save your spot.

AlignMoney from Digital Align is the world’s first digital Banking-as-a -Benefit platform for employees offered by employers to enable financial success at the workplace.

Features

  • A new benefit for employers to attract talent and retain loyal employees
  • Easy to apply and get instantly approved by multiple lenders
  • A new distribution channel for banks and credit unions.

Why it’s great
AlignMoney is a Banking-as-a-Benefit platform that provides easy access to banking products and services at the workplace to assure employee financial inclusion and financial success.

Presenters

Rajeesh Patil, Founder and President
Patil is a leader and solution architect with expertise in building strategy and execution plans for transforming all banking business functions in the areas of customer and employee experience.
LinkedIn

Praveen Shekar, Head of Sales
Shekar is a passionate sales leader with experience in selling software to enterprise customers. He has extensive experience working in banking and technology with a focus on digital transformation.
LinkedIn

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Digital Align

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Register today and save your spot.

AlignMoney from Digital Align is the world’s first digital Banking-as-a -Benefit platform for employees offered by employers to enable financial success at the workplace.

Features

  • A new benefit for employers to attract talent and retain loyal employees
  • Easy to apply and get instantly approved by multiple lenders
  • A new distribution channel for banks and credit unions.

Why it’s great
AlignMoney is a Banking-as-a-Benefit platform that provides easy access to banking products and services at the workplace to assure employee financial inclusion and financial success.

Presenters

Rajeesh Patil, Founder and President
Patil is a leader and solution architect with expertise in building strategy and execution plans for transforming all banking business functions in the areas of customer and employee experience.
LinkedIn

Praveen Shekar, Head of Sales
Shekar is a passionate sales leader with experience in selling software to enterprise customers. He has extensive experience working in banking and technology with a focus on digital transformation.
LinkedIn

Amazon Offers In-Garage Delivery With Key

Amazon has launched its Key in-garage delivery service, which was tested in 37 cities earlier this year, according to reports.

Now available in 50 cities, the delivery service is made for customers with a myQ smart garage door opener, which works with a smartphone. Users can give couriers access to the garage through the smartphone, and they’ll place the packages inside.

Once it’s installed, eligible prime members can select the “in-garage” option at checkout.

“On delivery day, you will receive a notification in the morning with a 4-hour delivery window for when the delivery driver will arrive at your home. Right before the driver arrives at your home, you will receive an “Arriving Now” notification. You can choose to watch the delivery happening live if you have opted to install an Amazon Cloud Cam as part of your In-Garage Kit,” Amazon explained.

“The driver will request to open your door via their Amazon handheld delivery device. Amazon verifies that the package(s) belong to the address and the driver is near the correct door, turns on Cloud Cam if you have one, and opens the garage door,” Amazon continues in its instructions. “No special codes or keys are given to the driver. The driver will then place the package(s) just inside the door and request that it be closed. The driver will not move on to his or her next delivery until the door is completely closed. Once the delivery is complete and the door is closed, and you will get a final notification that the delivery is complete (and can watch a video clip of the delivery if you have a Cloud Cam).”

The new technology is intended to cut down on “porch pirates,” or package thieves who target unattended boxes sitting on porches.

Amazon also said it thoroughly checks its drivers.

“In-Garage deliveries are carried out by some of the same professional drivers who you know and trust to deliver your Amazon orders today,” the company said. “These individuals are thoroughly vetted, with comprehensive background checks and motor vehicle records reviews.”

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: DataDock Solutions

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Register today and save your spot.

DataDock Solutions empowers its clients to make better decisions about what customers they trade with and where they allocate their risk wallet.

Features

  • Delivers data analytics, advanced metrics, and rich visuals
  • Helps make rigorous, consistent, and precise decisions
  • Provides 90% of the functionality with less than 10% of the cost, and delivers in weeks not years

Why it’s great
Trading revenue is like a soup that has already been cooked: you can’t take the ingredients back out. DataDock uses powerful simulations to provide the next best thing: a recipe book and a taste test.

Presenters

Kumaran Vijayakumar, CEO and Co-founder
Vijayakumar was global head of equity derivatives and convertibles at BofA. He led the build-out of equities trading at MF Global, and traded exotics/index options at Goldman Sachs and Citi. He has a BS from UC Berkeley, and an MBA from Wharton. Vijayakumar is also a CFA.
LinkedIn.

Thomas Wadsworth, COO and Co-founder
Wadsworth was formerly senior derivatives trader (MD) at Goldman Sachs, focused on single stock options, cross-asset opportunities and technology projects. He co-headed single stock volatility trading at BofA. Wadsworth earned a BE from Vanderbilt University.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Wizely Finance

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Register today and save your spot.

Wizely Finance is a white-label product that empowers financial institutions to deploy any new lending product to their best customers in a matter of weeks, from scratch.

Features

  • Understand customer behavior and cross sell opportunities with predictive analytics
  • Execute an automated, multi-channel marketing strategy
  • Leverage an all-in-one loan origination platform, payoff process and administrative dashboard.

Why it’s great
Wizely Finance is a consumer loan division in a box, providing everything necessary to offer on-demand consumer loans and an elegant user experience.

Presenter

Paris Benson, Founder and CEO
Benson is a three-time fintech entrepreneur, technical founder and customer acquisition specialist who has developed, run, and exited fintech companies over the last decade.
LinkedIn

Social Media Lures Credit Card Giants – And Their Advertising Spend

Now, when you like your credit card rewards … you can really “like” them.

On social media – specifically, on Facebook.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday morning (April 23) that at least a few credit card giants – Capital One Financial Corp. and American Express Co. among them – are spending time (and a significant sum of money) on efforts to buy Facebook ads, looking to get new users for their cards.

As estimated by Mintel Comperemedia’s data analysis (the data is from Pathmatics), Capital One spent $18.6 million on those efforts last year, leagues above the $2.8 million spent in 2017. American Express spent $13.5 million last year, up from $4 million in 2017.

Discover Financial Services has also committed capital to Facebook ads, spending more than $1 million last year, compared to $426,000 in 2017.

Call it, then, an emerging “brave new world” where credit card companies are tapping into bits and bytes to get a bit more traction. Indeed, the digital realm is blurring the lines of how we interact with companies – and, increasingly, digital is the way that at least some issuers are leaning toward the cards themselves.

Witness the announcement last month by tech giant Apple that it was getting into the credit card game with both plastic and virtual offerings, and the news this past week that PayPal might offer credit cards, too. (As the CEO of Ondot Systems said to PYMNTS in an interview this week, the Apple news seems destined to change the “conversation” about how credit card companies come to market with new offers.)

Of course, the traditional “snail mail” conduit still receives the bulk of attention and funding. The Journal reported that data from those aforementioned firms shows that Capital One and Discover spent $377 million and $196 million on mail solicitations for cards. As noted in the DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail response rates are 9 percent to a house list, 5 percent to a prospect list and social media had a 1 percent rate. Financial services firms were among the heaviest users of direct mail, at about 67 percent of firms in that vertical.

Yet getting new cards out in the field remains important as new issuances have slowed, and at least some cards are no longer being used as consumers have “gamed” rewards programs, repeating that system across several cards as they spend just enough to earn the points they need for the goods and services they desire.

If the goal is to get younger consumers, the social media movement makes sense. Some issuers such as American Express are also paying social media “influencers” to post on sites like Twitter in an effort to pique interest among their followers, which can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands and even to millions of individuals.

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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out our April 2019 Unattended Retail Report. 

Traditional FIs See Fintechs as ‘Significant Threat’ by 2022, Study Says

Nearly 80% of traditional financial institutions feel little or no threat from fintechs today, but 65% believe fintechs will be a “significant threat” by 2022, according to a new study by Harvard Business Review. The survey of 300 executives from traditional FIs also found that 20% said their organizations don’t compete with fintechs “at all” …Read More

Unisys releases upgraded version of Elevate open banking platform

Unisys has released an upgraded version of its Elevate omnichannel banking platform, which it says will allow banks to share data with other organizations and more easily integrate third-party apps into their customer platforms.

The platform, originally released in 2017, is designed to help banks become interoperable with other financial institutions and the API in the upgraded version allows banks to offer new products and services without having to rip out legacy technology systems.

“Payments are a key component of Elevate,” Tony Buglione, a spokesman for Unisys told Mobile Payments Today via email. “Our technology enables to pay their bills on the go, transfer funds and conduct other payment transactions using their choice of channel – whether on a mobile device, tablet, online, ATM or in-branch.”

He said Elevate also allows connectivity to faster payments, card manufacture and distribution, provision of digital wallets and fraud monitoring and dispute management.

The technology is currently being used by Monmouthshire Building Society and Sutherland and the company is in talks with several U.S. banks, he said.


Topics: Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Software, Technology Providers


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UBS analyst warns of slow bitcoin recovery

Kevin Dennean, an analyst at Swiss bank UBS Group Inc. has warned clients that bitcoin may take 22 years to reach its former level of $20,000 or more. He said in a research note that bitcoin has gone through its bubble burst phase and will take some time to recover, according to a report by Forbes.

“We’re struck by how long it took other asset bubbles to recover their peak levels (as long as 22 years for the Dow Jones Industrials) and how pedestrian the annualized returns from trough to the recovery often are,” Dennean said in the report.

At the time of this report, bitcoin’s value was at $5,249.


Topics: Bitcoin, Trends / Statistics


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Apriva, AveriGo partner on mobile-first micro market vending techology

Apriva LLC and AveriGo LLC have partnered on a mobile-first solution for launching micro markets in the vending and food/beverage service industry.

AveriGo’s patent-pending technology lets vending operators set and run markets without the traditional upfront equipment, network or software costs and allows them to launch new micro markets in hours, according to a press release.

“All you need is a cooler, some shelves and our Bluetooth beacon at each location,” said Wilfred Martis, vice president of marketing at AveriGo, in the release. “Shoppers simply download our app and they’re ready to grab, buy and go.”

Apriva provided reliable and secure payments options for the solution.

“AveriGo has built a powerful mobile solution that resolves the problem of large upfront investments impeding the growth of micro markets,” said David Riddiford, president at Apriva, in the release. “We’re proud to work with them on this innovative solution, delivering the reliable, secure payment options their vending operators — and their vending consumers — expect when buying from unattended markets.”

Apriva and AveriGo development teams integrated payments into a secure app customers can use to expedite shopping experiences.

The AveriGo Markets Bluetooth beacon, smartphone app and cloud application enable vending operators to deploy markets quickly and inexpensively, according to the release. A unique ID, tied to the micro-market location, is transmitted by the Bluetooth beacon at the location and lets the app know which product catalog to fetch from the cloud application.

A shopper then scans or browses/searches products, adds them to the cart and purchases them with a credit/debit card on the app. It essentially turns a shopper’s smartphone into a personal kiosk and provides vending operators with instant access to data on market traffic, sales, inventory and shopping behavior, according to the release.

“Beyond the convenience of the mobile experience, the app also enables a compelling way to feature new products, promote slow moving or expiring products, and tailor deals to users, products, and even time periods as desired,” Martis said in the release.


Topics: Handsets / Devices, Mobile Apps, Mobile Payments, Technology Providers


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