Payment Picks: Xapo’s BTC Card Delayed, AmEx Confronts Justice Department

This past week witnessed several noteworthy developments in the payment industry space. Our colleagues at Payment Magnates have provided us

paymentmagTop stories this week include Xapo’s new round of funding for their upcoming Bitcoin loaded payment card, American Express’ continued battle against the US Justice Department on merchant fees, a look at fraud statistics on mobile devices, and Russia’s newfound acceptance of Bitcoin.

Bank of Russia Looking to Legalize Bitcoin

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In an interesting move, the Bank of Russia has changed its stand on the idea of Bitcoin and signals it is ready to legalize the cryptocurrency and fully allow its use as a legitimate currency.

While Bitcoin may not have the brightest of histories, legalizing its use can give the bank the ability to closely monitor and regulate its use throughout the region.

In January, the beginning of this year, the Bank of Russia issued a statement strongly encouraging residents to steer clear of Bitcoin due to the anonymity factor behind it, claiming it can result in illegal activities such as money laundering and financial terrorism. Other claims such as its high-risk value were also mentioned.

To read the full article click here.

Android vs iOS. Which Mobile OS Generates More Fraud?

A new report generated by fraud prevention vendor Iovation, compares fraud across the more popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS. With iOS powered devices ruling the Mcommerce sector, which operating system generates more fraud?

It has long been thought that iOS creates a more inviting environment to which customers are willing to hand over their payment details. From music through iTunes and premium applications on the AppStore, Apple’s ecosystem is considered high-priced when compared to main rival Android.

To read the full article click here.

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AmEx Continues to Battle the US Justice Department on Merchant Fees

American Express’ 4-year-long battle with the US Justice Department may mean drastic new changes in the card payment industry.

In  2010, a class action law suit was filed against the major card firms MasterCard, Visa and AmEx due to excessive fees associated to supporting merchants by the US justice Department. MasterCard and Visa were quick to settle and paid out an amount of $5.7 billion collectively. AmEx on the other hand stood their ground and has been legally battling the Justice Department ever since.

AmEx boasts the priciest fee structure with an average of 2%-3% merchant fees every time an AmEx card transaction is processed. With a 26% market share in the US, and a Take or Leave it policy when it comes to its fee structure, many merchants find themselves unable to not support the card brand.

To read the full article click here.

Xapo Secures Additional $20 million in Series A Funding. Bitcoin Card Still a No Show

Bitcoin wallet and cold storage solution Xapo has recently secured a record series A funding totaling $40 million.

The new round of funding was led by venture capital (VC) firms, Index Ventures and Greylock Partners, and included investments from venture capitalist Yuri Milner, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and former Yahoo CEO, Jerry Yang, resulting in funding to the amount of $20 million. This in addition to the original $20 million provided by Benchmark, Fortress Investment Group and Ribbit Capital back in March 2014.

According to a post on Xapo’s blog regarding the new round of funding, CEO Wences Casares has stated the new capital will help ensure the development and maintenance of a framework for consumers to securely use Bitcoin in their daily lives. Also, the firm has appointed 2 new board observers in the form of Reid Hoffman and Mike Volpi.  According to Casares, the new observers both “have a proven history of recognizing emerging technologies before they reach the masses,” as a result of their previous tech oriented positions.

But where is Xapo’s BTC card? In the beginning of June 2014 Xapo released a statement insuring the Xapo card will be made available by the end of the month.  June has since come and gone, but the card and the active financial entities behind it still remain a mystery. A recent email was sent out to users which pre-ordered the card, in addition to a updated FAQ, mentioning the card will be made available in July 2014.

To read the full article click here.

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