For those who may have missed some of the eCommerce and Internet-related news this past month, here are a dozen stories that may be of interest.
Facebook’s Instagram social media app has been hacked and some user accounts were compromised. The hackers exploited a bug in the Instagram API to steal phone numbers and email addresses of ordinary folk and not just high-profile users. Apparently as many as 500 celebrity details are being sold on the Dark Web.
The KPMG/BRC Retail Sales Monitor for August 2017 reports UK eCommerce sales for August grew 11 percent, compared to the same month in 2016. While in-store sales declined 1.4 percent, online retail spending went up 9.8 percent over the previous three months, and 8.8 percent over the year previously.
With a view towards business-to-business payments, Mastercard has reportedly filed a new application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a “uniform settlement system,” that could include a blockchain-based ledger of transactions. Part of the plan is to have the blockchain automatically create a record of all data, such as changes to the ledger.
According to a new RBR study, card payment use worldwide is set to increase 55 percent to 417 billion between 2015 and 2021. Card payments in 2015 rose to 270 billion. Evolving consumer habits is one of the two main drivers of the trend, along with increased acceptance of cards as a payment option. Emerging markets account for much of the increase, such as in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Apple and Google users will soon be able to buy goods and services online with cryptocurrency using a special browser API the companies have developed along with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and other tech companies such browser companies as Microsoft, Samsung and Facebook. The API is aimed at both merchants, by providing a more secure checkout, and consumers, by increasing payment options.
Over 60 banking and social networking apps have been targeted by new banking malware that can steal user credentials and contacts. In addition to blocking calls, the Red Alert malware greets users with an error message page and also takes over SMS functions.
The newly launched iOS 11 operating system does not include some expected features, such as Apple Pay Cash. The digitally-emulated debit card funds are stored in the Apple Wallet, which can be used to send or receive money using iMessage. The new OS does not include iMessages, although the feature may be added later.
Mobile payments are on the rise, with an estimated 17 percent of US consumers now using their smartphones to pay. The report, from ACI Worldwide and Aite, says that number is up from 2014, when it was six percent. Interestingly, India is top of the list with 56 percent of consumers saying they use their smartphones regularly to pay for goods and services.
Consumers can get two percent back on every purchase they make with the new PayPal credit card. Targeting bricks-and-mortar payments, the new PayPal card charges no annual fee, with the rewards available to the user via their e-wallet. PayPal is trying to diversify its financial services by making its brand useful for all payment transactions for everyday use.
Mastercard and Swarovski have teamed on a virtual reality shopping app for the Atelier Swarovski home decor line. The immersive app lets Masterpass users browse and purchase from a collection of crystal home accessories. Consumers can navigate through an online home and the collection by moving their heads.
According to the China Research Center, China’s eCommerce trading for the first half of 2017 reached $2.03 trillion. While online retail sales reached $470 million, business-to-business transactions topped $1.3 trillion. Cross-border eCommerce was up 30.7 percent year-on-year for the first half of 2017, which in turn represented 26.9 percent of the country’s eCommerce trade volume.
Consumer credit score giant Equifax says that between mid-May and July, 2017, as many as 143 million consumers had their personal data compromised. Names, driver’s license numbers, and social security numbers were accessed. In addition, more than 200,000 credit card numbers were also compromised. While data for mostly US consumers was affected, UK and Canadian residents were also involved.
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