Data Dive

Data Dive, Omens Edition: Good, Bad and Uncertain


The fall is here, and even if the weather is not exactly cooperating in some parts of the nation with the desired cool crispness, at least the Halloween decorations are keeping us all well-reminded of what season it really is, after all.

So, in honor of the haunted season and the full of fall, we thought we might take our turn reading the tea leaves and teasing the portents out of last week’s big events.  Luckily Stripe, the Secret Service and eBay gave us plenty of leaves to read.

Stripe’s Big Valuation — And Plotted Next Endeavors

It was a good funding round for Stripe, which snapped up $245 million in a new round of venture funding. The latest infusion of funds put Stripe value at $20 billion.

Tiger Global Management led the Stripe investment round with new investors DST Global and Sequoia joining venture funding investors Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst and Thrive Capital.

The new funds will go toward R&D and expanding the Stripe engineering team. The company said that they are not planning any kind of public offering.

“We have no plans to go public,” said John Collison, co-founder of Stripe, in an interview. “We’re fortunate to be in the position that the Stripe business is performing very well and the long-term opportunity is that we’re very optimistic about providing the richer stack to businesses. Strong businesses do not always tend to be dependent on outside funding.”

Stripe, as of today, said that it has millions of customers, accepts payments in 130 countries and can originate charges in 25.

“We believe in the contingency of progress,” Stripe CEO and co-founder Patrick Collison noted in a statement. “Better global payments infrastructure will increase economic output, encourage entrepreneurship and help upstarts compete with incumbents. By bringing Stripe into more markets and building out our capabilities for companies of all sizes, we hope to accelerate innovation around the world.”

And speaking of building capabilities — Stripe also announced this week that is is testing out a Stripe new cash advance product for businesses customers.

According to reports, the new service would provide business owners with access to funds one to two days after applying for the money. Stripe has started to alert customers about the service and issue loans.  The Stripe loan product follows the launch of Stripe Terminal earlier this month, which will enable online businesses and platforms to accept in-person payments with Stripe.

According to Stripe, while the company has been expanding its products to support different online business models — including on-demand companies, internet retailers, commerce platforms, recurring revenue businesses and companies that need to issue their own credit cards — there haven’t been any good ways to unify the acceptance of in-store and online payments.

“The question is: Can we make the offline world as simple as the online world?” Collison said. As a software developer, you should be able to set up payments once, and have it work everywhere you need it to — on your website, in your app, in person, globally.”

The Skimming Scourge

The U.S. Secret Service has sent out a warning about a difficult type of ATM skimming that could take days for criminals to set up.

According to reports in KrebsOnSecurity, the Secret Service has received multiple reports about a form of skimming often called ATM “wiretapping” or “eavesdropping.”

The hack is labor-intensive, requiring thieves to drill a large hole in the front of a cash machine, which is then hidden using a metal faceplate or a decal featuring the bank’s logo or boilerplate instructions on how to use the ATM.  Once drilled, the card skimming tech is fished through the hole and attached to the card reader internally with a magnet. Once in with the skimmer, thieves add a pinhole camera directly in front of or above the PIN pad, recording victims as they enter their PIN in a time-stamped video.

Thieves lately have also been replacing the PIN pad security shield on the ATM with a replica that includes a hidden pinhole camera, hiding the camera components behind the cut hole and fishing the camera wiring and battery through the hole drilled in the front of the machine.

All of this begs the question: how can these guys get away with such an ATM skimming scheme without being noticed? A couple of guys drilling holes in an ATM seems anything but inconspicuous.

eBay’s Big Jump Into Payments

After much anticipation, eBay has officially jumped into the wonderful world of payments mediation. eBay announced on Tuesday (Sept. 25) that it has started managing payments on its Marketplace platform in the U.S.

“The introduction of the new eBay payments system in the U.S. marks a significant milestone in our managed payments journey,” said Steve Fisher, senior vice president of payments at eBay. “In less than eight months since announcing our initiative, we’ve moved rapidly to build our back-end payments platform, engage thoughtfully with our seller community to solicit their input and line up new eBay payment options — all of which has led to the introduction of managed payments. Looking ahead to 2019, we will expand our new experience to more buyers and sellers in the U.S. and begin rolling out our new payments experience outside the U.S.”

Apart from its own in-house service, eBay notes it will continue to provide localized payment options to meet buyers’ and sellers’ unique needs.

The goal of the managed payments service, according to eBay, is to increase efficiency for global customers. Sellers, they say, will benefit from a simplified pricing structure, more predictable access to funds and better visibility into sales and payouts. For buyers, the company said, it will mean an expanded choice of payment options at checkout. Other expanded options will include Apple Pay, which eBay announced earlier this year would be coming to eBay’s mobile app and mobile web offerings (provided mobile web users are using Safari, as Apple Pay doesn’t work with Chrome or other browsers).

The Apple Pay option will roll out slowly at first, available to only a small group of select Marketplace customers in the first phase of its introduction to eBay. The goal is to make the transition to their own in-house payment platform complete by the end of 2021.

Happy Monday — and first day of October.



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. The September 2019 AML/KYC Tracker Report provides an in-depth examination of current efforts to stop money laundering, fight fraud and improve customer identity authentication in the financial services space.


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