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Apple’s Wearables And French Biometrics Get Fancy

Welcome to What’s Trending In Payments – a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines – for better or for worse – this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.

TOPIC ONE: Will Apple Wearables Be Chic?

Why It’s Hot

The fashion and tech industries were abuzz this week with the news that Apple had hired former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Devene as its new vice president of special products. Deneve previously worked as a sales and marketing manager for Apple in Europe between 1990 and 1997, according to IBN Live.

Apple says that Devene will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, but was otherwise scant on details in terms of what Devene’s tasks will be. Mystery and intrigue abound.

Karen’s Commentary

I’d like to know who made the rule that ‘wearables’ have to be electronics? If this industry really wants women (or at least certain women J) to embrace wearables, and for wearables to actually be one of the magic “things” that ignites payments, then they better channel a little haute couture. Little known fact … YSL is killing it in the accessories department -handbags, shoes and sunglasses. So, could this be the signaling of a new trend in wearables that includes leather and cute heels?

Top Tweet

@MoniqueWoodard: That is going to be one fancy iWatch. >> Did Apple Hire Former Yves Saint Laurent CEO to Work on Wearables? Businessoffashion.com/2013/07/did-ap… via @bof

This is a pretty logical connection that I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t make right away, but no one has ever accused me of being particularly forward-thinking when it comes to fashion. But if Apple wants to make iWatch or iGlass or iWearablePod or whatever else they come up with cool, this would certainly be a good start.

And speaking of fancy …

TOPIC TWO: The Fancy Is Cool Because Will Smith Said So

Why It’s Hot

We’ve featured Fancy, which is “part store, part blog, part bookmarking tool and part magazine,” several times on PYMNTS before. Now the site is getting attention all over the Interwebs, as they’ve raised $53 million in a new round of funding. And it’s not just the amount that’s turning heads: it’s the investors.

From Will Smith to billionaire Len Blavatnik to a little payments company known as American Express, Fancy’s latest reported backers are quite impressive.

Overall, the company is now valued at around $600 million: that could buy you a lot of waterproof pool tables and Ninja Turtles-themed soap.

Karen’s Commentary

Well, one thing’s for sure. Fancy sure took a “fancy” to the notion of making money a whole lot sooner than Pinterest did. I wonder if this will now motivate Pinterest to seek funding from Tommy Lee Jones so that they can start turning “pins” into moolah? 

Top Tweet

@EllieMaySouth: I fancy will smith 

There are plenty of ways I could’ve gone with this. I could’ve cleverly referred to, “oh you fancy, huh?” I could have included a tweet about Fancy Feast. I could have covered a tweet that actually pertains to this story.

But there are only so many times a man gets the opportunity to link to this clip in his life. And I’m not ready to pass this chance up. Will Smith is the man.

TOPIC THREE: French Give Biometric Payments A Thumbs Up

Why It’s Hot

France isn’t the first country to toy around with biometric payments, but it may be the one with the most promising chance for success. That’s what EMEA editor Chanel Smith found this week, covering a recent biometrics trial in France run by supermarket chain Auchan and DIY store Leroy Merlin.

In her report, Smith highlights a WorldPay study citing 49 percent of European consumers as “eager to use biometric payments,” and explains why the latest trial run in France might fare better than Pay By Touch’s failed run in the U.S.

There are still plenty of barriers for biometric payments to overcome, of course, but it’s a cool idea and a cool story nonetheless.

Karen’s Commentary

Sure, and if only Napoleon were taller, he might have had more confidence. Pay by Touch by any other name, even if translated in French, is still trouble if you ask me. 

Top Tweet

@ErolKazan: France: End of chip and Pin? Shoppers test payment by fingerprint #biometric @Telegraph goo.gl/rKMCj

This is a pretty forward thinking tweet, as where nowhere near biometric payments replacing established payments tech yet. But if fingerprint or retina scanning or whatever else really does take off, well … thinking about the implications is pretty fascinating.

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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. The July 2019 Pay Advances: The Gig Economy’s New Normal, a PYMNTS and Mastercard collaboration, examines pay advances – full or partial payments received before an ad hoc job is completed – including how gig workers currently use them and their potential for future adoption.

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