Global brand Square moves one step closer to offering full-fledged banking services while Stripe acquires POS startup Index. And in other news, Mastercard completes its acquisition of Oltio and EverCompliant secures investment from American Express.

EverCompliant secures investment from American Express to sustain technology innovation and optimization efforts. A press release announcing the financing highlights research collected by EverCompliant (a money laundering detection and prevention service provider) that claims an average of 6-10% over a merchant service provider’s known portfolio are unknown and unregistered merchants illegally committing transaction laundering.

The company’s continued innovation targets solutions that stop and prevent this type of fraudulent activity.

“As more commerce shifts online, the need for advanced solutions that can help payment service providers fight fraudulent transactions will continue to grow,” said Managing Partner of American Express Ventures Harshul Sanghi, via the same release. “We look forward to helping EverCompliant as it addresses increased demand for its technology.”

EverCompliant COO Danny Klein spoke with PaymentFacilitator.com last year regarding the risk that comes with frictionless onboarding. That interview can be found here.

The Middle East B2C Ecommerce Report details major growth and significant challenges for 2018-2020. According to the press release, the Research and Markets report verifies that countries in the Middle East are seeing rapid growth in online retail sales. Sales in the UAE alone doubled between 2015 and 2017, while the neighboring Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is projected to see even more impressive growth rates and eventually overtake the UAE by the turn of this decade as the largest online retail market of the Gulf.

Combined ecommerce sales in the Gulf countries are projected to more than double between 2017 and 2020, with one of the main growth drivers being high internet connectivity rates among the population, the firm said.

As for challenges, the report suggests the prevalence of cash-on-delivery over other payment methods and consumer concern regarding the safety of ecommerce and online payment transactions.

Square’s Cash app now enables direct deposit of your paycheck The global brand is bringing itself one step closer to a full-fledged banking option for its customers, according to TechCrunch.

With the Cash app, users can now get their paycheck or other deposits put directly into their Cash balance, via ACH. This new feature, in conjunction with the Cash app’s debit card, offers similar basic functions to a standard bank account. And according to the same article, this functionality bodes well for replacing the traditional bank account in certain market segments such as the underbanked and the younger generation beginning their employment journey.

Mastercard has completed its acquisition of mobile payments technology company Oltio. Oltio enables consumers to authenticate Masterpass digital wallet purchases in South Africa using their mobile phone and bank PIN, according to the press release.

“Too many consumers and merchants in the MEA region are stuck in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them,” says Mastercard Southern Africa Division President Mark Elliott via the same release. “By combining our joint expertise, technologies and reach, we can bridge the divide between the region’s cash economies and the digital future, bringing the benefits of digital payments to more people and businesses.”

Issuers will benefit from additional functionality including bill payments and person-to-person payments while, on the merchant side, even the smallest businesses will be able to accept digital payments using QR code technology,

Stripe acquires POS software startup Index. The acquisition, according to Business Insider, will enable Stripe to focus on serving “deep-pocketed enterprise customers.”

Index, backed by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s venture-capital firm Innovation Endeavors, provides software for in-store POS systems.

The article said that the combined solution, will enable customers’ physical and digital payments data to be stored in one place, as well as enable Stripe to help its clients set up shop in a traditional store.