Tag Archives: mobile payments

Mastercard throws weight behind EU Green Paper on mobile payments

In response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on electronic payments, published today, Mastercard is the first major payment company to officially lend support to the campaign.

The goal of the paper is to expand electronic payments to help European businesses grow, and consumers to shop easily and safely online, instore and via their mobile devices.

Mastercard Europe president Javier Perez said that the company supports public dialogue on the critical role electronic payments play in commerce and society.

MasterCard is already working hard to encourage adoption of electronic payments. Greater use can help reduce the black economy, stimulate investment and improve efficiency, resulting in improved consumer and business confidence in tough times.”

MastrCard said that it thought a shift was underway as European consumers move from cash to more efficient forms of electronic payments. Payments online and via smartphones are also growing dramatically as consumers change the way they shop and pay.

The company’s own PayPass technology is being used across Europe more and more, while Visa, PayPal and Google are racing to make the biggest mark on the mobile payments space. No wonder, since technology analysis firm Yankee Group predicts the value of NFC transactions will grow from $27m in 2010 to $40bn in 2014.

Visa announced this week that its NFC payment system has now been certified for use in LG, Samsung and RIM smartphones, and back in November it confirmed that its digital wallet service will be called V.me.

Expected to be rolled out fully in early 2012, Visa is running a developer programme that brings together all of its current subsidiaries including Authorize.Net, CyberSource, Fundamo and PlaySpan. Its aim is to give retailers, merchants and start-ups better access to Visa’s payments services, since the tools provide mobile developers with easier ways to accept payments on handsets.

With PayPal’s own digital wallet service is expected to launch this year – as well as Google Wallet on the market – it’ll be interesting to see how products from the big three compare over the coming year.

On top of huge potential for growth, green and commerce benefits, Mastercard also highlighted that many of the cards already in use by European consumers help them set limits on how they spend, help them decide where they want to spend, and help them use whatever online or offline technologies they want to use to pay.

These opportunities for consumers to be in control of the way they pay were nearly unheard of when the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative within the EU began. Europe was a pioneer in creating safe and convenient new ways to pay such as EMV chip cards.

Perez explained that these and many other innovations come from intense competition, and can only be supported with a sustainable business model.

The payments sector needs to have a sustainable business model to fund innovations that will keep Europe ahead of the rest of the world. We expect that the consultation process started today will reveal just how much the way to pay in daily life has changed for everyone.”


Shopkick mobile app draws traditional retailers

A trip to the mall? No thanks. They’re too loud and too costly. Better to stay home and shop online.

What’s that? You’ll pay me to go to the mall? Well, that’s another story. Indeed, it’s the business model behind Shopkick, one of the most interesting shopping apps around. Available for free for Apple Inc.’s iPhones or for phones running Google Inc.’s Android operating system, Shopkick is a different kind of shopping loyalty service. Lots of us carry a plastic loyalty card that earns extra discounts at a favorite supermarket. Shopkick uses smartphone technology to keep track of your visits to many different retailers. Through Shopkick, the store can offer you special discounts that flash on your smartphone screen. But Shopkick also tempts you with benefit points, called “kicks,’’ that you get just for visiting the store, even if you don’t spend a dime.

The idea is to retrain Internet-savvy shoppers to spend more time and money at brick-and-mortar stores. That’s a traditional retailer’s dream, which is why so many major companies have bought into the Shopkick system, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot, Stop & Shop, and lots more.

One of Shopkick’s coolest features is based on some delightfully geeky technology. Drop in at Best Buy with the Shopkick app running on your phone. Walk through the door and wait for a few seconds. With a happy little jingle, the phone informs you that you’ve gotten 60 kicks just for crossing the threshold.

GPS signals usually won’t penetrate buildings, so how does it know where you are? Shopkick has persuaded Best Buy and other merchants to install a network of small speakers that broadcast high-frequency sound, the kind that’s too high-pitched for human ears. I don’t know whether dogs can hear it, but the microphone in a smartphone can pick it up. The sound tells the Shopkick app that you’re inside the local Best Buy, and so you get your reward. You can collect kicks this way once a day, so Shopkick gives users a reason for return visits.

The app uses the same location technology to reward you for wandering the aisles. For example, if you walk to the Best Buy video game department, you get 20 kicks, and 20 more for strolling over to digital imaging. The ultrasonic system is precise enough to track you as you go.

I learned about Shopkick from a local tech executive who confidently told me that its ultrasonic location technology wouldn’t work. Actually, it does, though not perfectly. On one visit, a stroll to the imaging department produced no points. But overall, it’s surprisingly effective.

You can get more kicks with help from the phone’s camera. Just scan the bar codes of certain items. Sometimes getting rewards this way requires making a purchase. For instance, at the 16 Simon Malls in Massachusetts, such as the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, you can get 200 kicks by purchasing an American Express gift card, then scanning its bar code.

But many such offers cost nothing. For instance, at Best Buy I picked up 10 kicks just for scanning the bar code on a Hewlett-Packard Co. inkjet printer; at Target, I got a bunch more by scanning the new Lego Pirates of the Caribbean video game. Such offers are designed to turn shopping into a sort of treasure hunt, where you enter stores you might otherwise never visit, and check out items you didn’t think you’d want.

Again, the technology can stumble; Shopkick requires a decent cellphone signal, and that can sometimes be a problem in malls. The Target at South Shore Plaza is in the basement; after scanning an item, I had to run to the front door to collect kicks.

Collect enough kicks, and you can turn them in for a variety of goodies. I’m still trying to get up to 400; that will entitle me to a $25 gift certificate from Restaurant.com. Other offers include gift cards from various retailers, movie tickets, or my favorite: a round-the-world cruise for a mere 6,250,000 kicks.

Shopkick’s not quite tempting enough to turn me into a mall rat. But I could see firing it up during my routine visits to Stop & Shop, where I picked up a few kicks just by scanning a package of string cheese. And if you’re already a habitual shopper, now you can get paid for it.

Source: http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2011/06/30/shopkick_app_draws_traditional_retailers/


Google Wins Mobile Payments Race With Summer Launch Of ‘Wallet’ App

Well I guess you could say if Google is gonna get into this space, then all with be looking and wanting to follow.

A couple of interesting things I see in this space unfolding – one around the opportunity for targeted, relevant advertising ( with a bit of social location thrown in for good measure) and the second for a robust solution that tackles the area of fraud. Maybe device fingerprinting from a company such as Bluecava could provide a solution that tackles both these areas. Let’s see….

The race to make mobile payments mainstream is one of the most competitive contests in the wireless industry, pitting telecom operators against credit card companies, payment processors, handset makers and operating system providers. With its May 26 announcement that it is poised to launch a national mobile commerce network (using its Android phones), Google now appears to be in the lead.

The service, called Google Wallet, will store credit cards in electronic form on Android phones. Users will be able to pay for purchases by wirelessly “tapping” their handsets against special readers in participating stores. Users can also receive targeted offers, such as coupons for products they have bought in the past or have indicated they like, directly on their phones while in stores. Loyalty rewards will be automatically tallied within Wallet and receipts will be electronic, as well, popping up on the phone instead of printing out on paper.

Merchants have already started testing the setup and will begin trials in San Francisco and New York City before expanding nationally this summer. American Eagle, the Container Store, Macy’s, Subway, Toys “R” Us and Walgreens are part of the initial group of retailers that will support the system.

As the name Wallet suggests, the app will support a variety of different cards, including credit cards, loyalty cards and gift cards. At first, Google Wallet will only work with Citi MasterCards, since both companies are Google Wallet launch partners. Users can also opt to load money onto a prepaid, Google-hosted card that can be funded by another type of credit card. Google says it will add more cards over time and hopes to eventually include other types of ID and passes, such as drivers licenses, event tickets and electronic hotel keys.

Retailers, says Google, will benefit from a corresponding service called Google Offers that will enable consumers to search for special offers and save them to their Google Wallet. Those stored coupons can then be redeemed by tapping a Wallet-equipped phone at a cash register or showing the phone screen to a cashier.

Merchants will be able to customize incentives based on a customer’s location and transaction history. A particularly frequent customer can receive a higher-value deal than a less loyal customer, for instance. Google Offers will go live in Portland, San Francisco and New York City this summer.

Google also plans to support location-based “check-in” offers, offers that are placed like ads in Google searches and offers that are situated in Google’s local business/maps service, Google Places.

Using a cellphone as a wallet is convenient but could be risky. Google says its Wallet app contains multiple levels of security, including a phone screen lock and a required Google account and pin number. The search giant also says credit cards are encrypted on a secure element within the phone and never fully displayed.

Part of the security comes from a chip developed by European semiconductor maker NXP, which collaborated with Google on its latest flagship smartphone, the Samsung-made Nexus S. That chip also enables Google Wallet to communicate wirelessly with all the various Wallet partners, via a technology called NFC (near-field communication).

Google’s vision appears similar to strategies espoused by organizations like ISIS, the mobile commerce startup backed by AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. New York-based ISIS is about a year behind Google, though it may have an advantage in being compatible with a greater variety of phones once it launches.

During Google’s Thursday New York event, its Vice President of Payments, Osama Bedier, argued that Google is “uniquely positioned” to roll out a mobile commerce program because of its wide-ranging partnerships forged through Android and its search and advertising businesses. Bedier, who was a top executive at eBay’s PayPal until January, noted, “This has to be an ecosystem; it can’t just be one company.”

Bedier also acknowledged Google’s lead in the mobile payments race by adding, “This is not just an idea or announcement…this is up and running.”

Source: http://blogs.forbes.com/elizabethwoyke/2011/05/26/google-wins-mobile-payments-race-with-summer-launch-of-wallet-app/