Google temporarily disabled the use of prepaid cards with its Wallet service last month as a precautionary measure following the discovery of several security threats. In an email obtained by Droid-Life, Google announced that its Wallet service has been updated and the newest version allows users to again add prepaid cards. “We are happy to announce that you can now add the Google Prepaid Card back to your wallet with the newest version of Google Wallet, and any funds that you previously had on the card should be restored, unless you contacted Money Network and asked for a refund of those funds,” the email read. “To add the Google Prepaid Card back, you will first need to update your Google Wallet application to the most recent version.” The company acknowledged the inconvenience of the situation and will credit Wallet users with an additional $5 for their patience. Google’s email follows below. More →
During the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, PayPal finally showed off its upcoming digital wallet product that will compete with the likes of Google Wallet and other digital payment platforms. The EBay-run eBay Ink blog also posted a pair of videos on Tuesday in which PayPal vice president of global product and experience Sam Shrauger walks us through a number of the new eWallet product’s capabilities. PayPal’s digital wallet has a simple desktop interface and of course it features mobile compatibility and a number of now-common features, but there are also a few intriguing features that aren’t common among rival offerings. One such feature allows the user to pay for something with PayPal’s digital wallet while on the go, and then log in to his or her account at a later time and choose which credit card or bank account should supply the funds for the purchase. This feature and more are explained in a pair of videos from eBay and PayPal, which follow below. More →
Google may have just unveiled its preliminary plans to bring contactless mobile payments to the U.S., but mobile payments in using various technologies are prime to blow up in several other markets around the world as well. Swedish wireless analyst firm Berg Insight on Thursday issued a report on mobile money in emerging markets, and the group believes adoption will skyrocket over the next four years. In 2010 there were 133 million people in emerging markets who used their cell phones to move money or pay for goods and services. That number is set to grow an average of 40% each year to reach 709 million in 2015, the firm believes. Over that same period, the total value of mobile payment transactions will balloon from $25 billion in 2010 to $215 billion in 2015. “In developing regions such as Africa the mobile phone will become the primary digital channel for people to conduct financial services in the coming years,” said Telecom Analyst Lars Kurkinen. “Financial institutions are beginning to realize the importance of mobile phones to reach new clients viewing mobile money services as high-priority strategic projects. Also mobile operators and third party service providers are ramping up their efforts to target the huge unbanked populations in emerging markets.” Hit the break for Berg’s full release. More →
Google has been working on a mobile payment service for quite some time now, and the company is finally ready to take the wraps off of the first iteration of its contactless payment product. Google has been buying up talent — and someone spilled the beans this past Tuesday — so we can’t say the announcement is likely to come as much of a surprise. Yes, Google is expected to finally take the wraps off its Google Wallet service, which will use NFC-based technology to allow consumers to pay for goods with their cell phones. According to reports, Google’s preliminary pilot will launch in partnership with Sprint, utilizing the NFC-equipped Google Nexus S 4G, and it will be available in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. to start. Want to know more? So do we… and we’ll be reporting all the action as it unfolds right here in this post. Hit the break for our liveblog of Google’s press conference, which will start just before 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and don’t forget to refresh the page often for the latest updates! More →
Sources speaking with Bloomberg claim Google is finally ready to take the wraps off its mobile payment service. According to a new report, Google will host an event on Thursday, May 26th to introduce its new service, which will initially be available only to Sprint subscribers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. who own the company’s Nexus S 4G smartphone. The system will be NFC-based, and Bloomberg did not specify which retail partners would support Google’s initial offering. Google has made a series of moves leading up to the imminent announcement this week, such as its recent acquisition of stealth Toronto-based start up Zetawire, which had filed a patent for “a payment system, an advertising system, and an identity management system” combined into a single product. While Google’s preliminary offering might not include unique technology such as Zetawire’s, it’s safe to say the Internet giant has a lot in store for us as it enters this emerging space. BGR has not independently confirmed that Google plans to introduce a new payment service, but we have received an invitation to a press event taking place on Thursday and we’ll be on hand to cover it live. More →
While it seems that most are flipping a coin as to whether or not the upcoming iPhone will have NFC capabilities, BGR has just been given some information from multiple Apple sources that could possibly sway the argument in favor of an imminent NFC-capable iPhone… contrary to recent reports. First off, Apple’s POS devices — its iPod touch-based wireless payment terminals — recently all went offline for “maintenance” for an entire day, leaving customers unable to purchase some items or return merchandise. Additionally, we have been told that there were recently multiple “overnights” in Apple retail locations, which required store employees to “assist in installing TBD devices” throughout the stores “as the retail segment of Apple grows.” Lastly, sources tell us that there have been new tables installed in stores that have different wiring compared to Apple’s standard tables. They also have cash wraps built in, but they aren’t being used yet and employees have been instructed to wait for further information. What does all this mean? We have a feeling Apple’s 10th anniversary plans might put a few pieces of the puzzle in place, but one of our sources also believes that NFC payment processing capabilities are among the enhancements that will be brought about by the new gear.
According to a Bernstein note issued on Monday morning, Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone will not include Near field communication (NFC) capabilities as had been previously rumored on several occasions. NFC, which will be featured in RIM’s 2011 BlackBerry smartphone lineup, allows cell phones and other devices to transmit data wirelessly over short distances. Unlike Bluetooth, NFC connections do not require a pairing process, so NFC is well suited for applications such as mobile payments, as it is currently being used in several markets around the world. In the U.S. at the moment, carriers, manufacturers, banks and other companies are all independently working on various solutions. Without better standards, it will be difficult for the technology to take off in the mass market. More →
Rumors surrounding an NFC-equipped iPhone from Apple date back to last summer, when Apple hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as its Commerce Product Manager. Speculation surrounding how Apple might use NFC dates back even further, of course, considering the many NFC-related Apple patents that have been revealed in the past. On Monday, the flames were rekindled yet again as The New York Times reported Apple will include NFC chips from Qualcomm in a future version of its iPhone handset. The Times’ report doesn’t specifically state that Apple’s next iPhone — referred to as the iPhone 5, for now — will include NFC capabilities, saying only that a “coming iteration” of Apple’s smartphone will include Qualcomm NFC chips. Following several reports however, many still anticipate that the iPhone 5 will indeed be the first Apple smartphone to include NFC capabilities. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone in June. More →
A recent study conducted by payment solution provider Mobio Identity Systems suggests that North Americans are eager to see mobile payments become a reality. At the same time, however, security is a top concern for the majority of potential users. Mobio recently surveyed 1,085 people across North America and found that the overwhelming majority — 94% — would use mobile payments if they knew the system was secure. Mobio’s study also found that 73% of respondents said security was their main concern regarding mobile payments, while 12.4% said simplicity and 8.5% said speed. As such, it’s safe to say companies looking to bring mobile payments to the mainstream market must focus a tremendous amount of effort on security. As luck would have it, this study just so happens to come from a firm that specializes in mobile payment security solutions. Will wonders never cease? More →
Leaving your credit card at the bar may soon be a thing of the past — that is, if you live in San Francisco or New York City. Bloomberg is reporting that Google is planning to trial its new Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile-payment system in both cities. The trial, which could begin in as little as four months, would allow users to make purchases using their smartphones at participating retailers. Presumably, Google will run the trial with the NFC-equipped Nexus S, and it is working with VeriFone to outfit merchants with special cash registers. It’s unclear who will be able to participate in the trial, or which merchants are on board. More →
In a note to investors on Thursday, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White reiterated a rumor that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will include integrated NFC capabilities. The rumor was essentially confirmed by European carrier Deutsche Telekom at Mobile World Congress earlier this week when the company stated that it will offer an NFC-enabled iPhone in the first half of this year. Interestingly, however, White also noted that his sources indicate the iPhone 5′s NFC capabilities will feature a “twist” that will differentiate the device from its competition. Mobile payments are expected to be the main focus of NFC-enabled cell phones, which are being promoted aggressively in 2011 by cell phone makers, carriers and other companies that will earn revenue from the transactions the emerging technology will facilitate. The idea of a twist in Apple’s NFC implementation could prove to be another interesting selling point for the company’s next iPhone when it launches this summer.
At its Mobile World Congress press conference on Tuesday, Deutsche Telekom mentioned that it will soon begin deploying Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled mobile devices in multiple markets. The deployment starts this year and will ramp up until 2012 when most of Deutsche Telekom’s markets will be included. Phone Scoop is reporting that during the press conference, Deutsche Telekom execs handed out a slide deck featuring Apple and referred to them being included in the 2011 launch — seemingly confirming, or at least fueling the fire, that the next iPhone will include NFC capability. Apple and Samsung were listed as being NFC-compatible in the second quarter, with RIM and LG having devices in the third quarter of 2011. But hey, you already knew that about RIM, didn’t you?
A new report from Cult of Mac suggests that Apple may have some nifty new features in store for the upcoming iPhone 5. Rumors that the iPhone 5 will utilize NFC are nothing new at this point, but this morning’s claims cover a very unique feature for the underutilized technology. The report suggests that the iPhone 5 will include a new portable computing function, allowing users to store data and settings from Mac computers on their iPhones. When a handset is waved near any other compatible NFC-equipped Mac computer, the user’s “applications, settings and data” will become available on the computer. “It will be as though they are sitting at their own machine at home or work,” the report states. In short, the feature would provide a new type of remote computing that could eliminate the need for virtual network computing (VNC) or similar technologies. This new feature is anything but confirmed for the time being, but it certainly would be a welcome addition for Mac users. What’s more, it might help give customers with aging Mac computers an extra push to upgrade to newer NFC-enabled machines. More →