According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is working on a Windows Phone update that will bring mobile payments to its fledgling smartphone operating system. Citing two anonymous sources, the publications writes that the company “plans to include mobile-payment technology in new versions of its operating system for smartphones as part of an effort to narrow Google Inc.’s lead in handset software,” and “the first devices boasting these features may be released this year.” The report suggests that the company’s mobile payments solution will be based on NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, meaning that new phones with NFC hardware would also have to be released. The world’s largest phone manufacturer, Nokia, has committed to Microsoft’s smartphone operating system for future devices. The Finnish company has been experimenting with, and using, NFC in its phones for many years, which can’t hurt Microsoft’s chances of success. More →
Via a brief blog post, Google has announced the availability of in-app billing for Android Market applications. The new feature will allow application makers to publish apps that can facilitate future payments via Google’s Checkout system. “In-app Billing gives you more ways to monetize your apps with try-and-buy, virtual goods, upgrades, and other billing models,” writes Google. “If you aren’t yet familiar with In-app Billing, we encourage you to learn more about it.” The company notes that several applications, including Tap Tap Revenge and WSOP3, are already utilizing the service. Developers interested in taking in-app payments can find detailed documentation here. More →
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google, MasterCard, and Citigroup are collaborating to bring mobile payments, via NFC, to Android smartphones. Citing anonymous sources, the publication writes that the new service would “allow holders of Citigroup-issued debit and credit cards to pay for purchases by activating a mobile-payment application developed for one current model and many coming models of Android phones.” The report also notes that users of the mobile payment service will be delivered “targeted ads or discount offers” — which will be sold by Google. Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard, provided BGR with the following statement:
We are aware of the speculation that appeared in the Wall Street Journal today concerning our role within mobile payments with Citi and Google. However, we do not comment on market rumor or speculation. What we can tell you is that we are pleased to see great interest in NFC technology – it is a very high priority at MasterCard – and we think that 2011 will be the year of mobile payments.
It is assumed that both MasterCard and Citigroup will profit from the venture by dividing the fees assessed to retailers for accepting credit payments. Google will generate revenue from the sale of the aforementioned, targeted adverts and coupons. The purported system is expected to be released sometime “this year.” 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 →
According to information garnered by UK paper The Independent, Apple will not include Near Field Communications (NFC) technology in its next generation iPhone. Citing sources at “several of the largest mobile operators in the UK,” the paper states that Apple informed mobile carriers of its decision to forgo NFC over several meetings. Analysts suspect that Apple may be working on its own NFC-like payment system — one that routes payment through the company’s iTunes Store — as it has been discouraged by the “lack of a clear industry standard.” NFC is expected to handle over $150 billion by the year 2015, making it a trend that no mobile carrier or manufacturer wants to be left out on. More →
Yesterday, we told you about VeriFone’s unprovoked, online vendetta waged against mobile-payments startup Square. VeriFone CEO, Douglas G. Bergeron, wrote and open letter to humanity and created a YouTube video declaring that consumers were in “dire risk” because of Square’s card reader. Although the accused company did not respond to requests for comment yesterday, Square’s CEO has published a letter of his own, downplaying VeriFone’s concerns, while taking the proverbial high-road.
“Any technology—an encrypted card reader, phone camera, or plain old pen and paper—can be used to ‘skim’ or copy numbers from a credit card,” writes Jack Dorsey, Square’s CEO. “The waiter you hand your credit card to at a restaurant, for example, could easily steal your card details if he wanted to—no technology required.”
The letter goes on to reassure Square users that the company is “constantly improving the payment experience to enhance security” and that it’s partner bank, JPMorgan Chase, “stands behind every aspect” of the company’s service. Hit the jump to read the full context of the rebuttal. More →
VeriFone’s CEO, Douglas G. Bergeron, has taken to the Internet to publicly voice his company’s concern with a mobile payments startup named Square. Via a YouTube video and an open letter, Bergeron explains that Square’s reader has a “serious security flaw” that “places consumers in dire risk.” Bergeron and VeriFone’s beef stems from the fact that Square’s reader does not utilize any type of hardware encryption schema when scanning cards. What does this mean? If you were to use a VeriFone card scanner, the information scanned off of a credit card’s magnetic stripe would be encrypted, stored, and transmitted to the desired payment agency for processing. Square’s scanners attach to the 3.5mm audio jack of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and scan/store the read credit card information in plain text — making it later viewable by a person(s) running a skimming scam. More →
According to a BGR source, Bank of America has started inviting select customers to trial its new Mobile Wallet payment service program based on NFC technology. The program only works with BlackBerry smartphones at this point, and in order to make your existing phone NFC-capable, Bank of America is sending testers a new battery cover in addition to a microSD card. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 and 8530; BlackBerry Bold 9000, 9650 and 9700; and BlackBerry Tour 9630 are all supported devices. Payments can be made at any location where Mastercard’s PayPass is accepted, and the program will become active very shortly “this Spring.” We have a couple shots of the program materials after the break!
Thanks, Dylan! More →
According to a report from Bloomberg Tuesday morning, Apple plans to add a mobile payment feature to future iOS devices. The service, which utilizes a Near-Field Communication chip and a software solution, will be integrated into Apple’s next-generation iPhone and iPad, the report says. The source of this new information is Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, who claims both the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 will launch this year with integrated NFC functionality. Apple is known to have hired various NFC experts in recent history, and it holds several patents surrounding the technology. The company could theoretically have a much easier time than its competitors building a successful mobile payment service thanks to the millions of credit cards associated with iTunes it already has on file. Future iPhone users could simply enter their iTunes passwords a single time and accept a license agreement, and the service would then be enabled and ready for use. The key to the success of NFC-based mobile payments, however, is integration on the vendor side. Without a universal processing solution and widespread retailer adoption, the future of these solutions in the U.S. and other emerging NFC markets is a bleak one. More →
In a new report on Tuesday, Bloomberg Businessweek reaffirms that Google has big plans for NFC. The report cites two people familiar with Google’s plans in claiming that the Internet giant is building a service that will combine mobile payments and advertising. As Google tries to spread its net wider and make money on both sides of the retail equation — take a piece when companies advertise a product, then take another piece when customers purchase the product — a solid mobile payment product is an absolute necessity. Google acquired stealth mobile payment startup Zetawire last year, and the inclusion of NFC capabilities in the Google Nexus S and other upcoming Android devices is very telling. The key is getting retailers on board; smartphone payment systems are gaining traction in some markets but key regions like the U.S. are not yet making significant progress in the area. With Google behind the new push, however, smartphone payment systems have a much better chance of being more widely adopted. More →
Ever since Google CEO Eric Schmidt first touted Android 2.3’s NFC capabilities at a recent conference, Google has made it clear that it plans to make a big play in the mobile payment space. Google’s play will star NFC, of course, and it certainly isn’t the only major player in the cell phone space looking to capitalize on the coming mobile payment boom — Nokia has already released NFC-equipped cell phones, RIM is known to be eying NFC and Apple is rumored to be testing the technology for future iPhone models. Today, The 451 Group revealed that Google recently acquired stealth mobile payment startup Zetawire. The Toronto-based company has less than five employees and no website, but it does have a patent application filed for “a payment system, an advertising system, and an identity management system” combined into a single offering. It’s hard to say exactly what Google has in mind with this acquisition, but it is probably safe to assume the company’s plans involve Android, NFC, ads and making money.
Internet company PayPal has announced plans to open an application storefront in an effort to court developer business and further its online payment system. The company’s plan includes an application store and payment system for both mobile and desktop applications. “I want developers to think of PayPal first whenever they hear the word ‘payments’ and I want to know what it will take to get there. We’re willing to do it. We’re willing to innovate and experiment on their behalf and hear their feedback,” said Osama Bedier, PayPal’s vice president of Platform Business Unit and Emerging Technologies, while speaking at the Future of Web Apps conference. Bedier continued: “The wallet should live in the cloud… Entering credit card information into a mobile device is the worst user experience ever.” It will be interesting to see how a mobile application store would play out. We can assume that Apple isn’t going to let PayPal just waltz in on its cash cow — do we feel a PayPal application ban coming from the iTunes App Store? — and Android’s market is already, for the most part, wide open to developers. Nokia has Ovi, BlackBerry has App World, and Microsoft has Windows Marketplace. What are your thoughts? Is PayPal a little too late to the game to make a significant impact? It’s worth noting that RIM’s App World is already exclusively using PayPal for payments. More →
How about some holiday discounts? Yes, please. T-Mobile is offering some Black Friday weekend deals for new and existing customers. What are these magical deals you ask? Well, the Motorola CLIQ will set you back $149, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 will be priced at $149, and the Samsung Highlight will cost $49 — a $50 savings on all three handsets, two-year agreement required of course. The deals don’t stop there however; everyone, at least we hope, has someone in their lives who they care about dearly, someone they adore so much, that they would be willing to pay full retail price for cell phone to give that person as a gift for the holidays. Brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it? Well, if the thought of that special person doesn’t make you all misty then the idea of spending $300+ for a cell phone might just be enough to do it — and T-Mobile thinks it has a solution. Those of you who are on a T-Mobile Even More plan will now be allowed to purchase any phone at full retail price, spread the payments out into monthly installments, and gift that phone to a friend. Not a bad idea. Now, the number of people who can take advantage of this deal is obviously limited, as you will have to: have T-Mobile service, be on an Even More plan, have a friend you like enough to drop $300+ on, and have that lucky person also be on (or ready to switch to) T-Mobile. Nice job T-Mo, we appreciate the sentiment. ‘Tis the holiday season after all, and it is that thought that counts. No?