Credit card giant Visa has announced a new payment service for U.S. consumers set to launch in the second half of 2011. The new offering closely mimics services offered by PayPal, allowing users with a Visa-branded credit, debit, or pre-paid account to transfer money amongst each other. “Consumers in the U.S. will soon be able to receive and send funds to any eligible Visa credit, debit or prepaid account, anywhere in the world,” reads the press release. “By simply entering the recipient’s 16-digit Visa account, email address or mobile phone number, consumers can send funds directly from their bank account to a recipient’s Visa account.” The company has also partnered with payment networks CashEdge and Fiserv, allowing them to integrate their person-to-person payment platforms with the new service. The personal payment program outlined by Visa is already offered outside the U.S. in dozens of different countries. The full press release is after the break.
Visa has begun trials of an iPhone-based mobile payment system in Europe, Computerworld reports. The trials, which started today, require on-device software to be installed on testers’ iPhones, as well as a hardware accessory that contains an NFC chip. Visa’s solution also requires retailers to install a hardware terminal capable of processing the mobile payments. Apple is expected to add native NFC capabilities to its next-generation iPhone, which means users would not have to attach any additional device to their phones in order to pay for goods and services. Apple has not yet confirmed the addition of NFC to its next-generation smartphone, however, so it is unclear if the company plans to restrict third-party access to NFC capabilities. In that event, third-party solutions like the one Visa is currently trialling would still require a hardware accessory to function. A survey conducted by Visa in Europe found that 87% of iPhone users would be willing to connect a hardware accessory to their phones in order to enable mobile payments. More →
An unaffiliated group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers calling itself “Anoymous” finds itself short a few member this evening as multiple alleged culprits were arrested on Thursday in the U.K. The BBC reports that five men were arrested in a series of raids, and they are being held in various locations across England. Allegations against the men are described as “recent and ongoing attacks by an online group that calls itself ‘Anonymous’.” The two adults and three teenagers were allegedly involved with a series of DDoS attacks carried out last year, aimed at various websites the group felt stood in opposition of notorious news agency WikiLeaks and its famed leader Julian Assange. Targets included websites belonging to Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and Paypal. This is not the first time arrests have been made in connection with Anonymous’ attacks; two Dutch teenagers allegedly involved with the group were arrested last year, but charges were never formally filed against them. More →
A global, ever-expanding team of hackers called “Anonymous” has announced its next target in a series of cyberattacks that have taken down multiple websites over the past few days. Among its targets were the websites of both Visa and Mastercard following news that the institutions would cease delivery of funds that had been donated to WikiLeaks. Using Twitter to announce the attack, the group is preparing to take down Amazon.com, presumably due to the company’s abrupt cancellation of its hosting agreement with WikiLeaks after being pressured by the Department of Homeland Security. The attack on Amazon.com will begin at 11:00am Eastern.
Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless are in talks to bring cellphone based payments to the States. Bloomberg cited, “three people with direct knowledge of the plan,” when they wrote that the three wireless vendors “may work with Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc to test a system at stores in Atlanta and three other U.S. cities that would let a consumer pay with the contactless wave of a smartphone.” Currently, Visa and MasterCard handle 82% of consumer credit card spending; a $2.45 trillion business. The reported system would see payments processed by Discover’s network (currently the fourth largest credit card network in the U.S.) and Barclays would be the bank managing the accounts. The contactless cellphone payment system is already in use in Japan and the United Kingdom. What do you think? Do you see value in a service like this, or is it more inclined to just creep you out? More →
If you are not familiar with Square, it is a mobile payment service (hardware and software) that hopes to change how mobile transactions are processed. Now available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android devices, all you need to get going and accepting credit card payments is Square’s credit card reader. If you have been down the merchant account road before, you are probably asking how much the device costs, right? Square is giving out the reader, which plugs into the 3.5mm headset jack on your smartphone, for free. Their transaction rates are also pretty competitive at 2.75% of the transaction + $0.15 for all major credit cards. If you have always wanted to pay that shady guy off of Craigslist with plastic instead of paper, your dream might finally come true as this propagates throughout the wild. Check out a video of the service after the jump! More →
With the direction the world economy is headed, we’ll all be lucky if the only thing we have to resort to selling to get by is our blood at the local clinic. Sprint subscribers, however, might be able to bypass all of this nasty business from now until the end of the month because Sprint is in the middle of a promo whereby any subscriber who gets a friend to sign on the dotted line can walk away with a shiny $100 VISA debit card. As for the friends you refer, they’ll each get a $25 card as Sprint’s way of saying “thanks for signing a two-year contract and accepting a subsidized handset before the launch of the Pre, sucka.” Customers can earn up to 12 cards for referrals — $1,200, not bad for laying a little carrier evangelism on 12 of your buddies.
Following Google’s footsteps, Nokia and Symbian are really pushing forward with R&D by taking in several huge companies to gain access to Symbian. Notable companies include ARM, Visa, and Huawei amongst 52 companies that have expressed their interest in joining the Symbian Foundation. With such a huge following, the software and platform potential could create a formidable force to rival Google’s Android OS. Nokia plans on buying out all shareholders of Symbian for $410 million and make their goods royalty-free… way to go, Nokia! Profits from Symbian will go to the Symbian Foundation in order to support its efforts to create an open-source platform. Symbian Foundation software should be making its debut some time in 2009 with a fully operational platform in 2010. It’s nice to see the telecom industry team up with other companies and embrace the open-source nature of things.