Mobile app from Amazon stores retailer card details, no mobile payments by card yet
Amazon has quietly launched an app to help people manage gift cards and loyalty cards with stores. The Amazon Wallet app for Android and the Fire Phone is able to store membership cards for retailers on the smartphone, allowing shoppers to digitally carry all of their store cards and gift cards without having to also bring along the physical versions.
Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail
Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.
Channel 4 on-demand video service reaches Roku, Now TV streaming devices
4oD, the on-demand video service from British broadcaster Channel 4 is now available to use on the Roku and the Now TV streaming set-top boxes in the United Kingdom. The on-demand offering from Channel 4 accompanies similar services such as the BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 on the devices, as well as Sky's own Now TV prepaid Internet-based satellite television service.
iTunes card business estimated to be worth over $260M to third parties
Digital iTunes Store gift cards are now on sale through Facebook Gifts, Facebook has announced. Cards can be bought in $10, $15, $25, and $50 denominations, and are the same as sending a "virtual" card to someone directly from iTunes. When sending a card, buyers also have the option of recommending specific content, including albums, songs, e-books, movies, games, and apps.
Gift cards to be compatible with Passbook, site now live
Apple has updated its Apple Store iOS app to add compatibility with Siri, and a new online portal for buying gift cards delivered by email and now Passbook compatible. In addition, the app now supports Apple's EasyPay system in Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. The changes, implemented to make shopping easier in crowded Apple Stores during the holiday season, allow uses to buy and send Apple Store gift cards (which are distinct and not compatible with iTunes gift cards) to themselves or others.
iTunes greeting cards?
An Apple patent application, newly published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, suggests that the company may be interested in expanding the reach of its gift cards. Most of its iTunes cards use generic images, concentrating primarily on music; future cards, however, could depict specific artists, albums, games, movies and TV shows, something it has already begun in a limited fashion with its $50 cards. Two of these present montages of albums and TV shows.