NatWest, RBS, Santander among first banks supporting Apple Pay in UK launch
Just as previously rumored, Apple Pay has gone live in the United Kingdom, approximately nine months after it first launched in the United States. Usable with existing contactless payment systems in more than 250,000 retailers across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the service includes support for quite a few banks and financial institutions in the country, though there are a few notable banks missing from the initial launch list.
Bank had faced customer defections, publicity backlash over resistance
After becoming best known for being the only major UK bank not to support the forthcoming rollout of Apple Pay support in the UK in favor of its own, much more awkward "bPay" solution, Barclays has apparently done an about-face and announced that it will provide "imminent" support of Apple Pay in the UK in the near future. The mobile payments system, anticipated to formally go live on Thursday, will still face some limitations.
Some stores had been supporting the service unofficially alongside NFC rivals
Contrary to earlier media reports that suggested Home Depot would drop the mobile payments service, in fact the company has announced that it formally plans to support Apple Pay throughout its entire US operation, making it the largest retailer thus far to support Apple's mobile-payments platform. The announcement comes alongside, and will not replace, stores' acceptance of payment rival PayPal, and the chain says it may continue to add other payment forms.
Funds of Google Wallet users now held in FDIC-insured accounts
Google has taken a step to protect the users of Google Wallet, by making funds stored on their accounts FDIC-insured. Confirmed to Yahoo Finance, Google is now storing funds of its users in multiple banking institutions that are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, safeguarding account balances in the event the company or bank shuts down.
Service ending following Google purchase of IP, technology
Softcard, the mobile payments service backed by carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile, will be closing completely by the end of this month. The company revealed that, following the purchase of its intellectual property and technology by Google, the Softcard app will cease working on March 31, with accounts automatically closing on the same date.
Paydiant purchase gives PayPal custom mobile wallet services to offer retailers
PayPal has made two announcements relating to mobile payments at Mobile World Congress, including an acquisition. The company has purchased Paydiant, a startup that provides mobile wallet services to retailers and banks for payments, loyalty cards, and coupons. At the same time, PayPal advises it will be making an updated version of its Here Chip and PIN reader, this time one that works with NFC.
Android Pay rumor comes as Softcard pulls support for Windows Phone
Google will be launching a new payments API at its Google I/O developer conference in May, a report claims, potentially giving Apple Pay some stiff competition. Android Pay will allow developers to not only add mobile payments to their apps, but to also facilitate in-store purchases via smartphone over NFC. The news comes as Softcard reveals it is starting to pull support for its apps, following the purchase of its intellectual property by the search company.
Microsoft simplifies student enrollment process for free Office 365 subscription
Microsoft is offering a simpler way for students around the world to check their eligibility for a free Office 365 license. While free subscriptions have been around for a while, it typically involved a lengthy process to check for eligibility. Now, students and teachers need to just sign up with a valid school email address to receive their subscription, which includes installation of Office apps on up to five computers and up to five mobile devices, as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile to pre-install Google Wallet on new smartphones
Google is preparing to compete more intensely against Apple Pay, by acquiring mobile payments technology from Softcard. At the same time, Google has struck a deal with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless to have Google Wallet pre-installed on sold devices, the same group of carriers who backed the Softcard payments system in the first place.
Now taking two-thirds of mobile payments; cash grows despite payouts
If you are making a contactless mobile payment in the US based on a Visa, MasterCard or American Express account, odds are that you're doing it from an iPhone 6 model. During the conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company's Apple Pay mobile payments system -- only in its fourth month -- now accounts for more than $2 of every $3 of money paid in that manner. In addition, CFO Luca Maestri updated analysts on the still-growing (but more slowly) cash stockpile Apple has, now at $178 billion.
Possible buyers include Google. PayPal
Softcard, a mobile payments system that preceded but competes against systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, was created as a joint venture with investments by mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. In the midst of Apple implementing near-field communications (NFC) for Apple Pay, along with internal struggles at Softcard, reports are surfacing that the mobile payment company is being sized up for purchase, potentially by one of its rivals.
Mobile payments through Line to use secondary password, Touch ID
Japanese messaging service Line is preparing to globally launch a mobile payments service for iOS and Android in the near future. Line Pay, a service which has already launched in its native Japan in October, will allow its users to register payment details within the app, using their account to pay for Line stickers and other items from the Line store, as well as other online retailers and physical locations.
Supporting merchant list also expanding as holidays near
Apple Pay, the iPhone maker's new system for mobile payments secured by Touch ID technology, has gained more acceptance as banks and credit unions continue to add support for it. Specifically, two new credit unions -- L&N Federal Credit Union and UW Credit Union -- are now allowing their cards to be used with Apple Pay, and M&T Bank has authorized its small business debit cards to be compatible with the system. A host of other institutions have already announced they will be supporting Apple Pay soon.
Will test MCX executives' recent doublespeak claims on exclusivity
[Updated with MCX clarification] Rather than disable its NFC-compatible terminals and stop taking Apple Pay (or Google Wallet, or Softcard) mobile payments after a period of compatibility, grocery chain Meijer has said it has "no plans" to stop accepting NFC-compatible systems in its stores -- despite being a member of MCX's CurrentC program, which contractually bars competing systems. The CurrentC system, which does not formally begin until sometime next year, may try to impose fines as per its agreement with Meijers.
Will replace bank-sponsored system with competing mobile wallet platform next year
Following reader complaints of Rite-Aid stores no longer accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments (following a brief period where both worked properly) and a "cone of silence" from PR representatives, leaked documents have revealed that the reversal by Rite-Aid on accepting NFC-based payments was deliberate, and that it may never accept Apple Pay, since it is planning to go with a rival mobile payments platform -- sometime next year.
Employees in process of being trained; systems will also support Softcard, Google Wallet
An internal memo at bakery cafe chain and Apple Pay launch partner Panera Bread has confirmed that Apple intends to launch the e-payment system on October 20, and that training is underway throughout the chain, which plans a massive promotional campaign to let customers know it can accept mobile payments using Apple Pay or other NFC-based e-wallet systems. A one-minute video and a FAQ sheet are among the training materials front-line Panera employees will need to get up-to-speed on the new system.
Apple Watch may be first new product never seen by Jobs, Apple Pay 'incredibly safe'
In interviews with the Wall Street Journal and ABC News' David Muir, Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated many of the sentiments expressed during the Tuesday press even that introduced the two new iPhone 6 models, the Apple Watch wearable and the Apple Pay mobile payments system. He also, however, had a few words in response to questions, ranging from his thoughts on Steve Jobs in the three years since his passing, and how the iPhone 6 will trigger "the mother of all upgrades."
Apple Stores, McDonalds also said to be receiving upgraded beacons, NFC terminals
Ahead of an expected announcement of an Apple-led mobile payments solution, there have been new reports that prominent retailers such as Disney Stores, McDonald's and Apple's own retail stores have joined the ranks of businesses receiving new, upgraded NFC readers and iBeacon sensors as required. The system, if successful, could offer a future alternative to the planned move to a "chip and PIN" credit- and debit-card system already widely in use in Canada and Europe.
Cantor Fitzgerald, Piper Jaffray push expections to $120 and beyond
The long-awaited but finally-approaching arrival of larger-screen iPhone models and Apple's probable entries into health, home automation and mobile payments have some Wall Street analysts believing Apple's oft-repeated mantra that its forthcoming product and services pipeline is the strongest the company has had in years, if not ever. In new notes to clients, both Cantor Fitzgerald and Piper Jaffray have raised targets for AAPL to new all-time highs.
Amazon severely undercuts competitor transaction fees for Local Register launch
Amazon is taking on PayPal and Square in mobile payments, by releasing its rumored card reader for smartphones. Local Register is a combination of the Square-style card reader and an accompanying mobile app to create a small and portable point-of-sale system, allowing retailers to directly accept physical credit and debit card payments.
Payment service jumps ahead of Visa, Master Card dates to shift to chip cards
Square, a company that helped open mobile payments up to the masses, released news today that it would be expanding its device offerings with a reader for chip-based credit cards, now frequently used outside the US. While the company states that typical Europay, Master Card and Visa (EMV) solutions are costly, it will release an affordable model to enable sellers to accept the secure payments.
May build on iBeacons, Passbook, Touch ID and partners to create truly seamless, secure system
A new report is claiming that Apple is accelerating its plans for a grand "digital wallet" mobile payments system, which could even be ready to debut in the same time frame as the expected "iPhone 6." The company is said to be in talks with Visa to create a partnership agreement that would allow consumers to pay for goods and services using only their iPhone, leveraging the "secure enclave" portion of the A7 chip and Touch ID to create what would be expected to be a seamless mobile payment system.
Vemo updated, introduces Bluetooth detection of fellow users for mobile payment
Mobile payment app Venmo has released an update today, featuring a new method of sending a prompt money transfer to friends. Venmo facilitates mobile sending and receiving of money, ideal in situations such as splitting a dinner bill with friends, or for any other payment need. By using Bluetooth, Venmo can detect other Venmo users and provide a list of who is nearby. Though the app has not yet been updated on iTunes as of this writing, Venmo is free, and requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Android app allows NFC payments, offers sticker for non-NFC devices
Vodafone has launched a mobile payments system in Spain, one which will be making its way to other areas of Europe in the future. The Vodafone Wallet, and first accompanying payment app Vodafone SmartPass, will be able to make payments using their Android smartphones, with funds being transferred from a nominated bank account.
Entire payment transaction carried out over e-mail after registration
Payments system Square has opened up its e-mail-based money transfer service to users in the United States, added on top of its existing in-store and mobile paymentsservices . At the same time as widening availability of Square Cash after starting its beta in May, the company is releasing a pair of apps for iOS and Android that performs the same type of transaction as the e-mail version.
Plug-in dongle detects PayPal app on smartphones, alerts merchant
PayPal has introduced a new dongle for mobile transactions that allows for hands-free payments in stores. The PayPal Beacon, designed to be plugged in at retail environments, uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to communicate with smartphones running the PayPal mobile app, with customers able to allow payments to continue by confirming with store employees, rather than pressing anything on their smartphone.
Developer kit to allow Card.io-based credit card scanning
Payment service PayPal has launched a new software development kit for Android. Following on from the iOS version launched in March, the Android SDK will allow developers to integrate PayPal payments into their apps, providing them with an alternative payment processing system to Google Play, and the option to pay for in-app items or services by credit or debit card.
Future NFC-enabled Samsung devices to have app preloaded
Visa and Samsung has inked a deal that could help speed up the adoption of mobile payments globally. The initiative will see the phone manufacturer preload the Visa payWave applet onto future devices that use NFC technology, as well as helping financial institutions to push payment information to the mobile devices as an over-the-air update, for storage directly on the device.
Initial roll-out in UK uses new Chip & Pin device
PayPal is rolling out a new version of its Here mobile payments system for Europe. Starting in the UK, the payments service will be providing businesses a pocket-sized device that will offer Chip & PIN protection for payments through a retailer's mobile phone, instead of the triangular attachment used in the United States.
Mobile payments service Mach plans same for US, Canada
Voice over IP service Skype has started to support direct carrier billing for Skype Credit in Russia, with the United States and Canada set to follow. The new mobile payments option will allow Skype users to purchase Skype Credit directly from the mobile device through their smartphone's browser, with the charge being applied to their account.
Go Mobile being tested in Utah, Oregon
US Bank is commencing trials of its Go Mobile payments service for mobile phones. Available in Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon, the bank will allow iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s owners to perform NFC payments, by encasing their phone with a specially created case with Near Field Communications chips embedded.