Copyright © 2016
Tag - Payments
Walmart is continuing its ongoing avoidance of supporting Apple Pay, by launching its own rival mobile payment service for use in its retail outlets. Running within the current Walmart app, Walmart Pay will let customers pay for goods at the checkout in stores using their smartphone, with payment extracted from any major credit, debit, pre-paid, or Walmart gift card linked to the account via the app.
Square has revealed its updated mobile card reader with support for contactless payments and transactions from mobile payment platforms. The new reader is an NFC-equipped device that supports Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other similar payment platforms, as well as allowing retailers to offer payment via credit and debit cards equipped with 'Chip and PIN' (EMV) security, giving retailers two new ways to accept payment for goods and services.
Apple is allegedly considering a move into person-to-person payments, and is said to be in discussions with banks and financial institutions in the United States over the potential service, according to a report. The rumored service could theoretically extend Apple Pay to allow for personal payments between individuals conducted via iPhones, and would pit Apple directly against other similar payment processors, including Venmo and Square Cash.
Walgreens has become the first major retailer in the United States to integrate its customer loyalty scheme with Apple Pay. The announcement means that members of the Balance Rewards program can now participate in the scheme, having their rewards card accepted as part of the same contactless payment transaction used for Apple Pay itself, without requiring a second scan or presenting the membership card to store staff.
Apple is expanding the number of countries Apple Pay will operate within, via a partnership with a credit card company. Advised as part of today's earnings call, Apple Pay will be usable in Australia and Canada for American Express customers before the end of this year, with American Express users in Spain, Singapore, and Hong Kong also expected to be able to use the payment service when it becomes available next year.
Apple VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey announced at the Code/Mobile conference on Thursday that direct Apple Pay payments would begin to be supported at Starbucks and other restaurant chains such as KFC and Chili's in pilot programs beginning later this year, with a full rollout for all 7,500 of Starbucks' company-owned stores happening across 2016. The coffee chain, which has supported online Apple Pay for reloading its virtual loyalty card app but not direct payment, will now be able to take Apple Pay without a loyalty card or app if desired.
One of the last major financial institutions in the United Kingdom that currently does not support for Apple Pay in the country will be offering it to customers, though later than expected. Barclays will be joining the roster of UK banks, including Lloyds, HSBC, Natwest, and Santander, in allowing owners of iPhones and the Apple Watch to make payments using their devices, but apparently this will not take place until early next year.
PayPal is bringing out its Here card reader accessory to the United States, following releases in the United Kingdom and Australia over the last two years. The Here Chip Card Reader will allow small retailers to accept card payments via their smartphone or tablet, but this version includes support for EMV chip card transactions and contactless payments, as well as the traditional magnetic stripe system most US-based card transactions use.
The limit for contactless payments in the United Kingdom has increased. The new limit of £30 ($46) per transaction, up from £20 ($30), applies to payments using contactless cards as well as Apple Pay, though some retailers may have to update their terminals before being able to use the new transaction cap. Trade organization the UK Cards Association now claims the limit increase is more than the average supermarket spend of £25 ($38), reports the BBC, potentially allowing the number of contactless transactions to increase.
Payment firm Square has introduced a new service and iOS-only app, both called Appointments, that is aimed at businesses that rely on client bookings, such as (for example) a cleaning service or landscaping firm. The iOS app is free, but the service costs $30 per month for one user, $50 per month for two- to five-person teams, and $90 a month for unlimited employees or owners. For those who use Square Register to accept credit-card payments, the service connects to that automatically.