Square launches service, iPhone app for client booking management
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.
Transaction fee collection said to be sticking point with major Australian banks
Apple Pay's entry into Australia may face delays, as negotiations with financial institutions are allegedly stalling over money. Major banks are pushing back over how much of the interchange fees, charges paid by merchants to use a card payment platform, will end up being handed over to Apple, as apparently the fees collected by Australian banks are far less than those collected by platforms operating in the United States.
Card reader accessories said to be easily turned into card skimmers
Security researchers have come up with a way to turn the Square Reader into a tool for stealing data from credit cards. A group of recent graduates of Boston University will be speaking out about how they can modify the smartphone accessory, used to facilitate card payments via Square's service, to allow any other app to intercept the data and use the card owner's payment information for other, presumably illegal, uses.
Major banks add support two weeks after Apple Pay UK launch
Two more banks have started to accept Apple Pay transactions in the United Kingdom, two weeks after it launched in the country. HSBC and First Direct have joined the growing roster of UK financial institutions supporting Apple Pay, with their customers now able to make contactless payments in stores using the Apple Watch or iPhone 6, though there are still a few notable gaps in the collection of banks.
London Underground users risk penalty fares if devices lose power
Passengers of the London Underground are being warned to make sure they have enough power in their iPhones and Apple Watches to complete the journey when using Apple Pay. Transport for London (TfL) has issued a notice advising users of potential pitfalls when using Apple Pay on the UK capital's transit system, including the possibility of double charging, penalty fares, and being unable to pass through gates.
Payment app experiment uses smartphone camera for facial recognition
MasterCard is testing out an unusual method to verify the identity of a credit or debit card holder, by using photographs as an authentication method. The app is said to require the user to take a self portrait at the time of purchase in order to prove who they are, as MasterCard explores alternative ways for users to make mobile payments without having to provide a fingerprint or remember a PIN or password each time.
New bPay wristband, key fob, sticker provides contactless payments in UK
Barclaycard is expanding the number of ways people in the United Kingdom can make contactless payments, by offering more NFC-equipped items. A bPay sticker, along with a key fob and a wristband, will be going on sale in the country soon, allowing customers to make the contactless payments quickly without having to carry an NFC-equipped smartphone or go through prompts in an accompanying smartphone app.
Up4 fitness tracker with NFC can perform American Express payments
Jawbone has launched two new fitness wearables, with one hinted at by a report yesterday. The Up2 is the successor to the Up24, taking the form of a more modest fitness tracker compared to the delayed Up3, while the Up4 is a more advanced device that will be able to make payments in retail stores via a partnership with American Express and an NFC chip.
Report claims Jawbone wearable will perform American Express payments in future
Yet another wearable device will be offering alternative payments in the future, according to a report. According to the Wall Street Journal, American Express and Jawbone are planning to announce a new system that will allow AmEx card owners to use the manufacturer's fitness bands to make payments at a number of retailers in the United States.
Patients can use iPhone 6 line for doctor's offices, hospitals; iPhone 5 and later for online
Apple Pay, the iPhone maker's mobile payment technology, has added another supporting payment network in the form of InstaMed. The company has announced that it will implement support for Apple Pay at the medical facilities it supports, including hospitals, doctor's offices and other medical businesses. InstaMed will support both iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch-based payments, along with in-app payments on any Touch ID-capable iOS device.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
Rollout of money-sending service in Facebook Messenger app can take months
Facebook has launched its rumored money transfer service, rolling it out in its Messenger app for iOS and Android, as well as for desktop users. The new feature will allow users to make payments to other Facebook members directly from within the app, with the financial transfers said to be completely free for all parties involved, and with payments claimed to take between one and three days to complete.
Square allegedly working on Android hardware, Google trials Plaso
Square and Google are both said to be working on new payment systems in order to take on Apple Pay and the payments market in general, according to a report. Building upon its existing knowledge of payment hardware, Square is said to be working on its own tablet, while Google is allegedly testing a new payment processing method called "Plaso."
Local eateries leverage mobile app, mobile payment to grow business
Restaurant app maker ChowNow, which supplies restaurants with an integrated system to tie customized mobile apps and social media to make take-out or delivery ordering easier, has added Apple Pay capability to the apps of its nearly 700 restaurant clients. The effort to add Apple Pay has been ongoing for nearly two months, with a recent flurry of activity to bring the convenient e-payments system to most of its clients.
Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard, other NFC-based systems, EMV cards and more
Call it the omni-terminal: point-of-sale terminal maker Verifone has unveiled a new model, the PAYware Mobile e355, which the company says is compatible with all forms of mobile and traditional card payments, from simple magnetic stripe (currently widely used in the US) to chip-and-PIN EMV cards coming this year, and all forms of NFC-based payment systems utilizing iOS, Android or Windows Phone -- including Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard and others.
Whole Foods, McDonald's, Walgreens seeing biggest jump in usage
A study by research firm ITG suggest that Apple Pay -- introduced in October -- is already accounting for one percent of all digital payments - for comparison purposes, the three-plus-year-old Google Wallet system holds about four percent of digital payments. The firm also noted that those using Apple Pay increased spending using mobile payments, and tended to use the technology frequently -- resulting in a jump in sales at top merchants that accepted Apple Pay, such as Walgreens, Whole Foods and McDonald's.
Walgreens, others say Apple payment system is now most popular NFC payment method
Just a month after its debut, Apple Pay appears to be dominating NFC payment systems where it is available, according to reports, with the public quickly accepting the new checkout method due to its ease of use and speed. McDonald's recently noted that 50 percent of its contactless payments are now coming from Apple Pay, while Walgreens reports similar figures -- saying that the number of mobile transactions it has processed since Apple Pay's debut has doubled.
Zwipe, MasterCard team up to combine fingerprint authentication, contactless payments
At a press event last week, MasterCard and Zwipe announced a new type of payment card dubbed the Zwipe MasterCard. Where the new card is different from the the standard credit or debit card is in the payment process, looking to biometrics to approve purchases. The Zwipe MasterCard uses authentication via fingerprint for MasterCard contactless payment terminals, while retaining Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chips on cards.
BPCE, Twitter preparing to launch money transfers via tweets
Twitter users in France will soon be able to send money to other users by tweeting, according to a report. Groupe BPCE, the second-largest bank in France based on customer numbers, will apparently start providing simple person-to-person transfers of funds within the country, with the sender able to pass funds along to other people without knowing any of the recipient's bank information.
Jack Dorsey encouraged by Apple Pay, does not see it as competition to Square
Square's next generation of payment terminal could allow retailers to accept payments from Bitcoin and Apple Pay, the company head has suggested. In an interview, CEO Jack Dorsey explained that a future version of its cash register system will be able to accept a number of different payment types, on top of the current credit card payments it currently works with.
Coin extends card replacement beta to more users, removes extra cost
Digital credit card replacement start-up Coin has changed the requirements for its extended beta trial, as part of an apology for its heavily-delayed release. A message to backers advises it is extending the beta from 10,000 backers to 15,000 backers, and by making it available at no cost, it is also effectively removing the $30 "fee" for taking part in the trial.
Coin asks backers to test card before public launch
Payment startup Coin is expanding its base of testers for its digital credit card replacement from 1,000 to 11,000 people. The crowd-funded project, which consists of a plastic card with a screen capable of storing various payment card details and can be swiped at ATMs and payment terminals, is attempting to fix as many issues as possible before it makes the card publicly available.
Subscription via Amazon payment platform intensifies competition with PayPal
Amazon is expanding the reach of its payment platform, by providing subscription-based payment options to customers, claims a report. Keen to take on PayPal, the retailer is said to be launching the service later today, which will let start-ups and other companies charge a monthly fee, such as a mobile phone bill or music subscription, to cards stored to a customer's Amazon account.
Irish regulatory approval could be granted to Facebook within weeks
Facebook is working to provide financial services, such as allowing users to send money to each other, according to a report. The social network is said to be applying to regulators in Ireland to begin offering money storage and transmissions, something which could receive approval within weeks, and would directly place Facebook in competition with PayPal, Google Wallet, and other similar services.
Systems consisting of Kindle Fire tablet, card reader could head to stores this summer
A pair of reports claim that Amazon is moving further into the payments market, from two different directions. One plan involves offering retail stores a point-of-sale system using Kindle tablets, while another involves the creation of a system for person-to-person payments, in a similar service to that currently offered by payment processing competitor PayPal.
Trial in April follows change in UK banking legislation
Banks and building societies in the United Kingdom are considering allowing customers to pay in checks using smartphones, the UK Treasury has announced. The change, which would involve bank customers to photograph a check using a smartphone instead of taking it to branch, could be implemented as part of a new Check 21 law, with the first trial of the system set to begin in April.
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.
Visa takes on PayPal, Google Wallet with online payments system
Visa has launched its online digital wallet in parts of Europe, one it initially announced in April last year, as the company tries to take on PayPal and Google Wallet. V.me by Visa is able to store payment details for multiple cards, which can then be used to make payments with retailers online instead of providing debit or credit card details.
Buyout to bolster PayPal capabilities
eBay has agreed to acquire Braintree, a company that specializes in payment systems, for approximately $800 million in cash. The startup will initially operate as a separate division under eBay's PayPal division, which has served as a dominant competitor in the payment-services market.
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.
Google Wallet Card could have acted as credit card proxy
Google is dropping its proposals to augment its Google Wallet payment system with a physical card, ahead of changes expected to be announced at Google I/O, according to reports. The news comes at the same time as the head of Google Wallet itself, Osama Bedier, will be leaving the company to pursue "other opportunities."
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 deemed 'fundamentally unprofitable'
Payment processor VeriFone is withdrawing from the mobile card payments market, citing "razor-thin margins." The decision to shutter Square-competitor Sail came to light during a quarterly conference call, with CEO Doug Bergeron calling the market for low-volume merchant processing as "fundamentally unprofitable."
Mobile payment system increases by five times in one year
Mobile payments system Square has reached a total of $10 billion in payments for the year. The company has increased its rate of payments from $5 billion in the sprint, and is up from the $8 billion figure two months ago. At this time last year, Square was passing just $2 billion in payments per year.