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Posts tagged with “payment services”

Google Wallet releases version 2.0

Friday, 17 August, 2012

Out with the old and in with the new. Google has released version 2.0 of their Google Wallet service which allows a prepaid credit card of your choice to be stored in a completely secure environment.  The prepaid card simply funds the purchase when a mobile payment is made. This system is an improvement over previous version 1.0 which needed card issuers to become involved in provisioning the payment cards to Google Wallet.

In terms of security Google has gone down a different path regarding their technical approach: the cards are now stored on Google’s impeccably secure servers instead of on the secure storage area provided in all smart phone devices. A virtual card number is still stored there to help facilitate the purchase. Google then charges your selected card immediately thereafter. This new version actually speeds up the integration process for banks, enabling them to add their cards to the Wallet in literally weeks. This new methodology may pave the way for a better solution to support all credit and debit cards.
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Google has also made it much easier to disable your mobile wallet in cases of theft or loss of the phone. With a simple visit to the “Devices” section in your online wallet you can find the phone that you want disabled and Google Wallet will then not authorize any transactions until you effectively change the settings.


Boston’s LevelUp continues to secure major funding within the mobile payments arena

Tuesday, 14 August, 2012

LevelUp, the Boston based mobile payment service provider and sister company to SCVNGR, has announced that they have raised an additional $9 million to up their total funding to a whopping $21 million. The latest investment comes from T-Venture, who is the venture capital branch of Deutsche Telecom.

LevelUp users can pay and gain loyalty points through their mobile device at over 3,000 merchants across the United States. They boast relationships with some major players such as Quizno’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Johnny Rockets and many more to come. There are plans to provide their services in 50 major market cities in the U.S. and will also announce partnerships with even larger nationwide chains in the next few months. Currently, there are over 200k users that are generating in excess of $2 million a month in sales by utilizing LevelUp’s services.

As of now, LevelUp relies exclusively on QR codes as its payment solution but that is eventually going to change. NFC capabilities are not that far from the mix as they pledge to add additional value by getting LevelUp into the hands of the masses any way it can.
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In order to do this efficiently LevelUp has lowered their interchange rates to zero, and with their competitors still charging as high as 3%, the playing field is opening up in their favor.  They will however be charging the merchant 35 percent each time a consumer redeems loyalty rewards. This may end up costing the merchant more but by offering them a one-stop solution for customer acquisition, retention and analytics, they are hoping that will more than make up the difference. They are certainly set up to penetrate the market in a way that will warrant a closer second look by all their major competitors.

Apple moving in on mobile payments technology with AuthenTec purchase

Tuesday, 7 August, 2012

The first important bit of news is that Apple’s foray into the mobile payments world will begin this fall with the release of their Passbook software. We mentioned two weeks ago that Passbook would be delayed, however it was recently announced that it would appear in their next iOS as an application.

The second bit of news concerns AuthenTec’s technology, which facilitates software for fingerprint/identity purposes. Apple has made an offer for $356 million dollars to purchase the sensor chip licenses from AuthenTec, which will presumably be used for fingerprint validation for mobile payments in the upcoming Passbook app.
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This is an obvious shot across the bow to Samsung and Google, who could very possibly counter-offer the bid made by Apple for ownership of Authentec. Any firm with reliable technology related to mobile payments will be courting big players like Apple and such in near future.

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-authentec-acquisition-apple-idUSBRE86Q0KD20120727

Is ViVOtech closing its doors? CEO Mick Mullagh says no

Tuesday, 31 July, 2012

The NFC (near field communication) software and POS systems company ViVOtech is reported to be shutting down its operations, despite securing nearly $100 million in funding over the past ten years. However CEO Mick Mullagh says otherwise:

“ViVOtech’s business fundamentals are strong and orders and contracts are building in both its reader and software businesses. Over the last six months the company has been executing a strategy to divest its reader business to a qualified buyer. This sale has moved slower than anticipated. ViVOtech has not ceased operations but is in the process of restructuring operations and has reduced its team to a smaller group with the goals of maintaining customer relationship and core contract work, and to address our supplier relationships and commitments, as the company completes plans to divest the reader business and focus on the Software Business. ViVOtech is in dialog with its customers and suppliers on the current situation but will be making no other public statements”.
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ViVOtech develop POS systems and NFC products such as smart posters, contactless readers, writers, and various other software programs. They have also partnered with some of the biggest players in the industry like Google (Google Wallet) and Isis in an NFC joint venture between the largest US mobile companies Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

This apparent closure comes as an unexpected turn of events, considering the staggering numbers (one million terminals shipped, 80% of the market share for NFC products in the US and double digit millions in sales) and the heavy weight brands that are using their array of products (McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Home Depot).

The questions raised on how this could have happened are abundant. The current consensus is that ViVOtech perhaps hit the market at a stage before NSF technology exceeded market expectations or that their partners VeriFone dropped the relationship in favor of pushing their own reader. Either way, one thing is for sure; the industry players are baffled by this unexpected news.

Context taken from: http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/27/report-google-nfc-partner-vivotech-shutting-down-operations/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29

In-store mobile game launched by Aldo to increase end-consumer engagement

Friday, 15 June, 2012

In an effort to further connect with consumers while they are shopping in-store, Aldo has launched an interactive gaming platform. The basic crux of the game is to allow shoppers to engage with the Aldo brand, remain in the store for a longer period of time, and offer a chance to win $500. It also supports Aldo’s current foray into mobile with the recent launch of a mobile commerce platform.

Dubbed ‘Shoe Paradise,” the game and mobile site was developed by Dynamo, a Quebec-based company specializing in digital media. Alex Nemeroff, Interactive Director at Dynamo, added “This in-store game was created to fulfill two goals, to extend the Shoe Paradise microsite concept to mobile customers and introduce an experience tailored to Aldo’s recently-launched mobile commerce site.”
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The game is being promoted through zoloftanxiety.com in-store signage, which includes a call-to-action for customers to visit www.aldosp.com on their mobile browser. Details on the game then follow, with a featured shoe from which users can earn rewards as directed by the app. In order to enter to win customers must play three different levels of the game, each one at a different Aldo location, with prizes including free gear.

This initiative further cements Aldo’s mobile presence and is an example of how technology and smart devices can play an important role in uplifting brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.

Starbucks introduces mobile payments to the UK and Canada

Saturday, 25 February, 2012

Starbucks has expanded its mobile platform by bringing the company’s new Android app to the UK and Canada. Users will now be able to make payments with their mobile app, load their cards, check balances, and find any location by utilizing the store locator function. With the addition of these countries Starbucks mobile payments is now accessible at 14,000 locations.

My Starbucks Rewards has also been upgraded in the process. Users can now easily note when a free drink is available, keep a close eye on their balance, their star count, and the convenience of “touch to pay”.
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While these types of upgrades or expansions are not typically newsworthy, there are some interesting elements to this mix. Starbucks has refused to stand on the sidelines and wait for the mobile payments mass confusion to pass. They have instead delivered their own intricate system that has empowered them by  offering up an end-to-end solution with mobile apps, full POS integrations, barcode scanners, and loyalty programs which are all managed in-house. Ultimately, Starbucks is opening up the possibility of mobile payments to the mass consumer market, getting them ready for an inevitable payment reality.

Context taken from Tech Crunch 6/11/12

Mobile POS readiness: Motorola exploratory research

Friday, 24 February, 2012

In recent weeks, many payment companies have looked to the marketplace in order to assess “readiness” from an infrastructure standpoint to be able to integrate mobile POS systems and payment processing.

Motorola Solutions Inc. rolled out an in-depth survey of North American and European retail, hospitality and field services merchants to determine the level of interest in mobile payments and POS systems. The results indicated that 66% of participant’s revealed high levels of awareness and interest in mobile POS solutions and 42% currently use or plan to use mobile POS solutions within the next three years.

When looking at actual application interest, merchants focused on inventory management (51.3%), pricing and labeling (47.8%), return management (42.2%) and lastly merchandising (36.1%).
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Merchants were also asked the key reasons for making the jump into mobile: improved customer service, saving sales and special order product management, custom order fulfillment, line busting, serving store locations where fixed POS was not an option, and customer relationship/loyalty program management.

Mobile payments market set to reach USD 80 Billion in China by 2016

Friday, 24 February, 2012

In a report released by research and consultancy company Kapronasia, China’s mobile payments market is expected to surpass USD 80 Billion by 2016 and sustain an active user base of 441 million users by 2015, with this number set to double annually. This is a significant finding for a rising trend and business opportunity for most mobile operators, merchants and banks.

Interestingly, the study also bills China as the number one smartphone market in the world, surpassing the US and driving the most technological advancement in the mobile payment sphere.
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Further statistics show the dramatic growth potential, citing year-end 2011 revenue posted at USD 7.6 Billion with 218 million active users and projecting growth by 2016 to be at USD 84 billion and over 400 million active users. Surprisingly enough, despite China’s dominance in smartphone usage, less than 10 percent of the 900 million mobile device users have adopted smartphones, demonstrating even further growth potential for this market.

This growth may be hindered over the short-term, as Chinese officials and government bodies continue to develop mobile payment regulations, which could delay quicker implementation.

The race to prepaid is on

Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

At the very foundation of the need to continuously drive innovation lies a common human need to connect people, information, and services. The payments industry has seen a consistent and quick adoption of innovation as new technology keeps surfaces by the day. Despite all the hot-topic talk of NFC, digital wallets, m-commerce and mobile technology, one common thread is the rise in interest and desire for prepaid.

Today, a large amount of companies not currently in the prepaid sphere are quite literally running to the opportunity and latching onto any type of idea, service or technology and soon merchant service companies will likely follow suit.
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Back in 2009, Western Union took the bold decision to move into prepaid and become a dominant player. Based on strong consumer demand and a few previously failed attempts earlier in the 2000’s, Western Union has finally cemented their position of strength within this market.

An interesting note here is that, even with a simple business model built around money transfers, Western Union has had a long history of adopting new technology. From operating the first telegraph network to launching the first commercial satellite into Earth’s orbit, Western Union continues to look at how communication and financial services go hand-in-hand.

Keeping an eye on the younger demographic, prepaid fills two distinct trends and needs in the next-generation markets: self-service culture, and instant gratification. Prepaid wins on both fronts and may become the dominant payment method in the coming years.

Pilot mobile payment platform tested by Burger King to drive m-commerce

Sunday, 12 February, 2012

Fast food chain Burger King is now testing a program where consumers have the ability to pay for meals through a mobile smart device. This pilot program marks the continued foray into developing a clear m-commerce strategy that the chain hopes to bank on into the future.
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Teaming up with Firethorn Mobile Inc., this new program mimics a similar initiative previously launched by Starbucks. “The strategy is to provide retailers with a mobile payment service that does not require hardware – bar code scanners – investment at the point-of-sale,” said Chip Fishburne, senior vice president of financial services at Firethorn Mobile, Atlanta. “This is a cloud-based payment service that leverages the strong brand of the retailer,” he added.

Burger King currently operates over 12,500 locations in 82 countries worldwide. A global launch for the initiative has not yet been disclosed.