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“Digital Wallets” change how payments are made and consumer information is protected

Friday, 24 February, 2012

EVOCANADA_evo_canada_merchant_service_accountAs major credit card companies Visa and MasterCard continue to develop and deploy mobile payment applications for smartphones equipped with NFC technology, payment processing between merchants and consumers will continue to evolve.

Many traditional brick and mortar retailers may not necessarily see the need to update their current POS terminals to accept mobile payments, as this emerging technology seems more suited to e-commerce. That said, the idea behind the “digital wallet” as a payment method may dramatically shift how sensitive client information is handled during a transaction.

Consumers are increasingly concerned with identity theft and likewise merchants worry about being sued for information leaks in their POS systems. Mobile payment applications change this very dynamic by giving the ability to consumers to keep all important payment information contained in their “digital wallet,” linking only to their respective banking institutions and cloud data management service, the two safest places to store this information.

Digital wallets will effectively turn the mobile payment enabled smartphone into a Personal Point of Sale (PPoS) device, which includes all the current features and capabilities of a standard retail POS terminal but with added levels of information security and less transfer of info between payment terminals.

Initially set-up for online shopping cart transactions, these new mobile payment applications will no longer require consumers to give out sensitive payment information during the checkout process, rather a transaction number will be pasted into the PPoS. This new PPoS system gives consumers the added ability to keep control over sensitive payment information and merchants no longer need to handle sensitive information and keep it secure.

Online merchants will also benefit from the added element of the mobile payment transaction being considered a “card-present” sale, reducing discount rates, limiting charge-back incidents and decreasing opportunities for fraudulent payment activity.

Predictions for $8 Billion in mobile commerce from eBay in 2012

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

Mobile commerce is certainly on the rise and 2012 should be a banner year for e-commerce company eBay. According to CEO John Donahoe during a speech in Las Vegas at the CES Conference in early January, the company is forecasting $8 billion in total mobile commerce, with $7 billion attributed to mobile payments. Donahoe also noted PayPal’s above expected 2011 mobile payment results of $4 billion, all pointing to the rising importance of mobile payments for the company as a whole.

According to PayPal’s (a subsidiary of eBay) Senior Director of Global Communications and Experiential Marketing Amanda Pires, their mobile payment numbers can be attributed to an achieved level of trust for both the PayPal and eBay brands. “Consumers are increasingly choosing eBay mobile and PayPal mobile because we provide a great shopping experience and a fast, highly secure way to pay,” she said. ”With millions of customers globally, the brands are already trusted online so it makes sense consumers would choose eBay and PayPal on their mobile phones.”

With more than 17 million users currently using PayPal mobile payment services, up from 8 million posted in June 2011, the company is well positioned to capitalize on the mobile payment trend. This coupled with an increasing line-up of top retailers, including Starbucks and Fandango, has enabled the company to further develop its POS scan applications for smart devices along with other mobile payment options, including a pilot project launched in Sweden using NFC technology. There are lots more to come from both eBay and PayPal, stay tuned.

Jumio simplifies payment and secures heavyweight financing

Tuesday, 21 February, 2012

Start-up company Jumio, specializing in mobile and online payments, has secured $25.5 million USD in a recent funding round. Investment firms have yet to be disclosed but this is a huge statement for the upstart company who in March 2011, secured $6.5 million USD in Series-A financing led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin.

As current CEO and founder Daniel Mattes’ second successful start-up, Jumio aims to simplify online and mobile payments. Daniel is no stranger to the world of venture capital finance as he was behind the VoIP success Jajah, selling in 2009 for $207 million USD to Telefonica in an all cash deal.

Jumio’s lead product is Netswipe, with many options from basic processing to a mobile application and even a wordpress blog payment plug-in. For more information on Jumio, please visit www.jumio.com.

By Evo Canada Merchant Services 

Planting the entrepreneurial seed: How Sprouter.com is helping small business in a big way

Sunday, 19 February, 2012

EVOCANADA_evo_canada_merchant_service_accountFounded in late 2009 by media maven Sarah Prevette, Sprouter was built on the notion of creating an online community to give start-ups and small-business owners access to professional guidance from experienced industry veterans.

Entrepreneurs log into the portal and are lead through a series of information pages where they can ask specific questions, browse topics, comment in discussion forums and share info with other networks. Sprouter by no means uses crowdsourcing to answer questions, as all answers are gathered from the panel of proven experts and their associates. This panel of experts is carefully chosen to provide real-world advice on various topics such as business law, marketing and funding.

Taking their initiative offline, Sprouter also hosts a series of events called “Sprout Up” allowing users to connect in a live conference format with other entrepreneurs, business owners and panel experts. Hosted monthly, over 600 entrepreneurs meet and greet at each event and gain insightful information to help build up their respective businesses. Complementing these events is a periodical magazine called the “Sprouter Weekly” which aggregates common questions on the site and outlines useful information for start-ups.

Allowing access to business minds such as Aaron Patzer of Mint.com fame and Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, Sprouter provides an instant connection to a wealth of information, potential investors and expert knowledge instantly, all in an easy to use web based platform.

Western Union and MasterCard team up to make electronic payments more convenient

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

 

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It is estimated that 2.5 billion adults worldwide do not have access to standard financial products and services. Traditional money transfers and pre-paid credit cards are helping to bridge this gap and offer consumers convenient, low-cost options for financial services.

Western Union and MasterCard have recognized this need and see an opportunity to develop a crossover network between both companies’ electronic payment networks. Over the last year, both companies have been collaborating to develop a partnership that would see MasterCard become the pre-paid card of choice for Western Union and Western Union the preferred money transfer solution for MasterCard. As such, cardholders will be able to access these global networks to reload funds at any MasterCard rePower location as well as selected Western Union Agent locations. Consumers using the Western Union money transfer service will also now be able to send funds directly to eligible MasterCard holders, offering a viable, non-cash solution to these financially underserved clients.

According to Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, “This agreement sets the stage to globalize prepaid services. We’re opening up more options for consumers around the world by combining Western Union’s global network of money movement solutions with MasterCard’s world class global electronic payments network.”

“The primary focus of our global partnership is to enable greater financial inclusion for consumers and provide additional electronic payment options that create efficiencies in their daily lives,” said MasterCard President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga. “We look forward to all of the benefits that our partnership will bring to consumers around the world.”

Tacos and PlayStation anyone? Taco Bell and Sony collaborate to launch mobile contest

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

Taco Bell and Sony have released a mobile sweepstakes tied-in to the much anticipated product launch of Sony’s PlayStation Vita game console. This collaboration seeks to further engage Taco Bell consumers while highlighting both the PlayStation Vita release as well as key Taco Bell products from it’s “Unlock the box” campaign. Taco Bell’s lead digital brand experience manager, Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, had this to say about the collaboration: “Gaming is incredibly popular among our customers, so together with Sony, we are bringing a game-changing technology to fans before it launches and allowing these fans to have fun while winning.

The contest platform is two-fold, on one level users can enter to win via participation in a mobile specific game, or simply text in special product codes found on Taco Bell’s “$5 buck box”. Supporting both the iPhone and Android OS, the mobile game will allow Sony’s core gaming demographic to connect with PlayStation Vita news, updates and pre-release information.

Collaboration between the two companies on a mobile marketing initiative points to the growing importance and recognition of how consumers are incorporating mobile into their daily lives. Ms. Zarate-Bayani has made this notion a focal point when developing digital campaigns and notes “Mobile is a priority for Taco Bell as we know that it is an important aspect to our consumers’ daily lives, especially when making decisions about where to eat. Our overall digital strategy involves engaging with our consumers in relevant ways, and leveraging new and exciting technology through mobile provides these experiences to our fans on a daily basis.”

By Evo Canada Merchant Services 

Product Spotlight: Verifone VX810 Duet

Saturday, 11 February, 2012


This pay-at-the-counter device is the perfect solution for high-traffic / high-volume retail, restaurant and service environments looking for a hassle free and complete point-of-sale option. Boasting a lightweight hand-over device perfect for end-consumer usage at cash registers, the terminal is equally suited to multi-lane environments.

Complete with a powerful user-friendly PIN Pad and extensive POS capabilities, the Verifone VX810 Duet leaves merchants with many options to expand. Using the Electronic Cash Register interface (ECRi), the device can be connected to existing POS systems enabling control of transactions directly from the cash register if needed and compatible.

Entirely secure, the VX810 Duet is backed by 3DES encryption, Master/Session and DUKPT key management, is PCI PED approved and uses VeriShield authentication to keep all transactions covered and safe.

Through a simple set-up, the VX810 Duet is easy to implement and does not require additional certification for merchants, bringing you EMV capabilities right away!

iPad brings new depth to the shopping experience at Guess retail stores

Monday, 6 February, 2012

Lifestyle apparel retailer Guess has launched a program to bring innovative elements to their in-store shopping experience. Leveraging Verifone’s GlobalBay mobile retail platforms and software, Guess has set up rolling stands with iPads in approximately 12 stores across the USA. This is a test phase for the retailer, with plans to expand this program to their other locations based on the usage rates and overall functionality within their existing retail environment.

The iPad stations allow customers to shop for products in-store as usual but are seamlessly integrated into the shopping experience by exposing them to enhanced brand level content. The iPads come preloaded with GlobalBay’s Lookbook application which showcases videos, content, and an innovative product catalog function that ties to an e-commerce platform, all while integrating with current Guess POS and inventory systems. The software is stock with these backend functionality, allowing a brand to simultaneously maintain creative control over their layout and aesthetic design to properly showcase their features.

The stations are mounted on wheels, allowing employees the ability to move the mobile iPad freely in the store so they can, for example, assist further in changing rooms by suggesting alternate colors and styles to patrons who are actively trying on their products. Store managers are mandated to use the stations to help train new staff, give up-to-date product knowledge sessions, and help manage the Guess brand. Future plans for the system include the addition of a barcode scanner and credit and debit card mag stripe units to automate the checkout process, a similar trend that has taken hold in major department and grocery stores.

Will this be the end of the salesperson? Not likely, but it will modernize the way retail stores, their clerks, and their customers interact. The traditional retail shopping experience at Guess and other clothing stores alike are going to be become much more technology-driven and better equipped for enhanced service.

Couch Commerce, rising mobile payment trend

Sunday, 5 February, 2012

Merchant service account evo canada payment processing The recent US Thanksgiving holiday weekend showed positive retail sales comparatives to the previous year, indicating that the economy is showing signs of improvement.

Shoppers were out and about in abundance, both in traditional retail and online before, during and after one of the most important holiday seasons for US retail. As online retail sales continue to trend upwards, so has the rise of mobile purchases and this holiday season was exceptionally positive for this emerging sector.

IBM’s Coremetrics retail data division stated an annual increase of 39% in online sales over last year with significance on emerging mobile shopping trends. Consumers opting for mobile devices to visit retailers’ websites versus traditional computers or laptops, rose from 6.45% in 2010 to 15.2% this year and actual consumers making an online purchase increased to 11.09% up from 4.25% in 2010.

eBay has termed this emerging trend as “couch commerce” where most consumers find time in-between turkey, football and family, to surf and shop the web from the comfort of their living room using a tablet or mobile device.

As shopping gets more “comfortable” and more mobile devices become accessible to the general population, perhaps we’ll finally see the end to the massive pile-ups of people running into stores on US’s Black Friday and Canada’s Boxing Day.

Tabbedout to launch mobile solution for bars and restaurants

Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

Have you ever waited over 30 minutes to pay a restaurant check or walk out of a bar forgetting to pay a tab leaving your credit card and ID behind? Well the latter may not happen as often but the process of paying a restaurant or bar bill can lengthy for both customers and merchants.

Austin, TX based Tabbedout aims to remove the need to exchange money or credit cards all together by launching a new application designed specifically to work with these types of merchants. No longer will you need to wait on a server or remember to collect your cards and tab at the bar, with the Tabbedout application, all payment information is securely stored on your smartphone with the ability to link directly to a Tabbedout supported merchant. All payments go directly to the merchant’s POS system without having to transfer sensitive payment information as with credit or debit cards.

Beyond helping customers keep sensitive payment information securely on their own phone and making the payment process much easier, Tabbedout helps merchants maximize service by eliminating the need for servers to chase after payments and waste time printing out paper bills. Tabbedout also acts as a network linking merchants to customers via the application itself, even when the customer may not be in the restaurant or bar itself. This added feature allows merchants to market new products and services, engage customers with content or simply spread the word about a new menu, drink or event.

Despite only being currently available at select Austin, TX merchants, the Tabbedout platform is an interesting discovery and could pave the way for changing how restaurants and bars do business. For more information on this revolutionary application, visit www.tabbedout.com.