ENGADGET: The money in your bank account is typically covered by federal insurance, but your internet payment services typically aren’t. If PayPal or Venmo went belly-up, you’d probably lose your existing balance. That won’t be a problem if you’re using Google Wallet, though. Google is now holding your Wallet funds in banks with FDIC insurance, so your digital credit is now that much safer. This isn’t to say that rivals leave you completely vulnerable — PayPal has fraud protection, for instance. However, the Wallet move means that you won’t have to go to court to get your cash back if Google goes bankrupt, no matter how unlikely that is.
TECHCRUNCH: The Coin (promising to let you combine all your credit/debit/loyalty cards into a single piece of tech) has delayed for so long that you might have forgotten that you ordered one. In November of 2013, the YC-backed company blew past its $50,000 pre-order goal in forty minutes, but despite a promise of summer 2014 shipping, the company has yet to ship a product that wasn’t in beta. Until today. After a six-month beta program, Coin is finally ready to ship a finished product to the 350,000 people who have pre-ordered in the first two months of pre-order. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Google has been stepping up its game in mobile payments the last several months, buying Softcard’s point-of-sale tech and making some international advances for its money transfer service. Today it’s adding another crucial piece to mix: some key integrations with merchants and merchant platforms. Customers that use Android apps from Dunkin’ Donuts and Seamless, and merchants that build online stores through Shopify, will now all be able to access Google Wallet to make and accept quick payments. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: The rise of e-commerce in India has triggered a wave of startups that are leveraging the increasing adoption of smartphones to provide mobile payment solutions. Alibaba invested in Paytm at an apparent billion dollar valuation earlier this year, and now MobiKwik is the latest to be flushed with new cash. New Delhi-based MobiKwik has pulled $25 million in funding, led by Singapore-based hedge fund Tree Line Asia. The deal included participation from a couple of interesting strategic investors — Cisco and American Express. (more…)
FOREXMAGNATES: Optimal Payments Plc (LSE: OPAY), the group behind the popular NETELLER payment solution, has just revealed it would buy rival Skrill Group (Sentinel Topco Ltd) for a sum of about 1.1 billion euros in order to expand its online services. Skrill is one of the largest online pre-paid cards providers in Europe with its paysafecard brand. Its shareholders include CVC Capital’s Sentinel Group Holdings SA, Investcorp Technology Partners and others. Back in August 2013, CVC acquired a controlling stake in Skrill for €600m from Bahrain-based Investcorp.
TECHCRUNCH: Amazon’s VP and General Manager of Payments, Matt Swann, who most recently oversaw initiatives including Amazon’s Square competitor called Local Register and Amazon Wallet, has left the company, TechCrunch has confirmed. The move comes shortly after Amazon shut down its beta version of Wallet in January amid mediocre reviews, and an increasingly competitive landscape where Apple Pay and Google Wallet now dominate.
TECHCRUNCH: Paytm, a India-based mobile payments service operated by (now) Alibaba-backed One97, has introduced a big new feature that lets 25 million users transfer money to bank accounts. Mobile wallets, like that of Paytm, have grown in popular in India, where credit card adoption is low and many services, including online retailers, process a lot of cash-based transactions. (Its billion-plus population is estimated to have just 450 million bank accounts, with many unused.) Wallets are at the intersection of that, providing greater reliability than cash, but without requiring users to get bank accounts.
THE FINANCIAL BRAND: According to BI Intelligence, the consumer payments industry will process about $2.7 trillion of card-based payments in the US in 2015. This explains why there is a massive amount of mobile-centric innovation occurring in the payments space and why competition for the consumer’s wallet is so intense.
TECHCRUNCH: Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a quick update this morning on the rapid growth of Apple Pay. Apparently the company’s mobile payment technology is now supported by 2,500 card-issuing banks (up from only six when the product was announced in September), while the number of locations accepting Apple Pay has tripled to nearly 700,000.
FAST COMPANY: Thiago Olson, a 25-year-old founder and CEO of payment company Stratos, is now the focus of attention of the American media because his company has released a plastic card that can replace all bank cards in your wallet. However, Olson is no stranger to media attention: he built a nuclear reactor in his house at age 17.
WIRED: Remeber Coin, the credit card-sized gizmo that promised to streamline your wallet by consolidating all your other, actual credit cards? It raked in approximately a gazillion dollars in pre-orders when it debuted in November 2013, only to become another certified crowdfunding debacle, beset by delays and acrimony. Buyers were initially told it would ship summer 2014; the vast majority are still waiting. If nothing else, the saga proved that there is interest in a wallet-slimming wonder card. Now, those interested have another option to consider. Stratos is more or less the same concept as Coin, just with a slicker design and one other key advantage: Its creators claim it’s actually ready to ship. The question is whether or not it will be relevant once the payment world starts the shift to chip-enhanced cards this fall.
TECHCRUNCH: PayPal, the payments service with 162 million users preparing to separate from e-commerce giant eBay later this year, is announcing an acquisition today to help build out its mobile business targeting physical merchants, and sharpen its focus in competition with other tech payment hopefuls like Apple and Google. It is buying Paydiant, a startup out of Boston that makes mobile wallet technology. That technology, in turn, powers payment apps for large business like Subway, Harris Teeter supermarkets, Capital One bank, and — perhaps most notably — MCX, a merchant-owned network that is developing a payment app called CurrentC.