Archives For May 2013

GoogleWalletLogo-610x370

Today we’re looking at Google wallet – a versatile and safe payment gateway which allows you to store your debit & credit card details for payment and allows you to access them from your smartphone or web browser.

The “Buy with Google” option comes up on websites which accept Google wallet as a payment method, which would allow you to use Google wallet for purchasing goods online at online stores. Google are aiming to create a faster and more manageable checkout system with Google wallet.

How does it work?

  • Sign up for a Google Wallet on the web
  • Add on cards (debit or credit) onto your wallet
  • Use the wallet to transact

Uses:

  • The Google wallet allows for secure, fast purchases online, at over a thousand websites
  • You are able to shop at a Google wallet mobile app store and save on certain items
  • App’s, music, books, and so much more is available on the Google Play store
  • Sending money to other Google wallet holders is also an option, making the transfer of money from person-to-person as quick as clicking a button (this works through users Gmail interface)
  • NFC payments via Google wallet is also available where accepted

Pro’s:

  • Google wallet allows you to select which card you would like to transact from
  • You are not only limited to usage on an app or one online shop
  • You can use the Google wallet service from a Web Browser or a smartphone
  • Safe & Secure – Google wallet Purchase Protection covers all eligible unauthorised Google wallet transactions as well as password protection for the wallet
  • Transferring money between Google wallet users is free

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As mobile payments continue to grow in popularity we’re looking at five of the top payment systems we find the most interesting and feel have the most potential to grow into massive, worldwide services although most of these providers are only available in the United States. We’ve divided the services up into mobile card readers and mobile payment providers:

Card Readers:

Square

If you’re looking for a no-frills approach to mobile credit card processing, then check out Square. With no monthly fees, no contracts and no merchant accounts, Square is a good solution for those who only occasionally need mobile payment processing.

Square links directly with your bank account and accepts payments from all major credit card companies. Its transaction fee of 2.75% is a little steep, but with no additional monthly fees, you could end up saving money with Square if you don’t use it regularly.

GoPayment

At $12.95 a month, Intuit’s GoPayment for iOS and Android devices is another great option for business owners looking for a mobile credit card processor.

The hardware required for swiping credit cards comes at no additional charge, and transaction fees are competitive, at 1.75% of total sales. GoPayment accepts all major credit cards and offers email receipts for customers.

If your business is already using QuickBooks or another Intuit Payment Solutions software, then GoPayment might be a great choice for you. It automatically syncs with your accounting software, helping you easily manage your books, even on the go.

Mobile Wallets:

PayPass

MasterCard’s PayPass lets your business accept fast payments through an NFC-enabled point-of-sale (POS) terminal. Customers can tap their NFC-enabled credit card or smartphone over the terminal to make a payment.

PayPass vendors must either purchase a plug-in NFC reader from MasterCard or install a fully integrated POS system from the company. MasterCard does not charge vendors additional usage or transaction fees for the PayPass system.

Having a PayPass terminal in place at your register will allow your business to accept many forms of contactless payments, not just those made with MasterCard. Google Wallet and ISIS Mobile Wallet both can be used with PayPass readers.

MasterCard also offers a secure digital wallet — the MasterPass —that your business can use to make checkout easier for customers. The service is currently free for both merchants and customers.

Boku

This app allows merchants to accept payments from customers using only mobile telephone numbers. Merchants can choose to add Boku as payment option on their website, mobile site or app.

Customers simply enter their mobile-phone number, and payments are added directly to their phone bill. No bank accounts or registration are required.

Boku does not publish pricing information for merchants on its website, but you can apply for a Boku account online by providing your business’s basic info.

LevelUp

LevelUp is an app for merchants that allows them to accept mobile payments from any customer, without a credit card, regardless of whether or not they have a smartphone.

Merchants use a LevelUp terminal, which integrates with their existing POS system, to scan the quick response (QR) code on a customer’s smartphone or LevelUp card.

In addition to making mobile payments quick and easy, LevelUp lets businesses create unique loyalty programs for customers. Regulars automatically receive credit to their LevelUp account when they frequent their favorite merchants. And the app gives business owners access to a range of powerful analytical tools, so they can keep track of customers and their purchases.

LevelUp’s Interchange Zero payment network is free. The company doesn’t charge transaction fees or charge for hardware. Instead, merchants are charged for running marketing campaigns with LevelUp. Merchants pay $0.40 for every dollar of credit redeemed by a customer.

In the future it seems all payments will be mobile but until then plastic is the way to go!

Today we’re looking a great infographic we produced about our corporate gift cards. These cards are great ways to reward staff for work as well as give as gifts for suppliers and customers. Here are some highlights:

  • The average amount loaded on the cards is R1531. This is up over 150% since 2011
  • The telecomunications, motoring and mining industries make up 46% of our customer base
  • Recipients of the cards are using them: almost 95% of these cards are fully redeemed
  • It takes a mere 30 days to use the value on the cards
  • Customers spend 26% of their corporate card values at Woolworths

For full value click below:

infographic1

1262266_21971210In a completely insane story involving international hacking and theft the last six months have seen over $45 million stolen via prepaid cards. Before you panic and worry this is a highly complex and involve process that could have happened via any card medium, the crooks simply decided to use prepaid cards for simplicity.

The gang was able to make big withdrawals after hacking into an Indian and a US credit card processing company to raise the balances and withdrawal limits on MasterCard prepaid debit cards.

Cyber security experts said the global scope and speed of the $45 million bank theft was unprecedented. The global gang had operatives in 27 countries who could fan out to thousands of ATMs in a matter of hours, and withdraw money using fraudulent prepaid debit cards.

The story continues from the strange to the bizarre with the accused ringleader in the US cell, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, was reportedly murdered in the Dominican Republic late last month, Wired reported, adding that he was shot and killed while playing dominoes!

The cells would take their cut before laundering it through expensive purchases or ship it wholesale to the global ringleaders. The scheme involved attacks on two banks, Rakbank in the United Arab Emirates and the Bank of Muscat in Oman.

While no one besides the banks have lost any money this story will make a great movie one day. For now prepaid is safe and digital security firms might be making a lot more money consulting.

As prepaid cards continue to grow we thought we’d take a quick look into the history of prepaid cards and their origin:

Gift cards made their first appearance in the 1970s, although they did not emerge as a widespread form of payment until recently. Then in the 1980s, single-purpose (also known as closed-loop) cards, whose acceptance is limited to specific merchant locations, were adopted by the U.S. telecom industry. The telecoms were then followed by the big retail chains in the early 1990s and closed-loop cards quickly became the plastic version of paper gift certificates.

The gift card market exploded and became what we know it as today. Every mall and most stores have some form of giftcard you can buy.

The other major type of prepaid — open-loop — owes its adoption in the U.S. to the 1996 federal welfare reform, which mandated that food stamp coupons should be replaced with electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. Of course, EBT cards needed to be accepted at multiple merchants and that gave rise to the open-loop (also known as multi-purpose) cards.

Then in the late 1990s payroll cards emerged as a convenient way for employers to pay their “unbanked” workers (defined as employees without a bank account). Finally, in 1999 open-loop prepaid gift cards, which at this time had been available in Europe for quite a few years, made their appearance in the U.S. Today, all major card associations (Visa and MasterCard) and companies (American Express and Discover) offer multi-purpose prepaid cards that can be used at any merchant that accepts payment cards bearing the brands’ logos.

This is the current state of prepaid cards that are generally able to be reload and work anywhere a credit or debit card is accepted.

The future is a prepaid card becoming a spending account where your salary gets deposited into the account. These are just a few of the reasons why a prepaid debit card is the best way to approach money management.

luup

Luup is a mobile payment provider with a difference; they offer premium bank-grade mobile payment solutions that solve business challenges and enable new services. Unfortunately they’re not available in South Africa yet however it’s a fascinating concept.

Luup is building an international mobile money transfer network by partnering with banks and financial institutions around the world. Luup specialises in payment facilitation, the development of user interface solutions via SMS or mobile payment applications and the hosting of stored value accounts for financial institutions. Customers using Luup can pay for goods and services, donate to charities, pay bills or send money to family & friends using their mobile device.

The company has three main products they offer:

Remittance – Luup offers a highly cost-effective solution for foreign workers wishing to send money to their home countries. Firstly, a user does not have to hold a bank account to receive money via Luup, which means that workers can be paid directly to their mobile phone without needing to get a bank account in their country of employment. They can then send the money via Luup to someone in another country for a fraction of the cost of a normal international money transfer.

Person-to-Person payments – Whether it’s splitting a bill, paying a friend back or transferring money for a private transaction, Luup facilitate a very simple way to make personal payments.

Goods and services – Luup users can use their mobile phones to pay in shops and for various services such as taxis.

In addition Luup also helps charities. Charities can now receive donations by SMS without facing hefty charges to mobile phone operators.

Benefits

The pro of using Luup is that you suddenly have access to branded services without any technical investment. Luup takes care of the technicalities for you meaning less hassle for you and your users.

Luup is the only mobile payment provider to offer a universal payment platform. As a Luup partner you gain a unique channel to reach customers and generate revenue. You can provide your customers with mobile payment services that are fast, efficient, convenient and secure.

In America the Walmart Bluebird card launched in October 2012 and by January, it had over 575,000 account holders and $275 million in funds loaded onto the cards. Eighty-five percent of Bluebird customers are new to card partner Amex, and 45% under 35, according to a February company presentation. This is unprecedented growth for such an untapped market.

Amex has been continuously updating the Bluebird card since its launch. In March, it added FDIC insurance and chequebooks  transforming Bluebird from a prepaid product to a true checking account. Users can now place up to $100,000 into accounts each year.

The new paper checks have an unusual, added security feature. To write a check, a user must first obtain an eight-digit authorization code and set aside funds for the recipient. The payee can then call an 800 number to verify that the funds are available. This is obviously great for fraud and cheque recipient protection.

“With FDIC insurance coverage, the ability to write checks (even with a pre-authorization requirement) and the increased funding capability, Bluebird has emerged as a very powerful free checking alternative,” Jim Marous, a senior vice president of corporate development at digital direct marketing agency New Control, told American Banker in March.

The Bluebird prepaid account was built on top of Amex’s Serve digital wallet platform. Amex and Wal-Mart began testing the card in late 2011, and launched the product a week after Wal-Mart put in place a system for reloading prepaid cards at cash registers.

With Walmart now owning Makro in South Africa it will be interesting to see whether this card ever comes to South Africa. For now, it’s another great prepaid success story.