Thursday, May 26, 2011

Google Teams with Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint for NFC Mobile Payment Platform

Google, Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint Team up to Make Your Phone Your Wallet

Google Wallet will enable consumers to tap, pay and save with their phones
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At an event today, Google, Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint announced and demonstrated Google Wallet, an app that will make your phone your wallet so you can tap, pay and save money and time while you shop. For businesses, Google Wallet is an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships by offering a faster, easier shopping experience with relevant deals, promotions and loyalty rewards.
“Today, we’ve joined with leaders in the industry to build the next generation of mobile commerce”
“Today, we’ve joined with leaders in the industry to build the next generation of mobile commerce,” said Stephanie Tilenius, vice president, commerce and payments, Google. “With Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint we’re building an open commerce ecosystem that for the first time will make it possible for you to pay with an NFC wallet and redeem consumer promotions all in one tap, while shopping offline.”
Google Wallet is currently in a field test and will be available to consumers this summer. At the event, Google, Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint introduced Google Wallet and invited additional issuing banks, payment networks, mobile carriers, handset manufacturers, point of sale systems companies and merchants to join the initiative.
Next Step in Mobile Payments
At commercial launch, Google Wallet will support payments with two payment solutions: a PayPass eligible Citi MasterCard and a virtual Google Prepaid card. Most people who already have aPayPass eligible Citi MasterCard can simply add it to Google Wallet over the air, using First Data's trusted service manager service. Or, they can fund the Google Prepaid card with any payment card.
Google Wallet uses near field communication (NFC) to make secure payments fast and convenient by simply tapping the phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.
Google Wallet is engineered to enable secure payments and goes beyond what’s possible with traditional wallets and cards. It will require an app-specific PIN and in the first release, all payment card credentials will be encrypted and stored on a chip, called the secure element, that is separate from the Android device memory and is only accessible by authorized programs.
“Citi’s role as the lead bank in Google Wallet is the latest demonstration of how we are committed to becoming the world’s digital bank, providing to customers the tools they need to manage their everyday finances with convenience and value,” said Paul Galant, CEO, Citi Global Enterprise Payments. “Today’s announcement and our active collaboration with Google will be looked at as the inflection point for how mobile payments are evolving from concept to mass utilization.”
Accepted in Stores Nationwide
Google Wallet is built to work with the fast growing MasterCard PayPass network—a merchant point of sale service that enables consumers to tap to pay. As a result, Google Wallet will immediately be accepted at more than 124,000 PayPass-enabled merchants nationally and more than 311,000 globally.
“MasterCard has pioneered mobile payments with our PayPass technology and we’re proud that it is at the heart of Google Wallet,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard. “We’re excited to partner with these industry leaders today and committed to continuing to play a leadership role in the development of mobile payment technologies.”
Google is also working with point of sale systems companies and top retail brands to create a new SingleTap shopping experience. Consumers will be able to pay for an item using a credit card or gift card, redeem promotions and earn loyalty points—all with a single tap of their Google Wallet. Google is working with VeriFone, Hypercom, Ingenico, VIVOTech and others to develop these next generation point of sale systems. Retailers participating in the new SingleTap experience include: American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, The Container Store, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, Noah's Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, RadioShack, Subway, Toys“R”Us and Walgreens.
“Google Wallet allows us to harness the power of mobile technology to enhance our in-store shopping experience and helps bridge the gap between our online and in-store consumer interactions,” said Martine Reardon, executive vice-president of marketing and advertising, Macy's. “Macy's is always looking for cutting-edge technology that will deliver value and engage our customers in personal ways. Google Wallet delivers this unique interaction across channels.”
The first Google Wallet field tests are focused in New York and San Francisco, where many retailers, Coca-Cola vending machines and even taxis are PayPass-enabled, including major outlets such as CVS, Jack in the Box, Sports Authority and Sunoco. First Data, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, is actively recruiting thousands of new merchants in these areas and will soon expand those efforts to deploy more contactless merchant terminals across the country.
“The payments industry has known for some time that it was not a question of if, but when true mobile commerce would become a reality. We believe today is the day that mobile meets payments,” said Ed Labry, president, North America, First Data. “We’re proud to play a central role in Google Wallet and to bring innovative technology such as Trusted Service Management and contactless acceptance to our clients.”
Saving Made Simple
Google has also been testing a variety of consumer deals that can range from a 20-percent discount on a new pair of boots discovered on a Google search advertisement; to a $5 off check-in offer received upon entering a store; to a "deal of the day" offering a $20 lunch for $10 at a local restaurant. Whenever you buy or save an offer, you will be able to automatically sync it to Google Wallet.
At most stores you will be able to use Google Wallet to show your offer at the register, where the cashier will either scan it or manually type it in. At participating Google SingleTap merchants, you will be able to pay and redeem an offer with one tap of your mobile device.
Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will eventually be able to do more than a regular wallet ever could—but without the bulk. Google Wallet will start with offers, loyalty and gift cards but some day items like receipts, boarding passes and tickets will all be seamlessly synced to your Google Wallet.
Open Commerce Ecosystem = Consumer Choice and Innovation
Google Wallet will work best if it’s an open commerce ecosystem so you will be able to carry all the credit cards, offers, loyalty and gift cards you choose—and eventually much more. To this end, Google Wallet will make it possible to integrate numerous types of partners, and Google, Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint invite the banking community, mobile carriers, handset manufacturers, merchants and others to work with Google Wallet.
“We are delighted to be the first carrier to sign on as a partner with Google to deliver Google Wallet,” said Fared Adib, senior vice president of product development, Sprint. “As a leading innovator and proponent of “open,” we are proud that Nexus S 4G is the first smartphone with Google Wallet and we look forward to deploying Google Wallet on many of our upcoming Android phones.”
The first release of Google Wallet is expected to be released on the Nexus S 4G on the Sprint network. Additional devices with NFC capabilities will follow. Sign up to be notified about the release
About Google Inc.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. For more information, visit
About Citi
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services and wealth management. Additional information may be found at
About MasterCard
As a leading global payments company, MasterCard (NYSE: MA) serves as a franchisor, processor and advisor to the payments industry, and makes commerce happen by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, governments, businesses, merchants and cardholders worldwide in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information, please visit us Follow us on Twitter: @mastercardnews.
About First Data
Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.
About Sprint
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 51 million customers at the end of 1Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at or and


Nathan Tyler, 650-930-3555
Joanne Trout
Sean Kevelighan
Nina Das
First Data:
Elizabeth Grice
Jennifer Walsh Kiefer

American Express Blocks Medical Marijuana Purchases as POTentially Illegal

Medical Marijuana Laws Initially "Passed to Doobie Us" Now Classified as "Dubious"

Growing Concern: POTentially Illegal based on Federal Law
So far, American Express has given no reason for the new rule, leaving medical marijuana dispensaries and their customers guessing at possible causes. One theory is that the card issuer has received complaints from companies about their employees using their American Express cards to purchase medical marijuana. American Express may also have received a high number of fraudulent or unauthorized charges from medical marijuana dispensaries due to people using forged or stolen cards to obtain pot.
While legal marijuana may be used for illegal purposes, a lot of sick patients need the drug. Many would argue that American Express’ move is an audacious one, wondering how the company can overrule a practice that 15 states have made legal.
An American Express spokesperson said the change was made because it is the company’s policy to follow "Federal Guidelines."   

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Google's New York event, May 26th 2011

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
What we know so far:

Partners:  ViVoTech, Verifone, MasterCard, CitiGroup
Pilots: New York and San Francisco
NFC Phone: Sprint
Stores: Macy's American Eagle Outfitters, Subway, 

Do you know what this means!  It means that if you happen to be one of the 37 individuals who use Sprint as your carrier, invested in an NFC Mobile Device, live in New York (or San Fran) and shop at Macy's...(or Subway) you can buy a $5 foot long with the wave of your phone!  

PC World has a "What to Expect at Googles NFC Event" Article...

Want to watch the event via a live blogger?  Go here...


Confirmed: Google Wallet NFC payment system launches tomorrow, retail partners in tow

Posted by Nilay Patel on May 25, 2011 7:57 pm | 49 Comments
We’d already guessed that tomorrow’s Google event would be all about contactless payments, and we can now confirm that the system will be called Google Wallet and launch later this summer. We can also confirm that Google’s lined up several retail partners including The Container Store to get things off the ground — it sounds like special NFC readers will arrive in stores sometime around September 1st, and customers will be able to pay just by tapping their phones against them. That’s all we know for sure right now — but we’re sure to find out far more about device support and additional retail partners tomorrow during our liveblog.

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Alabama Freedom Pass Goes Mobile

May 25, 2011 11:54 AM Eastern Daylight Time 

BUSINESS WIRE)--Beginning June 1, 2011, American Roads Investments will release two mobile applications that will allow travelers to pay bridge tolls and parking charges at any Alabama Freedom Pass® network facility. No more fishing for change, no more swiping your credit card - just punch in your location to pay.

“With these mobile applications travelers can link their phones with an existing Freedom Pass account or bill a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Discover)”
This includes the:
  • Emerald Mountain Expressway (Wetumpka, AL)
  • Montgomery Expressway (Millbrook, AL)
  • Tuscaloosa Bypass (Tuscaloosa, AL)
  • Beach Express (Orange Beach, AL)
"With these mobile applications travelers can link their phones with an existing Freedom Pass account or bill a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Discover)," said Neal Belitsky of American Roads Investments. Using the device deducts the toll amount from pre-paid funds or charges users on the go. You can even have a receipt e-mailed to you after each use. Instant balance information is available for current Freedom Pass account holders. The application also can be modified for any point of sale or prepaid toll or parking application.
The applications are free and available in the iTunes ( or in the Android Marketplace ( Interested individuals also can download them at

American Roads Investments, Inc.
Neal Belitsky, 313.268.9715
Paying your toll just got a little easier!

You can now use your Apple or Android phone to pay your toll at any Alabama Freedom Pass® network facility. No more fishing for change, no more swiping your credit ard. You don't even have to pull out your current Freedom Pass card - just punch in your location to pay your toll. (Coming soon... just hold up your phone and away you go.)
You can link your phone with your existing Freedom Pass account or bill a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Discover). Using your device deducts the toll amount from your pre-paid toll funds or charges you on the go. You can even have a receipt e-mailed to you after each trip. Instant balance information is available for current Freedom Pass account holders.

Download for your iPhone or iPad device

Download for your Android device

American Roads LLC is a privately-held American company that owns and operates toll road facilities in the United States and Canada. About 12,000,000 vehicles travel on American Roads’ facilities each year.
American Roads' mission is to provide its customers with safe and efficient road transport routes. Our bridges save people time and gas, by offering the fastest and shortest routes to destinations, and avoiding congested roads and delays of multiple traffic lights.

With years of toll operations and maintenance experience, and a well-trained and dedicated staff, we strive to provide top quality service to all our patrons.
We currently operate four toll bridges in the Alabama, as well as an international border crossing tunnel between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario:
Emerald Mountain Expressway (Wetumpka, AL)
Montgomery Expressway (Millbrook, AL)
Tuscaloosa Bypass (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Beach Express (Orange Beach, AL)
Detroit Windsor Tunnel (Detroit, MI)
For further information please contact:
Neal Belitsky
American Roads LLC
100 Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 567-4422 office
(313) 268-9715 cell

Mack Roberts
VP Acquisition, Development & Engineering
American Roads LLC
441 High Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
(334) 834-6440 office
(334) 318-9510 cell

American Roads LLC
201 St. Charles Ave Suite 250
New Orleans, LA 70170
(504) 982-9811 office

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Devices Aren’t Dead: 36 Percent of Smartphone Owners State That Apps Don’t Satisfy Their Needs

Abalta White Paper and Consumer Study Provide Evidence that Smartphone Apps Are Not Completely Cannibalizing Hardware

Abalta, a leading developer of location-based software solutions, today released a white paper titled Dedicated Devices Aren't Dead - Exploring the Demand for Apps vs. Hardware. The paper argues that while today’s “app culture” has certainly disrupted a number of technologies, the mobile electronics market is showing signs of resistance to being completely cannibalized by smartphones. To bring in the perspective of the consumer, Abalta commissioned a study to probe the attitudes of consumers and their preferences for devices versus smartphone applications. Among other findings, the study shows that 36 percent of smartphone owners still prefer dedicated devices that provide a better experience.

“It is key that we remind ourselves that the consumer market is not homogeneous,” said Michael O’Shea, president of Abalta Technologies, ”While it is easy to believe that a disruptive technology, like smartphones, will quickly cannibalize incumbent solutions, there is strong evidence to show that both apps and devices can live harmoniously in the market given consumer needs and perceptions.”

The Abalta white paper presents a balanced view of the argument highlighting areas of both convergence and divergence, and is backed by an Abalta-commissioned study that presents a true consumer point-of-view. Given the popularity of mobile sport and fitness devices and applications in the market, Abalta chose to focus the study on two distinct segments of the population – golfers and runners who also own a smartphones. The study provides details into the preferences of these segments while also presenting greater insights into the drivers of these purchases.
Key highlights from the study and white paper: 
  • Divergence Exists: 36 percent of smartphone owners are rejecting convergence. Briefly stated, this means a certain segment of consumer still wants separate mobile electronic devices that can provide a better experience than smartphones and apps can provide.
  • Story of Convenience vs. Quality: In terms of purchase drivers, a disparity exists between those who prefer apps versus those that prefer devices. The story is one of convenience over quality. The top reasons for purchasing apps are convenience and ease of purchase while quality and accuracy are noted as the top reasons for dedicated devices.
  • Saturation or Cannibalization?: Evidence in the market, such as Garmin’s financials, show that declines in some consumer electronics segments, such as portable navigation devices, may be a result of saturation versus app cannibalization. Strong growth in Garmin’s Outdoor and Fitness business units contradicts the exponential growth of smartphones and app downloads.
The white paper “Dedicated Devices Aren't Dead - Exploring the Demand for Apps vs. Hardware” can be downloaded at in our “Insights” section or directly at
Methodological Notes
Abalta’s figures are based on an online survey conducted in April 2011 by Survey Analytics among 244 smartphone users in the United States.
Abalta is a leading developer of location-based software solutions. From dedicated GPS devices to consumer smartphone applications to connected automotive systems, the company has supported a wide range of customers in delivering innovative and engaging experiences to their end-customers. Abalta has helped companies grow in their respective fields with a deep awareness of the market combined with an unrivaled technical aptitude in software and systems in our domain. Spanning eight years, Abalta has launched over 150 individual programs for 50 different customer brands globally. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @abaltatech.

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Smartphones Now Being Used by Two Thirds of Moms in the Shopping Process, According to New Study by Greystripe

45% Use Smartphones to Find a Store Location, 36% Use For Price Comparison

It’s no surprise moms with iPhone and Android devices are employing their smartphones to make their day-to-day lives easier. A new study by Greystripe, the largest brand-focused mobile ad network, now finds a majority of moms, over 66 percent, now use their devices in the shopping process. Greystripe collected the data from its expansive network of touch devices during a three-month period from November 16, 2010 to February 15, 2011.

Greystripe research found other trends on smartphone moms including: 
  • 45 percent use their smartphone to locate the nearest store
  • 36 percent use their phone for price comparison
  • 31 percent use their phone for new product research
Besides the many functional purposes of a smartphone for a mom juggling multiple tasks, many of the women surveyed also use their iPhone or Android to save money. The study found that 57 percent of smartphone moms use coupons every time they shop.
For many smartphone moms, grocery shopping is also facilitated through their handy mobile device. The study found that 42 percent of smartphone moms use their smartphone while grocery shopping, in a variety of ways. 
  • 32 percent use their smartphones for shopping lists
  • 21 percent use their smartphone to look up recipes
  • 14 percent use their smartphone to do a price comparison
Further, Greystripe’s research found smartphone moms are receptive to advertising, with 55 percent indicating that advertising plays a role in their purchasing decisions and 91 percent preferring free apps with ads over paid apps without ads.
“Smartphones have become the super tool for moms on the go,” said Dane Holewinski, director of marketing at Greystripe. “The majority of moms with smartphones are using those devices for their day-to-day tasks especially shopping, making them the ideal target for advertisers.”
About the Survey
This data is based on data Greystripe gathered from 239 women with children on iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices on its network from November 16, 2010 through February 15, 2011. For the full study, click here:
About Greystripe:
Greystripe, a division of ValueClick, Inc. (Nasdaq: VCLK), is the largest brand-focused mobile advertising network in the US by reach. Greystripe delivers the highest engagement and most sophisticated targeting for brand marketers, the maximum revenue for publishers and app developers, and the best ad experience for users. Greystripe’s proprietary advertising platform serves billions of rich media impressions to over 30 million users of touch-driven devices through more than 3,500 application titles and mobile websites across all major mobile platforms.
For more information, please visit:

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