Thursday, March 15, 2012

PayPal to Triangling in on Square's Space

Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:21pm EDT

PayPal takes on Square with its mobile triangle

PayPal Here is designed to create some competition with San Francisco's Square

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
March 15, 2012 | Comments
Short URL:
Square has just gotten some rich competition now that PayPal has entered the mobile payment market. The eBay payment arm announced Thursday that it, too, will provide a phone dongle to help small businesses accept purchases wherever they are.
PayPal unveiled the design of its triangular dongle, which will process mobile payments for small businesses internationally.
At the San Francisco event debuting the new gadget, President and CEO of eBay, John Donahoe, proclaimed that the new service is better, has a better chance of going global fast (because of the PayPal name, and offers merchants everything they need to compete in this new commerce environment, online, mobile and now offline.
The dongle is called PayPal Here and fans out to avoid stress on the audio jack when merchants run credit cards through the system. Also unveiled Thursday was the complimentary app that is similarly designed to the Square app with some of the same features that were recently updated when Square started zoning in on the entire POS process (so that it can account for cash and check payments as well as have designated buttons for item prices). 
The PayPal here allows small business owners to show the customer the total, as well as allow customers easy tip-of-the-finger signing.
One feature that is interesting is the ability to scan cards if the dongle is lost or damaged. A merchant can scan the card (or checks) to secure payment. A great way to assure no revenue is lost.
Until now, PayPal has been a leader in the secure online payment market and has only recently set its sights on retail locations such as Home Depot. Square, on the other hand, has jumped out as the leader in mobile payments since its inception in 2010. Square has already processing $4 billion in transactions each year, take 2.75 percent for transaction fees.
When you sign up to be a part of the PayPal Here system, you will receive a PayPal debit card -- which is central in capturing the lower transaction fees. This card results in a 1% return for purchases made using the card. With that one percent back, PayPal says its transaction fee will be 1.7 percent (which is 1.05% less than Square, but for customers that don't use the PayPal debit card, the transaction fee is virtually identical). 
The PayPal app, called “local,” is a customer loyalty app that helps merchants recognize frequent customers and offer service assistance and deals.
PayPal already has 17 million users using its mobile application, but the loyalty and nubile points go to the young and innovative Square, which has already struck a cord with one-fifth of the credit-card accepting merchants in the US.
But some, less tech-savvy companies may be drawn in by the name-brand comfort that comes with PayPal and the familiarity with the business' end-to-end encryption to and security systems.
The PayPal Here card reader and merchant app for iPhone are both available today exclusively to select merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. It will be generally available to more merchants in those select countries next month. The Android version of the PayPal Here merchant app will also be available next month. 
In 2011, Square clocked in 1 million merchants using the mobile payments platform (which equates to one in eight merchants that accept credit cards in the US). In the fall, Square also announced that it was registering $11 million in payments per day (up from $4 million a day in July) and nabbed Sir Richard Branson, Kleiner Perkins, Visa, and other investors that handed over $100 million. Square also inked retail deals with Apple, Wal-mart, Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Target.
Just this month, Square announced that it is looking to futher disrupt the point-of-sale system for even more retail and restaurants around the globe with the launch of its updated iPad app: Register.
The San Francisco company already expanded from its smaller retail company base and added OfficeMax and select UPS Store locations to its list of big business gets and now is eyeing more companies with those traditional POS systems. 
So just as Square has been chipping away at what the credit card system can be for merchants, it also looks to shake-up the (mostly unchanged) POS system so that smaller merchants and vendors can gain the analytics and convenience without all the upfront and maintenance costs that can dampen any carry-over revenue for small businesses. 
Since PayPal is always looking to create more partnerships in retail and services, the possibility of a Square competitor is exciting for the future of commerce. 
I think that it is healthy for more companies to come into the mobile payment market. Its great for customers that want to use their cards and get virtual receipts and its great for businesses that might otherwise lose those sales. But it might take some more innovation to beat Square at its own game -- and, frankly, some better designing than just changing the shape and color of the dongle.
It really just feels like the people over at PayPal don't get the satire on 'The Office,' because I am fairly sure that when the characters were marketing a triangle tablet, it was to make fun of the unoriginal spin-offs that surface in the tech world all the time. (See the video at the end of the article to enjoy The Office spoof about creating a triangle tablet.)


Discover Implements 2013 EMV Mandate in U.S., Canada and Mexico

Image representing Discover Financial Services...
Image via CrunchBase

Company’s industry alignment to help streamline certification and deployment efforts
RIVERWOODS, Ill.--()--Discover (NYSE: DFS) today announced it is implementing a 2013 EMV mandate for acquirers and direct-connect merchants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This industry alignment will streamline certification and deployment efforts and enable a manageable transition for all parties involved, including issuers, merchants and acquirers.
“Enabling EMV in North America is a significant step in Discover’s approach toward emerging payments, and clearly a necessary one”
To date, Discover has prioritized its global EMV-deployment efforts towards markets which are mandated or have significant chip-card technology presence already. Discover has deployed D-PAS, the company’s EMV-compliant payment specification, for the past three years and already has over 1 million cards in market among international issuers. Deployment efforts continue in 2012, with close to 100 issuing and acquiring deployments slated across the Diners ClubPULSE and Discover card networks.
“Enabling EMV in North America is a significant step in Discover’s approach toward emerging payments, and clearly a necessary one,” said Troy Bernard, Global Head of Chip Payment Technology at Discover. “We believe each payment solution should enable choice and security within its transaction environment, which is why when it comes to EMV, we’re giving stakeholders choice and flexibility on how they implement it.”
Discover’s approach to EMV is both universal and choice-centric, meaning the company will not restrict any channel, verification process or transaction type. Discover will support:
  • All card authentication channels – including online and offline
  • All cardholder verification methods – including both chip & PIN or chip & Signature transactions
  • All commerce channels – including contact and contactless (which includes mobile)
Discover’s EMV deployment efforts are already underway domestically. In January 2012, Discover processed its first U.S. EMV card transactions at enabled Walmart locations. Walmart is certified to process D-PAS in both the U.S. and Canada.
To learn more about D-PAS or the Discover 2012 EMV mandate, please visit

First Data to Webcast CFO Remarks at Goldman Sachs Conference

Image representing Goldman Sachs as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

ATLANTA--()--First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today announced that it will webcast remarks by Chief Financial Officer Ray Winborne from the Goldman Sachs TMT Leveraged Finance Conference on March 22, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
The webcast will be available live and archived for three months following the event through the webcasts and events section at
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.

BOKU Secures $35 Million Strategic Investment From NEA, Telefónica and Other Investors

Following the launch of BOKU® Accounts, the company will use the investment to facilitate rapid growth and infrastructure development
SAN FRANCISCO--()--BOKU, the global leader in online mobile payments, announced today that it has secured $35 Million in funding. Investors include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Telefónica Digital, the growth arm of the global telecoms leader, as well as previous investors. Additional participants in the round include Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The funding will be used to expand the team, broaden infrastructure and continue BOKU’s global expansion that started in 2009.
“BOKU has built a phenomenal business around online mobile payments”
“Payments is an industry that requires scale, and in the three years since BOKU launched we’ve grown rapidly to partner with more than 250 mobile network operators, processing transactions in 67 countries around the world,” said Mark Britto, CEO of BOKU, Inc. “We see this investment as a clear vote of confidence from our new partners at NEA and Telefónica. They recognize that we’ve established a mobile billing system that offers bank grade technology on a global scale; this strategic investment will help us expand our business as well as facilitate the growth of our new BOKU Accounts platform.”
“Payments are going mobile and we want to be at the forefront of this trend,” said Matthew Key, Chairman & CEO, Telefónica Digital. “BOKU has quickly established itself as a true innovator in the mobile commerce space and this investment gives us access to their tools, infrastructure and know how, ideally complementing our own mobile payments expertise. In addition to the investment we are also embarking on a global partnership with BOKU to enhance our operator billing capabilities and the overall payment experience through our future mobile wallet services.”
Financial Services is a key focus area for Telefónica’s Digital unit that has been formed to drive growth and innovation across a range of digital services. Telefónica is committed to bringing mobile wallet and other innovative payments services to its customers across its operating businesses and through Wanda, its joint venture in Latin America with MasterCard. Tracy Isacke who runs the Venture Capital arm of Telefónica Digital and is based in Silicon Valley led the investment in BOKU.
“BOKU has built a phenomenal business around online mobile payments,” said Ravi Viswanathan, PhD, General Partner at NEA. “The next step is bringing mobile payments offline, and that’s what BOKU Accounts accomplishes. It works on all mobile operating systems across all hardware types, and applies for all subscribers. We look forward to partnering with BOKU as they take their offering to a whole new level.”
BOKU has raised a total of $75 Million in a series of funding rounds starting in 2008 when the company was formed. The company operates in 67 countries around the globe and partners with 250 mobile network operators.
About BOKU:
BOKU, the leading online mobile payments company, brings bank-grade payments technology and mobile users together, creating a trusted, accessible platform for consumers, merchants and carriers alike. Based in San Francisco with offices in Europe and Asia, BOKU reaches nearly 4 billion consumers worldwide, across 66 different countries. Leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists fund BOKU including Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. For more information visit:
About Telefónica Digital
Telefónica Digital is a global business division of Telefónica. Its mission is to seize the opportunities within the digital world and deliver new growth for Telefónica through research & development, venture capital, global partnerships and digital services such as cloud computing, mobile advertising, M2M and financial services. Telefónica Digital will deliver these innovative products and services to Telefónica’s 300 million customers as well as leveraging the power of the internet to enter new markets. It is headquartered in London with regional centres in Silicon Valley, Sao Paolo, Spain and Tel Aviv. Jajah, Terra, Tuenti, Media Networks Latin America, giffgaff and 48 are all part of the Telefónica Digital group of companies.
About NEA:
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $11 billion in committed capital, NEA invests in information technology, healthcare and energy technology companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm's long track record includes more than 170 portfolio company IPOs and more than 290 acquisitions, including investments in technology leaders like Data Domain, CareerBuilder,, Fusion-io, Groupon, Juniper, Macromedia, Playdom,, and TiVo. In the U.S., NEA has two offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and one in Menlo Park, California. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China.
Useful Links:
BOKU website:
NEA Website:
Telefónica Website:

InComm Named Best in Category Winner at Sixth Annual Paybefore Awards

Image representing InComm as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

The company takes home top honor for Best Health Care/Health Benefits Prepaid Program

ATLANTA – March 15, 2012 At the Sixth Annual Paybefore Awards ceremony, held this week during the Prepaid Expo in Las Vegas, InComm, a leading prepaid product and transaction services company, received the award for “Best Health Care/Health Benefits Prepaid Program” for its InComm/Medagate OTC Network Solution. InComm was also honored as one of the top three winners in five other categories. Paybefore Awards is one of the most prestigious recognition of excellence in the worldwide prepaid and stored value card industry. The awards are presented annually by Paybefore, whose publications are a leading source of industry information for the global prepaid community.
The InComm/Medagate OTC Network Solution provides consumers with a prepaid card for use in purchasing over-the-counter drugs and Medicare-approved products at thousands of retailers.

“We have had the opportunity to be truly innovative with our prepaid programs for our partners and we are extremely gratified to be recognized for that innovation by Paybefore,” said Devin Wade, President of Medagate, an InComm affiliate.

In addition to its Best in Category win for the OTC Network Solution, InComm was recognized in the following categories:

·         Best Gift Card Program
·         Best Prepaid Incentive, Reward, Rebate or Loyalty Program
·         Best Prepaid Gaming Card
·         Best Digital Currency
·         Best Virtual, Digital or Mobile Prepaid Application category 

The winning entries were selected by a panel of five industry experts who served as judges for this year’s competition, which – once again – included entries from around the world.

“Paybefore Awards were created to honor the companies and individuals that are keeping prepaid on the cutting edge of payments,” said Loraine DeBonis, Paybefore editor-in-chief and chair of the judging panel.

“Our industry continues to break new ground and expand the reach of electronic payments because of companies like InComm, who make innovation and execution a priority,” she continued. “We are proud to recognize their contributions to advancing the prepaid industry.”

“Prepaid is the fastest growing area of payments because it addresses unmet payment needs of consumers, businesses and governments,” added Marilyn Bochicchio, Paybefore’s CEO. “Paybefore Awards recognizes the creativity of prepaid practitioners in developing programs that address these needs more effectively than cash, checks or even other types of payment cards.”

About InComm
InComm is a leading provider of cutting-edge prepaid products, services and transaction technologies to retailers, brands and consumers. With approximately $15 billion in retail sales transactions processed in 2011, InComm assists more than 250,000 retail locations build prepaid card destinations, connects brands with new markets and gives consumers a simple, secure shopping experience. InComm stays ahead of emerging trends by analyzing market needs and leveraging its global, innovative commerce platform, go-to-market expertise and extensive partner relationships. With 113 global patents, InComm is headquartered in Atlanta and has offices in North and South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at

About Paybefore: Paybefore is the leading information provider to prepaid and stored value industry professionals, offering the latest news, commentary and analysis. Paybefore’s family of industry publications include:™, a searchable online news and information portal; Paybefore News™, daily news briefs delivered electronically; Paybefore News International™, a weekly compilation of prepaid news and events from outside the United States; Paybefore Update™, an e-newsletter delivered 20 times a year; Paybefore Legal™, a downloadable e-newsletter covering the legislative, regulatory and judicial developments in prepaid, as well as feature articles by leading attorneys in the field; Paybefore Magazine™, a biannual print publication featuring in-depth articles on the opportunities, challenges and trends in the global prepaid and stored value industry; and the only industry directory, Paybefore Buyer’s Guide™, available online and in print. Visit us at

Disqus for ePayment News