Monday, October 24, 2011

Square's iPhone credit card reader to sell in Walmart

Viable alternative to NFC?

Square's iPhone credit card reader to sell in Walmart. Phones, iPhone accessories, NFC, Square, shopping, Walmart 0
24 October 2011 6:33 GMT / By Ben Crompton
The Twitter co-founder's credit card service Square, has announced that it will be selling its Square credit card readers in Walmart - expanding the product outside of tech-based shopping outlets.
Previously the Square card reader was only available from shops such as Best Buy, Radioshack and Apple stores, and this move to the main stream increases the number of outlets the device is sold to over 9000.
The Square card reader bolts onto your iPhone or Android smartphone/tablet via the headphone jack, and then, by way of an app, enables retailers to charge for services by asking customers to swipe their cards through the device. This method is far cheaper than the regular terminals we're used to, and may well appeal to traders who run businesses outdoors, such as market stalls owners - giving customers greater flexibility as to where they shop. Square then creams off the top, by taking 2.75 per cent of the transaction.
The issue is that it rather flies in the face of near field communication (NFC) which enables users of smartphones to pay for goods without the need for a credit card, but whilst the infrastructure for NFC is slow to be implemented it could leave a window for the Square form of payment. There is still, however, the issue of having decent 3G reception, if not it could lead to very grumpy customers.
For those in the UK, the move to start selling the $10 devices in Walmart means, if they sell well, we could see them appearing in greater numbers over here as UK Asda stores are now a subsidiary of the US supermarket chain.
What do you think of the tech? Does it have a future?  Let us know in the comments...

NFC could cover one-third of the globe by 2015

ZDNet By Rachel King | October 24, 2011, 11:25am PDT

Summary: NFC is just in its infancy, but one of the potential powers behind mobile payments could be readily available many places in a few years.
That trickle could turn into a waterfall by 2015 as market intelligence firm In-Stat reports that NFC chip shipments will rack up to 1.2 billion in four years, with the potential to be available around nearly a third (30 percent) of the globe in the same time frame. Near field communications (NFC) has been a hot topic this year, particularly when it comes to mobile payments. NFC has the power to enable this feature on smartphones, and we’re starting to see it trickle out on devices.  read more

Tap, Tap, Done: Pageonce Introduces Mobile Bill Pay

Quick, Easy Bill Pay App Turns Smartphone Into the Wallet of the Future

PALO ALTO, Calif. – October 24, 2011 – Pageonce (, the popular daily finance service for mobile devices, today launched the first and only mobile bill pay service that gives consumers remote control over when and how they pay their bills. Pageonce lets users view all their bills and pay from any account, all in one simple app anytime, anywhere.

The award-winning Pageonce Money & Bills already lets users automatically track all types of bills — from rent and mortgage, utilities, and cell phone to credit cards — and alerts them when a bill is due. Now Pageonce gives users the option to pay immediately from their choice of accounts with a few taps on their smartphone. Pageonce makes paper bills, checks and stamps, and logging into several different websites for online bill pay, obsolete — helping users save time and avoid annoying late and overdraft fees.

“Pageonce has been helping millions of users stay on top of all their money and bills through a simple and smart mobile interface,” said Guy Goldstein, Pageonce Founder and CEO. “Now we’re empowering people to DO their finances directly from their smartphone. Paying bills is our first step in building the Wallet of the Future.”

Simple, Smart and Secure.

Pageonce collects all the information about a user’s bills, including payment due date, amount due and itemized details, and presents them in a simple, easy-to-read format on a smartphone. Before a bill is due, users will get an alert that allows them to pay now in just three steps:

1) Select how to pay

2) Enter the amount

3) Tap Pay

That’s it, done. The user gets a receipt and e-mail that the payment has been sent, followed by a confirmation once the payment has been received. All of this is done with the utmost security at every level. Pageonce adheres to the same strict security standards as banks, while adding extra protections on the app such as locking the app with a PIN code, designating access from one specific mobile device, and the ability to block mobile access from the web, if a device is lost or stolen.

“Consumers are hungry for that combination of convenience and control that will enable them to pay bills more easily, more quickly, and with more control,” said Mark Schwanhausser, Senior Analyst, Multichannel Financial Services, Javelin Strategy & Research. “That means being able to review the details of a bill, not just the amount due. That means having the ability to choose when and how to pay, whether it’s from a “pay now” checking account or a “pay later” credit card that earns rewards. And, increasingly, it means being able to pay bills via mobile device whenever and wherever you are.”

Pageonce recently concluded a successful beta testing program that included nearly 1,000 best testers paying thousands of bills.

“The Pageonce bill pay app was so easy it caught me off guard,” said Jesse Thouin, father of six from Nashville and Pageonce mobile bill pay beta tester. “Wait, this is it? I don't have to log into 18 different sites? I can pay all my bills in just a few minutes from my phone. Pageonce is a fun, friendly app that’s super powerful.”

Pageonce Money & Bills with bill pay is available now on iPhone and Android for $4.99 per month.

Halloween by the Numbers: Infographic

Halloween is quickly approaching (it’s a tad creepy how fast it seems to come every year!) and that means that it’s time to purchase candy, costumes, decorations and other party supplies to make this year spooktacular. Before you pull out your credit card and do some serious shopping, take a look at the amount that Americans spend for Halloween. The numbers may shock you.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 24, 2011
Halloween is more than just a spooky holiday; it’s also a profitable one, as revealed by CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison site. The newly published Halloween infographic goes beyond trick-or-treating and showcases the money that’s raked in during the eight-week period leading up to Halloween.

“Many Americans view Halloween as a kid’s activity,” said Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey. “But, as we’ve uncovered, this holiday pumps some serious money into the U.S. economy. We’ve also found that this holiday is just as much celebrated by adults as kids. The amount that it’s celebrated is revealed in November when credit card statements hit the households around the nation.”
So, just how much money does Halloween rake in? Check out these figures, highlighted in the Halloween by the Numbers infographic:
  • With an estimated 36 million trick-or-treaters and 111.3 million potential trick-or-treating stops across America, there is a demand for candy on Halloween night
  • The demand causes weekly candy sales to more than double during the month of October
  • The eight-week period leading up to Halloween accounts for $1.9 billion in candy sales; $1.2 billion of this is chocolate candy
Costumes and Accessories 
  • The eight-week period leading up to Halloween accounts for 90% of the costume hair coloring annual sales
  • This period also accounts for 25% of the false eyelash and accessory sales for the year
  • In 2009 alone, Halloween costumes exceeded $6 billion, and adult oriented costumes made up 62% of the sales, showing that Halloween isn’t just kids play
Home Décor 
  • Americans are also spending money on Halloween-themed home décor, with 86% of households decorating their homes for Halloween
  • Many of these homes utilize pumpkins for decorations with 99% of all pumpkins sold in America being used for Jack-O-Lanterns

Best Buy, MasterCard, AT&T, Isis, Samsung and PayPal Address Over 150 NFC Experts at NFC Payments USA

Miami (PRWEB) October 24, 2011
On November 2-3, in Miami, over 150 NFC experts will convene for NFC Payments USA, the first event in North America to focus on the commercial rollout of NFC. Uniting payment solutions, financial institutions and MNOs, the conference will provide a much-needed forum for the industry to map out the best strategies for successful rollout.
In the last few weeks Best Buy and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts have been added to the speaker line-up. They’ll be joined by senior-level executives from AT&T, Fifth third Bank, Citigroup, American Express, ING DIRECT, Isis, Nokia, U.S. Bank, TD Bank, Rogers Communications, Samsung, PayPal and MasterCard.
For more information, including a list of attendees, click below:
On the first day of the conference Stephanie Swain, Senior Financial Director for Best Buy will be delivering a presentation on how merchants view NFC payments. In this presentation she’ll be talking about how Best Buy have been analyzing mobile wallet initiatives. She’ll be explaining the objectives of merchants when it comes to NFC payments – what’s the payback for them? Swain hopes to provide attendees with insights into the most effective ways to work with merchants and promote merchant pick-up.
David Canora, Principal Technical Specialist for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts will also be participating in the conference, on a panel discussion entitled “Educating the Consumer – Getting it Right”. Canora will be joined by Dominic Venturo, Chief Innovation Officer for U.S. Bank Payment Systems and Todd Wilson, Business Integration Specialist for AT&T as they debate the best way to convey the benefits of NFC Payments to consumers – a key issue for the whole NFC ecosystem and a central theme of the conference.
Helen Raff, General Manager of NFC Insight, said “The addition of Best Buy and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts really tops off what is already a great event. By getting the merchants involved NFC Payments USA now features the entire NFC ecosystem. I’m really excited to have these speakers at the event and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say!”.
These merchants will be joined by financial institutions and MNOs for two days of panels, presentations and case-studies. With all stakeholder groups represented, the conference will address the role that merchants play in driving mass-scale NFC adoption, as well as other barriers to commercial rollout; overcoming interoperability issues, reaching critical mass, the best business models and forming effective partnerships between banks and MNO’s.
Other agenda highlights include presentations from James Anderson, Group Head, Senior Vice President Mobile, Emerging Payments for MasterCard Worldwide and David Messenger, Executive Vice President for American Express Company.
For more information, click here:
Helen Raff
General Manager
NFC Insight
Tel: +44 (0) 207 375 7582
Toll Free: +1 800 814 3459 ext. 7582

Singapore based Swiff introduces Mobile Phone Card Reader

Swiff, a Singapore-based startup that was started in 2010, wants to be the future of mobile payments too. It give merchants a cheaper way of accepting credit card payments — just using their mobile phones. 

The founders are Jerome CleEtienne Van den Bogaert, and Lionel Steinitz — all possess a background in banking and finance.

Read more

In-Stat: NFC Chip Shipments to Reach 1.2 Billion by 2015

As the number of mobile payment users grows to over 375 million in 2015, the demand for devices with near field communications (NFC), the underlying communications technology behind many mobile payment solutions, is expected to grow as well. New research from In-Stat forecasts that adoption of this technology will push global annual shipments of NFC chips to over 1.2 billion by 2015.
NFC is a set of technologies that supports communications between two devices in close proximity to each other. An NFC link is quick to set up, enabling small amounts of data to be exchanged over short distances.
"As the costs of NFC chips decline, and NFC radios are combined with other chip functions, the cost to integrate NFC into handsets will be outweighed by the benefits," said Allen Nogee, research director. "The growth of combo chips will also allow NFC radios to piggyback on technology that already has significant penetration in the market. For example, Bluetooth radios, which currently have 100% market penetration, can be integrated with NFC radios, making the choice to include NFC easy for OEMs."
The research findings include:
  • Today, the focus of the NFC market is shifting from payment applications that can be enabled by NFC, to marketing applications. With this focus shift, In-Stat expects retailers to begin pilot programs in the latter part of 2011 and into 2012 that incorporate smart posters into their signage and outdoor advertising strategies.
  • NFC will reach 30% global penetration by 2015
  • Global annual shipments of NFC chips will grow at a CAGR of 129% over the forecast period.

Study Finds Nearly One-in-Three Consumers Will Leave Their Bank if It Institutes Charges for Debit Card Payments


New Debit Card Fees -- Black Eye or Knockout Punch?

New TRiG Study Finds Nearly One-in-Three Consumers Will Leave Their Bank if It Institutes Charges for Debit Card Payments
FT. WASHINGTON, PA--(Marketwire - Oct 18, 2011) - Perceptions over bail-outs, settlements over fraudulent mortgage practices, increasing fees, removing incentives, stripping rewards programs and a lack of transparency has generated so much mistrust of banks that protesters have taken to picketing and sit-ins. Now, many banks are openly considering charging customers for using their debit card as a form of payment. Such a fee could reach most U.S. consumers, as nearly three-in-four (73%) of all Demand Deposit Accounts (e.g. savings, checking, etc.) has a debit card attached to it. Given this new potential fee, The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), a market research consulting firm, surveyed a representative sample 1,000 U.S. adults in early October to determine if consumers view this as yet another black eye or the knock-out punch.
Many consumers say this fee could be the knock-out punch. Whether it's the nature of the fee itself -- or the timing of it -- nearly one-in-three consumers (30%) indicate they will leave their bank, should it charge a monthly fee for using their debit cards to make purchases. Consumers that are younger (+/- 35%), come from six-figure income households (37%) and residing in the West (37%) report higher levels of potential flight than their respective counterparts.
It appears that most consumers, however, would view this fee as yet another black eye. More than two-in-five (43%) consumers indicate they would be more likely to change their payment method than to switch banks. Given the recent credit crunch, they express a stronger likelihood to pay with cash (28%) rather than by using their credit card (15%) if banks charged for debit card purchases. Cash purchases would likely grow among middle-age and lower income consumers while seniors and the upper-middle class would be more prone than other cohorts to return to credit cards.
"After a review of our findings, we believe institutions enacting monthly debit card fee for payments will certainly take a hit in the hearts and minds of consumers," says Bruce Shandler, CEO of TRiG. "While much of this anger will unlikely result in switching, these results clearly suggest that institutions with inappropriate communication and service recovery strategies should expect switching to exceed the typical rates of 12%-15% per year, especially given heightened levels of consumer awareness associated with this potential action."
Indeed, a lack of awareness regarding fees consumers pay often dampens frustration expressed towards banks. TRiG's survey confirms this finding. Among those with checking accounts, only 10% believe they pay a monthly fee on their checking account, while the banking industry estimates a majority of consumers, 55%, actually pay such a fee.
Even if this punch does not knock some consumers down, others say it will knock some sense into them and may cause them to actively consider a change.
For more information on this survey and/or to receive a free copy of this report or to discuss another survey with The Research Intelligence Group, please contact Rob Kaplan-Sherman, President, Service Division, at (215) 643-8754 or
About TRiG
The Research Intelligence Group is a member of Leger Marketing, the largest independent Canadian-based marketing research company. Leger Marketing and TRiG have maintained their separate identities and independence, which is central to TRiG's core value of providing a specially-selected team of US-based research professionals who have a shared history of bringing their combined experience and knowledge to bear in every research engagement. TRiG's sister organization, Leger Marketing, was founded in 1986 and now has over 600 professionals. Leger provides with TRiG a strong legacy and proud history of world-class professional standards which have continuously earned the prestigious Gold Seal certification from the Marketing Research Industry Association. This legacy of outstanding achievement is foundational to TRiG's mission to provide unparalleled excellence in every aspect of our offering.

NAFCU: Want to Avoid Bank Fees? Join a Credit Union

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Want to avoid high bank fees? Join a credit union. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) offers these five reasons consumers should discover the benefits of membership in a credit union, which include convenience, security, personal service, low fees and competitive rates.
“Not only are credit unions great stewards of their members’ money, but their business model means their primary focus is on serving their members. When you join a credit union, you know that your money goes back to you, the member.”

“There are real advantages to credit union membership,” said Karen Tyson, NAFCU senior vice president of marketing and communications. “Not only are credit unions great stewards of their members’ money, but their business model means their primary focus is on serving their members. When you join a credit union, you know that your money goes back to you, the member.”
Five things you will love about credit unions:
  1. Members come first. Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions where you are not a number – you’re a member. Relationships matter and people come first. Many people are eligible to join a credit union based on their employment, community, educational, military, church or family affiliation. Low-income-designated credit unions offer financial services in communities that are often underserved by banks.
  2. Joining a credit union is easy. You can find a credit union to join at Visit your local branch, or apply for membership online. At some credit unions, you can open an account for as little as $5. Once a member, you can stay a member even if you change jobs or move to another area of the country.
  3. Credit unions have great services and products. Credit unions offer savings/checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, IRAs, auto and mortgage loans, and online banking -- just like banks.
  4. Convenience. Many credit unions participate in a shared branching network offering members access to credit union locations in all 50 states. Credit unions also offer access to thousands of free ATMs nationwide, including at key 7-Eleven locations.
  5. Deposits are safe and secure. Deposits in the nation’s federal credit unions are federally insured through the National Credit Union Administration. NCUA carries the full faith-and-credit guarantee of the United States government, just like the FDIC. No credit union member has ever lost a penny of their federally insured funds.
The National Association of Federal Credit Unions is the only national organization that focuses exclusively on federal issues affecting credit unions, representing its members before the federal government and the public.


Patty Briotta, 703-842-2820

Office Depot and Century Payments to Launch Office Depot Merchant Services

New Electronic Payment Processing Solution Makes It Simple For Small Businesses To Start and Grow Their Business
BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, today announced the launch of Office Depot Merchant Services, an electronic payment processing service for small and medium-sized businesses.
“We are pleased to partner with Office Depot to provide their business customers with a convenient and reliable electronic payment option”
In partnership with Century Payments, Office Depot is the first office supply retailer to provide a private branded solution to enable small and medium-sized businesses with direct access to accept electronic payments via all major debit and credit cards at the point-of-sale. Businesses can now conveniently accept payments using a variety of cutting-edge equipment options that will allow companies to process payments from a retail location, through the Internet or with a mobile device.
“Understanding how to accept different types of electronic payments and choosing the right merchant processor for your business is vital,” said Steve Schmidt, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and New Business Development for Office Depot. “Office Depot Merchant Services makes it simple to accept all types of credit cards – no matter what type of business you have.”
When utilizing Office Depot Merchant Services, all customers will receive a smart solution to run their business. Office Depot’s partnership with Century Payments provides customizable payment solutions that are convenient for the merchant and consumer, trusted and secured banking to ensure quick and safe transactions and a unique rate-matching option that will meet or beat other offers.
“We are pleased to partner with Office Depot to provide their business customers with a convenient and reliable electronic payment option,” said Christian Campbell, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Century Payments. “Office Depot’s philosophy is about helping small and medium-sized businesses, and now with the addition of a Merchant Services product, customers will be able to get all the resources they need to start and grow their business in a single destination.”
In addition to simplifying payment processing, Century Payments has pledged to donate one backpack to the Office Depot Foundation for every new customer that activates an account with Office Depot Merchant Services.
To learn more about Office Depot Merchant Services, please call 1-877-409-4849 or visit
To learn more about the products and services available at Office Depot, please visit your local Office Depot retail store location To become a fan of Office Depot on Facebook and receive exclusive content, offers and more, please To follow Office Depot on Twitter, please visit
About Century Payments
Century Payments, Inc. is a nationally recognized leader in the electronic payment processing industry, dedicated to developing the most progressive, dynamic programs to benefit merchants, partners and agents alike. Through white label alliance programs, Century is the fastest growing electronic payments company having boarded over 50,000 merchants in the last three years and processing close to $10 billion in annual volume. In 2011, Century entered into an elite group recognized on the Inc. 500 list as one of the top 20 fastest growing, privately owned businesses for two consecutive years. The company is headquartered in Frisco, Texas. for more information.
About Office Depot
Celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, Office Depot is Taking Care of Business for millions of customers around the globe. For the local corner store as well as Fortune 500 companies, Office Depot provides supplies and services to its customers through 1,627 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs and global e-commerce operations. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $11.6 billion, and employs about 40,000 associates around the world. The Company provides more office supplies and services to more customers in more countries than any other company, and currently sells to customers directly or through affiliates in 56 countries.
Office Depot’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Additional press information can be found at: and

Full Service Payroll to Small Businesses, BofA Getting Intuit

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

Bank of America, Intuit to Offer Full Service Payroll to Small Businesses

New Service Makes Managing Payroll Easy; Gives Entrepreneurs More Time to Focus on Running Business
CHARLOTTE, N.C. & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bank of America and Intuit Inc. today announced the availability of Intuit® Full Service Payroll for Bank of America small business customers. The service simplifies small business owners’ lives by doing their employee payroll and payroll taxes.
“By teaming up with Bank of America, we’re taking the complexity out of payroll for their four million small business employers across the country”
“Small business owners are hit every day by a multitude of operational demands that can take their focus away from what’s most important to them – serving their customers and generating more business,” said Dean Athanasia, Preferred and Small Business Banking executive at Bank of America. “Intuit Full Service Payroll gives small business owners peace of mind when managing payroll, so they can dedicate more time to running and growing their business.”
Intuit Full Service Payroll provides guaranteed error-free paychecks and payroll taxes, as well as a team of experts to address any number of payroll issues. The service provides a number of benefits to Bank of America small business customers, including:
  • 100-percent accuracy – Guaranteed 100-percent accuracy of federal, state and local tax withholdings, as well as any voluntary withholdings that employees take, based on customers’ information.
  • Expert availability – A dedicated team of U.S.-based payroll experts to manage customers’ payroll from start to finish – available via phone, chat or email.
  • Online compatibility – Full integration with customers’ online banking solutions, so they can manage their business’s finances all in one place.
  • Error check – Smart online technology that spots possible errors before paychecks are finalized.
Bank of America already works with Intuit to provide small business customers with Easy Online Payroll®. This self-service offering is available in two tiers, Basic and Plus, designed to meet specific payroll needs of a small business based on its size and number of employees. Both Easy Online Payroll services enable small business owners to easily calculate and process online payroll and payroll taxes with automatic employee direct deposit, pay statements, and electronic tax payments.
“By teaming up with Bank of America, we’re taking the complexity out of payroll for their four million small business employers across the country,” said Ginny Lee, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Employee Management Solutions division, which is the leading payroll provider with more than 1 million small business customers. “Whether business owners want to do it themselves or have us do it for them, we have a solution that best meets their needs. And most importantly, they can sleep at night knowing that their employees and their payroll taxes are paid accurately and on time.”
Bank of America launches Business Platinum Privileges™ for small business customers
In addition to the launch of Intuit Full Service Payroll, Bank of America is also enhancing the checking and savings solutions it offers small business clients. Beginning in November in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts, the bank will launch Business Platinum Privileges™, a recognition and benefits program with the highest level of service and most comprehensive rewards designed to recognize small business customer loyalty. Benefits include reduced rates on lines of credit, retirement account benefits, additional bonus points or cash back on credit and charge card purchases, and higher rates on savings accounts.
Bank of America has also recently enhanced small business products such as Business Advantage checking – which lets clients choose the right combination of features and services to meet their unique needs, including advanced online account management services, free stop payments and incoming domestic wire transfers – and Business Fundamentals with Business Economy checking – which provides clients with a simple and convenient checking account that comes with services like mobile banking, a Visa debit card, overdraft protection and online bill pay.
Other ways Bank of America and Intuit are helping small businesses
Other efforts initiated by Bank of America to help small businesses include:
  • Committing to hire approximately 1,000 small business bankers throughout 2011 and into 2012. These bankers will serve as a dedicated resource for small business owners, helping them assess their companies’ deposit, credit and cash management needs.
  • Our CDFI grant program, created in 2010 to unlock $100 million in low-cost capital for small businesses, already has allowed CDFIs to access $82 million, serving nearly 8,300 local businesses and helping create and retain more than 11,300 jobs.
Additional initiatives by Intuit that help small businesses include:
  • Intuit’s Love a Local Business campaign has helped small businesses across the country hire the help they need to grow their business. The program awards monetary micro grants based on online nominations from a small business’s customers and fans. To date, the program has awarded more than $800,000 in funding to small businesses nationwide to both help them get back on their feet and celebrate their success to date.
  • Intuit is a partner and sponsor of the Startup America Partnership, an organization working to help young companies grow in order to create jobs in America. As part of this partnership, Intuit is investing $37 million in products and services including Intuit Payroll offerings to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country.
  • Each month, Intuit publishes the Intuit Small Business Employment Index based on aggregate and anonymous payroll data. The Index is one of the few to help media, economists and policy makers better understand the unique impact the smallest businesses have on the U.S. economy. To date, the Index shows that small businesses with fewer than 20 employees have created 720,000 jobs since October 2009.

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