Welcome to our new Payments Insights newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital payments industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
APPLE IS WELL-POSITIONED TO MOVE INTO PAYMENTS IN 2014: It’s no secret that if Apple wants to get into the payments space it would have a few massive advantages. We thought it would be useful to review them ahead of the New Year:
- The Apple Passbook app already allows users to access gift/loyalty cards for use at various retail and restaurant chains.
- Apple has over 600 million Apple IDs on file, most of which are linked to a credit card, according to CEO Tim Cook. This is more than both PayPal and Amazon.
- Apple’s fingerprint sensor on the new iPhone 5S provides would-be smartphone payments users with a strong security feature for ID authentication and to protect payment information.
- Apple recently introduced the iCloud keychain which stores passwords, credit cards, and all the information needed to automatically fill in billing information on desktop and mobile e-commerce platforms
- The new Bluetooth-powered iBeacon feature, available with iOS 7, could be paired with user accounts to facilitate in-store shopping, including mobile in-store payments. Over 200 million active iPhones have Apple’s iBeacon technology installed already. (BI Intelligence)
WHAT WE MIGHT SEE FROM APPLE IN2014: If Apple makes a foray into payments, the first step would be to get merchants on board, notes industry news site PYMTS.
As we detailed in a recent report, Apple’s iBeacon technology is software installed on iOS devices, so a payments solution using the technology may not require merchants to buy new point-of-sale hardware. In addition, some 75% of devices activated at small- and medium-sized businesses run on iOS.
In terms of getting consumers to adopt a mobile wallet, Apple is already a few steps ahead of competitors with Passbook, which is already one of the most popular mobile commerce apps on smartphones in the U.S. Apple merely has to implement a payments mechanism into Passbook.
Finally, if you have ever bought music or videos from iTunes, then the credit card that you used to make the purchase is linked to your Apple ID. If you buy an iPhone and enter your Apple ID on your phone then your credit card number links to your mobile device. So, there is no need to enter an arduous credit card number on a small smartphone screen. (PYMNTS)
In other news…
U.S. Bank is working on an instant shopping app concept which will allow people to use their phones to purchase items they find in magazines or hear advertised on the radio. The app has a sound recognition interface that will instantly pull up products mentioned in audio advertisements on a user’s mobile device. Users can also take pictures of products in magazines and the app will take them to an online retail site where they can purchase the item. (Finextra)
U.S. Bitcoin wallet Coinbase announced that it now 650,000 users. At the beginning of 2013 the company had 30,000. News of the milestone comes on the heels of Andreessen Horowitz’s $US25 million investment in the company. (Coinbase)
Curious about what Bitcoin is? Khan Academy has nine free videos explaining the cryptocurrency’s inner workings. (Khan Academy)
WELCOME TO PAYMENTS INSIGHTS.This is our new newsletter covering all things payments. Don’t forget to sign up and get it every morning in your inbox. Please email [email protected] or BI Intelligence director [email protected] with news and tips.
Payment Source has an interesting slideshow detailing the biggest mobile wallet redesigns in 2013. We think that we are going to see a similar trend of redesigns in 2014 as payments companies scramble to develop a mobile wallet that consumers will actually want to use. (Payments Source)
Direct carrier billing company Boku is teaming up with Singaporean telecom Singtel to offer direct carrier billing in Singapore. The companies plan to expand their joint direct carrier billing offering into Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines in the near future as well. (Mobile Payments Today)
Armory Wallet, a Bitcoin wallet, has reduced the computing power necessary to use its wallet. One problem with Bitcoin wallets is that they require users to load the entire history of Bitcoin transactions (block chain). As Bitcoin gains wider acceptance we expect to see many companies grappling with this problem. (Payments Source)
Cloud Hashing, an Icelandic Bitcoin mining company, rents out computing power for Bitcoin mining for $US999 a year. (New York Times)
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