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.
PULSEWALLET MAKES BIOMETRIC SCANNERS RETAIL-FRIENDLY. We wouldn’t be surprised if biometric scanners play a huge role in payments in the years to come — in fact, we’d be surprised if they don’t.
Biometric data, like a fingerprint or an iris, is as unique as the individual to whom it belongs, and this makes it as good or better than a password for securing payment information.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), PulseWallet displayed a great example of how retailers might use biometric scanners in the future. PulseWallet provides point of sale hardware that scans users’ hands to confirm their identity. When users pay at a PulseWallet terminal for the first time, they swipe their payment cards, scan their hands, and enter their telephone numbers. After that, users can pay at any PulseWallet terminal by scanning their hand and entering their phone numbers — no need to swipe a payment card. (Verge)
BITCOIN PAYMENT INNOVATION. It’s no secret that there is a whole industry popping up around Bitcoin. At CES, three new start-ups showed off their Bitcoin-related innovations. (Ars Technica)
Lamassu offers a Bitcoin ATM. The new hardware comes equipped with a scanner that can recognise any paper fiat currency and convert it into bitcoins in fifteen seconds or less. The “Bitcoin Machine ATM” is aimed at providing an easy way for people to buy Bitcoin.
- BitcoinShop.US hopes to be Bitcoin’s answer to Amazon. The company offers an online marketplace for goods that can be purchased exclusively with Bitcoin. The company’s website looks kind of like an early version of Amazon. The company has only recieved a few hundred orders so far, but it shows that Bitcoin has the potential to be used for ordinary commerce as opposed to exclusively as a speculative investment.
- Kryptokit makes paying with Bitcoin simple. Kryptokit is an in-browser Bitcoin wallet that automatically scans Web pages for Bitcoin payment addresses and fills in the information required for the purchase so all a user has to do is click to confirm. It’s akin to one-click shopping on Amazon, except with Bitcoin.
In other news…
LEGACY FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES RESIST IMPROVING PAYMENTS SYSTEM. Reuters’ Felix Salmon has a great post on how the big players in the antiqued payments system are resisting services that could easily be offered, such as instant, inexpensive fund transfers. The Federal Reserve wants financial services companies to improve the U.S. payments system, but the companies are resisting because they believe they will lose revenue. This has implications for mobile payments startups as well. These companies will need to partner with legacy financial service providers and convince them to integrate new business models, otherwise these new players risk being shut out altogether. (Reuters)
SMALL BUSINESSES ARE WILLING TO SWITCH BANKS FOR BETTER MOBILE BANKING. Two-thirds of small business owners say that they would switch banks if it meant better mobile banking services. This is yet another indication that retail banks that wish to stay relevant to their customers need to make themselves mobile friendly. (American Banker)
MOBILE COMMERCE PROJECTED TO GROW TO $US707 BILLION. Mobile commerce will grow from $US182 billion last year to $US707 billion by 2018, according to Juniper Research. By 2018, the research firm expects mobile commerce to reach 30% of retail e-commerce. (Juniper)
PIKAPAY LETS YOU SEND BITCOIN THROUGH TWITTER. PikaPay, a Bitcoin wallet, allows users to send and receive bitcoins using Twitter IDs. Users can simply enter the amount of bitcoins they would like to transfer as well as the Twitter ID of the person to whom they would like to make a payment and the service will process the transaction in 10 seconds or less. (Payments Source)
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ALIBABA BANS BITCOIN. China’s equivalent of Amazon has reportedly banned Bitcoin. The news comes on the heels of the Chinese government’s crack down on Bitcoin exchanges, which allow users to move their money from RMB to Bitcoin and vice versa. (Business Insider)
NETFLIX’S HEAD OF GLOBAL PAYMENTS LEAVES FOR AYDEN. Kamran Zaki will leave his role as Head of Global Payments at Netflix to join Adyen as President. Adyen is an international payments provider whose clients include KLM Airlines, TomTom, Evernote, and, Indiegogo. (Sparkpr)
CHINA’S ANSWER TO TWITTER RELEASES A MOBILE PAYMENTS FEATURE. The new feature from Sina Weibo allows users to pay for any items that are displayed as links or shares on the company’s microblogging platform. Mobile payments is the latest front on which the big microblogging, messaging, and social networks in China are competing. (Tech In Asia)
A NEW APP LETS YOU BUY DRINKS WITHOUT TAKING OUT YOUR WALLET. WillCall, a company that helps users find concert tickets at the last minute, is releasing a new app called BarTab that allows users to order and pay for drinks using their mobile devices. The app uses Bluetooth LE to transmit payment information to the bartender and then purchases are confirmed with a user’s photo that appears on the merchant’s point of sale. (The Next Web)
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