Welcome to our new Payments Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital payments industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
DUNKIN’ DOUGHNUTS TO RIVAL STARBUCKS WITH NEW MOBILE APP STRATEGY. We recently reported on the continued success of Starbucks’s mobile payment and loyalty app, which is now used by 10 million Starbucks customers for an average of 5 million transactions a week.
Starbucks consumers’ enthusiastic embrace of the Starbucks app as a method of payment is largely a function of the company’s fantastically loyal customers. In addition, app rewards, including free drinks on birthdays, likely contribute to even greater app usage.
Starbucks’s success has not been lost on its competitor Dunkin’ Doughnuts. The company launched a limited release of a similar mobile app in 2012. The company also recently announced a new loyalty program, DD Perks, that will give Dunkin’ Doughnuts customers rewards like free coffee after a number of purchases. And starting next month, the DD Perks program will be fully integrated into the Dunkin’ Doughnuts app nationally.
The performance of the Dunkin’ Doughnuts app will provide some much needed evidence of whether Starbucks’s success with its mobile payment app is a fluke or if the same principles can be applied to mobile wallets across other, similar retailers. We think that the retail chains with the greatest potential for launching a successful mobile payment app share three characteristics: the retailer offers products that are purchased on a habitual basis, like coffee or gas, sees high customer loyalty, and has convenient locations. (Mobile Commerce Daily)
PAYPAL EXECUTIVE SIGNS ON TO MOBILE PAYMENT STARTUP. After 15 years in various financial positions at PayPal, Mike Liberatore is moving on to work as the CFO of mobile payments startup Clinkle. Clinkle hasn’t launched its mobile payments platform yet, but the company did receive over $US25 million in funding in June of 2013, according to TechCrunch. On the other hand, Clinkle is also reported to have cut its staff by a quarter back in December, for reasons that are still unclear. We’ll keep you up on the details of this much-hyped, but mysterious startup as they solidify. (TechCrunch)
THE SQUARE-AUSTRALIA LAUNCH RUMOUR. Square is beginning early stage planning for a move into the Australian market, according to Australian Financial Review. So far, the company has not said anything official other than that it is looking into the market. Further evidence that the rumour might have legs came when Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Square’s San Francisco offices earlier this month. During the trip Turnbull tweeted a photo with Square Co-Founder Jack Dorsey that alluded to “disruptive innovation coming soon to Aus.” (The Australian Financial Review)
WOULD-BE STRIPE OF DIRECT DEBIT RAISES AN ADDITIONAL $US7 MILLION. GoCardless wants to make it easier for merchants to accept payments directly from bank accounts primarily for transactions involving recurring payments. The company announced $US7 million in Series B funding that will go towards new staff and acquiring enterprise clients. The funding round was led by Balderton, which is a new investor. Accel Partners and Passion Capital participated in the round as well; both firms made early investments in the company. The new funding brings GoCardless’s total funding to $US12 million. GoCardless’s strategy is to make integrating their service easily adaptable for recurring-payments businesses, similar to what Stripe has done with card payments. (TechCrunch)
THE NEW YORK BITCOIN HEARINGS. Yesterday was the first of two days of Bitcoin hearings at New York’s Department of Financial Services. The hearing included a number of Bitcoin experts including Lightspead Ventures Partner Jeremy Liew, Second Market CEO Barry Silbert, and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The hearing covered regulatory concerns associated with Bitcoin, including how to categorize Bitcoin, how it should be taxed, and its potential uses for criminal activities. Benjamin Lawsky, the state’s superintendent of financial services, says that the state will have regulatory proposals for Bitcoin within the year. (New York Department Of Financial Services)
CHARLIE SHREM RESIGNS FROM THE BITCOIN FOUNDATION’S BOARD. Yesterday, we reported on Monday’s indictment of BitInstant CEO and former Bitcoin Foundation Vice Chairman Charlie Shrem on money laundering charges. Yesterday, Shrem resigned from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a Bitcoin advocacy group. (Payments Source)
GLOBAL PAYOUT PARTNERS WITH CHINA UNIONPAY. California-based Global Payout, an electronic payments company, today announced that its clients will now be able to transfer money to China UnionPay cardholders and Chinese bank accounts. According to the press release, Global Payout will act as a payments gateway for businesses that want to make payments to employees with Chinese bank accounts. Global Payout has partnered with American Electronic Payments Solutions to process these transactions. China UnionPay is the only card network in China and the second-largest card network in the world. (Wall Street Journal)
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