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.
PAYPAL MAKES ANOTHER MOBILE PLAY: PayPal’s acquisition of StackMob, a company that helps software developers build and maintain apps, is a concrete sign that the company is attempting to become more developer- and mobile-friendly. The news broke yesterday, and PayPal posted a note to a company blog.
With Stackmob, the post said, “we’ll move even faster in creating, testing and deploying products that aim to transform payments for customers around the world.”
Just a week ago, PayPal President David Marcus had signaled in press interviews that the company was going to double-down on mobile.
WHERE STACKMOB COMES IN: One result of the Stackmob acquisition is that eBay’s PayPal could persuade app developers to use PayPal as their platform to take payments for users, for in-app purchases or commerce. PayPal has historically not been good at providing outside developers with the tools that might help them easily integrate PayPal-powered features into their apps. (PayPal)
OTHER SIGNS OF PAYPAL’S ONLINE AND OFFLINE EXPANSION: News of the StackMob deal comes on the heels of PayPal’s Sept. 26 announcement of the acquisition of Braintree, a payments company that specialises in providing transaction-processing technology for the likes of Uber and Airbnb. PayPal has reportedly canned its archaic mobile payments software and adopted Braintree’s superior mobile-first platform.
PayPal has likewise stepped up its game in the world of offline payments. The company recently announced a service called PayPal Beacon which will allow consumers to pay for merchandise before they enter bricks-and-mortar locations, allowing them to bypass long retail lines. PayPal has also gotten into large retailers like Home Depot, which allow customers to pay with a PayPal PIN and their phone number at registers. (PayPal)
WITH REPORTED DEAL FOR GOPAGO, AMAZON IS GUNNING FOR PAYPAL: The founders of San Francisco-based GoPago are telling Italian media that they have sold their payments app GoPago to Amazon. GoPago includes a consumer-side mobile wallet app, and cloud-based point-of-sale software for merchants. Business Insider’s Julie Bort spoke to a GoPago merchant who told her the deal had indeed happened and the GoPago development team was let go.
If the reports are true, then it’s becoming increasingly clear that Amazon’s goal is to challenge eBay’s PayPal and put its imprint on the payments ecosystem.
The first indicator came back back in October when Amazon launched “Log In and Pay with Amazon.” The service allows consumers to make purchases from other e-commerce websites using their Amazon accounts, just like they can with their PayPal account. We expect more payments news from Amazon soon. (Business Insider)
In other news …
Starbucks is expecting record breaking gift card sales this Thursday. On the Thursday before Christmas last year, the company sold more than 2 million cards in North America or 1500 cards per minute. The announcement may mean a surge in Starbucks mobile app payments as well since gift cards can be and often are loaded onto the mobile app. (Starbucks)
Londoners love contactless card payments: Since the service was announced in December of last year, Londoners have used their credit and debit cards to make contactless payments for 6.5 million journeys on London’s public bus system. Prior to the service, people who wanted to ride the bus had to buy an Oyster transport card or pay a higher fare in cash. The service will be rolled out for London’s overground and underground transport as well next year. (Transport For London)
WELCOME TO PAYMENTS INSIGHTS. This is the first edition of our 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.
Sage announced that it is providing mobile card readers to 180 Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops. The card readers enable scouts to accept credit and debit card payments when selling merchandise like popcorn or wreaths for fundraisers. (Sage)
Mobile Embrace has signed a deal with Singaporean telecom Singtel to offer direct carrier billing, according to the Australian. The deal will allow Mobile Embrace to provide direct carrier billing services to Singtels customers in Singapore, but the company hopes to expand into Singtel’s Asian markets in the future. (The Australian)
Facebook’s charity: The newly announced “Donate Now” button aims to help people donate to nonprofits. The company is also partnering with PayPal, Braintree, and Stripe to offer an autocomplete billing solution called “Autofill With Facebook,” according to AllThingsD. Autofill with Facebook will need people to enter their credit cards in order to catch on. (Facebook)
Thought QR codes were dead? WeChat is using them so effectively for mobile payments that Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, is taking measures to thwart the company’s success. (PandoDaily)
Commonwealth Bank of Australia customers who own a Samsung Galaxy Gear S4 can now use their devices to make smartphone-powered payments wherever MasterCard PayPass points-of-sale are available. Commonwealth Bank is the largest bank in Australia. (Commonwealth Bank Of Australia)
The government of Norway has defined Bitcoin as a taxable asset, rather than a conventional currency. The news comes in wake of China banning financial institutions from using the currency, the Thai government making the use of the cryptocurrency illegal. (The Verge)
What subscribers are reading on BI Intelligence …
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.