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.
GOOGLE IS TRANSFORMING PAYMENT CARD ACTIVATION: The recently released Google Wallet Card is a plastic payment card which allows users to make purchases using their Google Wallet account at retail stores that do not accept contactless payments. The card allows users to pay in the same way that they would pay with a credit or debit card.
Google has added a layer to that service, that allows users to activate their cards using the Google Wallet app. This differs from the legacy system in which payment cards are activated by calling in to an automated call center and entering card information.
The effort is aimed at simplifying the process by which Google Wallet Card users activate their cards. When a consumer signs up for the Google Wallet Card, the Google Wallet app will prompt the user to indicate whether the plastic card has arrived and if the user would like to activate the card.
RETAIL BANKS SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO IN-APP ACTIVATION: While the Google Wallet Card is about expanding the usefulness of Google Wallet, retail banks face a different problem. Unlike Google, they don’t have to worry about getting users to adopt their card services because they already control the majority of bank card transactions through co-branded credit and debit cards.
But they do have to worry about staying relevant to consumers in the face of new mobile banking and payment solutions. One route they are taking to stay competitive is to offer consumers banking and finance apps.
Google’s new activation system offers a model for how these banks could up app usage and improve customer service. Allowing users to activate their cards using the app has the potential to make life simpler for credit card users who prefer not to call a customer service number. On the flip side, it could also increase engagement with the apps themselves, encouraging a greater number of users to download the apps to activate their cards. (American Banker)
In other news…
Indian mobile carrier Bharti Airtel is expanding its Airtel Money services in Zambia. Customers will now be able to purchase insurance using their Airtel Money accounts. Customers in Zambia can already use the services to pay for airline tickets and utilities in addition to making peer-to-peer money transfers. Half a million transactions are made per month in the country already. The news is indicative of how telecoms are moving into payments in developing economies. (BizTechAfrica)
40-one per cent of Canadians will use their smartphones to make purchases in 2014, according to a report by Canadian telecom Rogers Communications — That’s up from 34% in 2013. (Mobile Payments Today)
In the UK, Barclays is going to offer a trial service that will allow customers to deposit checks using their smartphones. Up until now banks in the UK have been required to see physical checks in order to deposit them into customer’s accounts, but the UK government is considering legislation to allow for digital deposits. Barclays will be the first bank to provide a trial of the service. (Finextra)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We will finally realise that point of sale is irrelevant for mobile payments to take off and consumers will begin to adopt mobile wallets for uses other than paying at point of sale,” says Lifelock’s Mobile General Manager Wences Casares. (Forbes)
European mobile carrier Mobile Vikings announced that it would begin accepting Bitcoin for payments in late December. The company says that it has already received almost 100 payments in Bitcoin. (NewsBTC)
The consensus among three Indian mobile payment companies is that 2014 will be marked by a focus on the consumer experience as opposed to the merchant experience. (Medianama)
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.
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