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.
SQUARE EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH WHOLE FOODS. Yesterday, Square announced that it is extending its partnership with Whole Foods to provide the national grocery chain with in-store checkout hardware at select locations. Whole Foods has a number of in-store venues — juice bars and pizzerias for example — where customers might want to make a purchase without standing in the long general purchase grocery line. Square will provide Whole Foods with its point-of-sale solutions Square Register and Square Stand. Square Register is Square’s software product and Stand is the hardware stand that can mount an iPad for transaction purposes. The partnership is an indicator that Square may be successful in expanding its business beyond small- to medium-sized businesses. Seven Whole Foods locations already use Square Stand. (Square)
SQUARE AND STRIPE ARE MOVING TO EUROPE. Both payments start-ups want to duplicate the success they have had in the U.S. in other markets, particularly Europe. But success isn’t going to come easy. For one, Europe’s financial and data protection regulations differ from those in the U.S. and the size of the regulatory burden for the new companies remains unclear. In addition, there is already established competition from companies like iZettle, which is often referred to as “the Square of Europe.” “The U.S. is fundamentally a different market. You really need to have local expertise to succeed in Europe,” says Alston Zecha, co-founder of Payleven, a Berlin-based mobile payments start-up. (New York Times)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “If the retailers and banks would stop their dickering and push out chip and PIN, it wouldn’t stop the theft of credit card information, but it would make these types of breaches a lot less attractive,” said Brian Krebs of Krebs On Security speaking on the Target data breach.
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REVEL TEAMS-UP WITH PIZZA CHAIN. San Francisco-based Revel Systems provides iPad-based point-of-sale solutions. Yesterday, the company announced that it is teaming up with Dallas-based pizza chain Pizza Patrón. Pizza Patrón said that it selected Revel as a point-of-sale solution because of its analytics and business management capabilities, supporting our thesis that the future of payments is in value-added services rather than payment processing. Revel is currently live at 20 Pizza Patrón locations. (PR Newswire via Revel)
FORTUMO PARTNERS WITH SINGTEL TO EXPAND CARRIER BILLING IN SINGAPORE. Direct carrier billing platform provider Fortumo, which we recently profiled, announced yesterday that it is expanding it services in Singapore through mobile carrier SingTel. SingTel users will now be able to purchase digital goods by adding purchases directly to their mobile bills. The news comes on the heels of direct carrier billing platform provider Mopay announcing a similar partnership with SingTel earlier this month. Direct carrier billing companies aren’t often covered in the media, but they are making headway in the payments world. We’ll cover the topic in-depth in an upcoming report. (Fortumo)
ANOTHER BITCOIN EXCHANGE HALTS TRADING. On Monday, we reported on Japan-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox’s decision to halt withdrawals to external Bitcoin wallets. Yesterday, Bitstamp, a U.K.-based Bitcoin exchange, announced that it would halt withdrawals until a technical issue was resolved by Bitcoin’s core development team. Bitstamp said that no funds had been lost and no funds were at risk. (Bitstamp)
BITCOIN IS THE TARGET OF A MASSIVE DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACK. Someone or something is launching a giant attack on the Bitcoin network, according to Andreas Antonopoulos, chief security officer of Blockchain.info. The attack is mainly affecting companies that have built software on top of the core Bitcoin software and may be the reason that exchanges have been temporarily halting withdrawals. Antonopoulos expects that the issue will be resolved and withdrawals will resume on the affected exchanges by Friday. (Coindesk)
THE AUDACITY OF BITCOIN. J.P. Morgan released a decidedly negative research note yesterday on Bitcoin, arguing that Bitcoin is “audacious” in that foreign exchange traders rarely welcome new currencies, much less a stateless, digital currency. Specially, the report noted that “Bitcoin looks like an innovation worth limiting exposure to.” For anyone interested in the digital payments space, the note is worth a read. (Zerohedge via J.P. Morgan)
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