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.
UPGRADING TO CHIP AND PIN CARDS CARRIES A HEFTY PRICE TAG FOR TARGET. Upgrading Target’s systems to the EMV or “chip card” standard would cost $US100 million, according to John J. Mulligan, Target executive vice president and chief financial officer. Mulligan made his statement before a Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Card networks are putting a lot of pressure on retailers to adopt the EMV standard for their point-of-sale register system in the wake of the Target data breach, but it’s not clear that the standard would fix the problem. While the EMV standard is generally more secure than magnetic stripe payment cards and makes it nearly impossible for data thieves to clone payment cards, sensitive information is still transferred in the transaction process, and still has the potential to be compromised. If data is compromised it can still be used for transactions where the card isn’t physically present, such as those that take place on e-commerce platforms. There are solutions for this as well, but they require adding another level of technology that could be even more expensive for retailers. (Senate.gov)
The Senate breach investigation is expanding. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Senator Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.V.) sent letters to three retailers indicating the expansion of their investigation into corporate data security practices beyond Target. The letters (linked below) requested briefings from Marissa Mayer, CEO Yahoo; Bruce White, CEO White Lodging Services; and Carl Rubin, CEO Michaels Stores. Each of the mentioned corporations recently suffered data breaches. (Senate.gov)
SPEAKING OF RETAILERS. Chipotle is about to spend $US10 million to bring mobile payments to its customers in addition to other technology upgrades, according to the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. “We at this point don’t think it’s going to require new POS. There is a device we will need to add that’s not very expensive, it’s a matter of 100s of dollars per restaurant not 1000s or 10,000s.” says Steve Ells, Co-Chief Executive Officer. Ells goes on to say that while they are not sure what technology they are going to implement, their goal is to speed-up checkout lines. If we had to bet we’d put our money on Chipotle’s new mobile payments system using Bluetooth LE beacons, which we covered in a recent report. (Chipotle)
XOOM ACQUIRES BLUEKITE. Digital money transfer services Xoom announced yesterday that it acquired Bluekite for $US15 million. Guatemala City-based Bluekite provides cross border bill payment technology. San Francisco-based Xoom offers money transfer services in 31 countries, has over 1 million active customers, and processed over $US5.5 billion in money transfers over the last year. (Xoom)
HERE COMES AUTOMATED GAS PUMP PAYMENTS. Cashless payments company On Track Innovations (OTI) is simplifying the fueling process for consumers. The company uses “Moon Tags” which are installed on the fuel intake of vehicles. When a consumer inserts a fuel pump into the fuel tank of a vehicle at a participating gas station, the Moon Tag establishes a connection that automates payment once fueling is completed. The consumer doesn’t need to swipe a payment card at the pump or in the the gas station. OTI already provides a automated fuel payment service for commercial fleets called EasyFuel Plus. (Finextra via OTI)
NOT TOO MANY MERCHANTS ARE ACCEPTING CONTACTLESS MOBILE PAYMENTS. Only 7% of U.S. merchants said they had the technology to accept payments which are transacted by scanning a smartphone at a point-of-sale, according to a new study by Lexis Nexis and Javelin Strategy Research. While the number is unimpressive it grew to 7% from 0% in 2013. (Lexis Nexis)
NOW YOU CAN USE YOUR HEARTBEAT TO AUTHENTICATE YOUR BITCOIN WALLET. Toronto-based Bionym is developing a smart bracelet called Nymi that can be used to authenticate a user’s devices by sensing the user’s unique heartbeat. Yesterday the company announced that Nymi could also be used to authenticate a user’s Bitcoin wallet. One potential danger in using Bitcoin is that if someone gains access to your Bitcoin wallet and spends your bitcoins, it is virtually impossible to recover them, so adding a level of biometric security isn’t a bad idea. (Yahoo Finance via Bionym)
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