Mobile payments

Square officially ends its New York taxi pilot

Square’s test of mobile payments in New York taxis has officially come to an end. The startup is terminating its memorandum of understanding with the city because it said it wants to pursue a different hardware and software combination.

Square launches web directory to find local merchants

Square is launching a web-based directory of merchants who take Square and Pay with Square payments. The service is limited for now but shows how Square can be a better resource for its merchants and better local discovery tool for consumers.

Groupon rolls out its own Square competitor

Groupon has joined the mobile payment race with Groupon Payments, which provides a mobile payment service similar to Square. It’s part of a larger effort to build up its merchants services tool and create a new business outside of daily deals.

Square goes big: raises $200M at $3.25B valuation

Square is making it official: it has raised $200 million as part of its Series D round including $25 million from Starbucks. The money will help the company to grow as it fends off more challenges from competitors and tries to expand internationally.

LevelUp hedges its bets, supports NFC payments

LevelUp is showing NFC some love by replacing its existing payment docks with NFC-enabled hardware. Now instead of just paying by QR code, LevelUp users can initiate payments with a tap of their phone.

NFC may not have a home in next iPhone

NFC in the iPhone may have to wait another year. Anandtech is concluding that the next iPhone, if it comes with a metal backing, will not be able to support an NFC antenna.

No swiping fees: Square offers merchants a monthly fee option

Mobile payment startup Square is giving small businesses an option to pay a monthly transaction fee of $275 instead of paying $2.75 per card swipe. That will save money for businesses who do more volume and will give them more predictability about their costs.

AuthenTec: another piece of an Apple mobile payments plan?

Apple’s intent to acquire AuthenTec is another possible clue, in addition to its Passbook software coming this fall, and its experience running one of the most successful e-commerce sites on the planet, as to what Apple might be working on in the area of mobile payments.

NFC hardware vendor ViVOtech selling off reader business

UPDATED: NFC reader and software maker ViVOtech is selling off its reader business as it restructures and focuses on software. The company, which has raised $96 million to date, may have burned through too much cash waiting for NFC payments to materialize.

PayPal buys credit card scanner

PayPal liked so much, it not only used the startup to help it capture credit card images for its PayPal Here product, it is now buying the San Francisco startup. The team will help PayPal build out its digital wallet.

LevelUp declares payment war, kills interchange fee for merchants

LevelUp, a Boston-based loyalty and payment startup, is laying down the gauntlet to other payment competitors by doing away with processing fees forever in what it calls a bid to achieve “Interchange Zero.” It will only make money from selling offers and loyalty services.

Square addresses #1 request: better security for multiple workers

Mobile payment startup Square is taking on its most requested feature: unique log-ins for multiple workers. Now, the Square Card Reader app will offer unique log-ins for up to 50 employees, so a manager can have them log-in separately without getting access to the business account.

IPhone may be ready to give NFC the boost it needs

Near field communication, the wireless technology that’s forever been poised to break out, may finally get the big push it needs. Code pulled from two iPhone prototypes suggest that upcoming iPhones will have NFC controllers connected to the power management unit, according to a new report.

Square gets into the loyalty game with digital punch cards

Mobile payment start-up Square is working to fill out its menu of services and today it’s revealing new loyalty, inventory, analytics and discovery tools for Square Register and Pay with Square, helping Square appeal to a wider number of merchants.

PayNearMe launches a mobile cash payment system

PayNearMe, a cash payment system that lets users pay for online purchases, bills and bus tickets at 7-Eleven stores, is now offering a fully mobile payment option. Users who don’t have a card can complete their purchases without having to print out anything.

U.S.’s first smartphone rail ticketing service headed for Boston

Boston rail commuters will soon have the ability to use their smartphones to buy and display their train tickets. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will launch the U.S.’s first smartphone rail ticketing system this fall through a partnership with London-based Masabi.

Paying just one part of the mobile payments puzzle

What is it going to take for mobile payments to finally register in the mind of the consumer? Maybe it’s time to think about mobile shopping rather than mobile payments, panelists argued Tuesday at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit.

Square to launch revamped payments app, Android support

While Square has been known for its credit card reading dongle, the company is showing even more attention to its payment app, which is being relaunched today as Pay with Square. The mobile wallet app holds the future for Square and its bid to remake payments.

Venmo opens its P2P mobile payment service to the public

Venmo first popped up two years as an emerging mobile payment start-up, helping users pay each other through text messages. Now, after two years of testing and tinkering, the once private beta service is open to the public though it faces a lot more competition now.

What is the next industry Apple can disrupt? Banking!

A new survey of consumers in the U.K. and the U.S. found that one in 10 people would consider banking with Apple, and 43 percent of existing Apple users would. Banking would be a stretch for Apple though a mobile payments service could be possible.

How PayPal Here could lay the hurt on Square and others

PayPal Here, the payment giant’s new Square-like payment system, is a solid competitor but won’t take down Square immediately. But with PayPal’s assets and larger strategy to win over real-world payments, it’s got a shot to overtake its rivals. That is if it can execute.

Boku gets $35M in new VC funds to pursue offline payments

Boku, which recently introduced a white label platform called Boku Accounts with Mastercard that allows operators to offer in-store mobile payment services, has received $35 million in new funding from New Enterprise Associates and Telefonica Digital, to help it go after offline payments.

PayPal’s Square rival: high-end design, lower fees

Bloomberg is confirming our earlier report on PayPal’s plans to announce a Square-like mobile card reader. The new reader will be a blue triangle device designed by Yves Behar. And PayPal will charge a fee of 2.7 percent on transactions, undercutting Square.

Sources: PayPal to launch Square competitor

PayPal’s plans to announce a solution for small businesses at an event this Thursday includes a mobile payment dongle that would compete against Square and others, according to sources we’ve talked to. The dongle will allow small business owners to process credit card swipes.

Zipmark’s payment system looks to retire the checkbook

Zipmark, which leverages the existing check-processing infrastructure to create a digital payment system, is opening up its platform to developers. It’s also poised to release an iPhone app next month, enabling consumers to pay bills and make transactions from their phone.

Obama campaign deploys Square for mobile fundraising

Square, the mobile payment acceptance tool, has gotten a big endorsement from the merchant in chief. The Obama re-election campaign said today it is equipping staff, field organizers and volunteers with Square hardware to allow them to process campaign donations from their mobile phone.

Credit card scanner launches its own payment app last year introduced its “visual swipe” technology that allowed developers to accept credit card payments by taking a picture of a card. Now, the start-up is launching a new consumer payment app for iOS and Android that allows people to receive payments using’s technology.

RIM hopes content sharing can be NFC’s gateway drug

What consumers need to understand and embrace NFC is a gateway drug. And that is not likely to be mobile payments, said Andrew Bocking, Vice President, Handheld Software Product Management at RIM. It’s more likely to be personal content sharing through NFC-enabled phones.

Dwolla gives immediate access to cash with Instant feature

Dwolla, an alternative payment system built off cash networks, is taking the next step forward by offering a new feature called Instant, which addresses one of the lingering pain points in the system: the three to five day delay in accessing cash for users.

Zipmark raises $2M for check-based payment system

Zipmark, a New York start-up that recently graduated from the FinTech Innovation Lab, has raised $2 million to build out its alternative mobile payment system. Zipmark relies on the existing check-processing infrastructure to create a payment system that is fast, simple and cheap for users.

Boom launches mobile money transfers for unbanked

Boom, the mobile personal payment and banking service announced in May, is now open, bringing its low-cost mobile alternative to cash remittance services. The service, which targets unbanked workers who often send money home, is launching in the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti.

With Card Case, Square launches hands free payments on iPhone

Square is making its Card Case wallet app hands-free, enabling users to walk into a store and pay without ever pulling out their smartphone. They just say their name and order. The company is showing it wants to perfect the entire buying process, not just payments.

NFC chipmaker ships 10M units to date in 2011

NFC chip maker Inside Secure said it’s shipped 10 million NFC solutions so far this year to a number of manufacturers who are building contactless support into a variety of devices. That far off dream of NFC is finally becoming a reality.

LevelUp adds mobile payments for renewed local deals push

LevelUp, the daily deal play from location-based service SCVNGR, is making another go of it, this time with a credit-based structure that utilizes a new mobile payment system built by SCVNGR. The service is now expanding beyond Boston and Philadelphia to New York and San Francisco.

Square readies for battle with PayPal

Square said today it’s up to $2 billion in annual payments processed and has activated 800,000 merchants for its payment system, up from half a million in May. And it’s made a key change in the way it process payments to appeal to larger merchants.’s launches visual credit card swipe tech on Android, a start-up that launched a mobile credit card scanning tool in June, is seeing a strong amount of developer support with 80 iOS apps using its tech to improve mobile payments and transactions. Now, the company is bringing the technology to Android.

Dreams of mobile payments lead telco to try banking

Canadian carrier Rogers has filed to become a bank under Canada’s Federal Bank Act, which will allow it to pursue more mobile payments services and a “niche credit card opportunity” for consumers. Expect more carriers to go the same route as the mobile payment opportunity explodes.

GigaOM’s Mobile Payments 25

This year, much of the promise of mobile payments seems like it is finally coming together. GigaOM chose 25 mobile payments companies who are exerting the most influence in the mobile payment space, showing where it is and where it’s going.

Card swipe dongle or NFC? Erply chooses both

Erply, a point of sale and inventory software provider from Estonia, is looking to jump into the ring with Square and Verifone by offering an iPad payment dongle that will process credit card swipes similar to Square but also handle NFC payments.

iPhone owners most open to mobile payments

For companies trying to convince customers that mobile payments are a viable alternative to options like cash and credit cards, the iPhone could be key. A new mobile device study reveals that iPhone owners are the most open to the prospect of paying with their devices.

Consumers need to be sold on benefits of mobile payments

The way people have been talking about near field communication, digital wallets and carrier billing, you’d think consumers were ready to embrace mobile payments. But Consumer Reports said consumers may not be as excited about paying for goods with their phones, nor should they be.

How carriers can innovate in the superphone era

Carriers are struggling to address the gap between mobile data usage and revenues even as their networks approach capacity. But those willing to embrace new business models and innovative services still have a chance to thrive in the era of the superphone.

PayPal unveils NFC Android-to-Android payments

PayPal today unveiled a new peer-to-peer payment functionality that allows Android users to pay each other by tapping two near field communication (NFC)-enabled devices together. The feature shows how PayPal is gearing up for NFC as part of its larger push on mobile payments.

ViVOtech gets $24 million as NFC momentum picks up

ViVOtech, an end-to-end provider of near field communication hardware and software, has raised $24 million in a Series C round of funding. The funding highlights the growing momentum behind NFC, which is finally coming together as a rising mobile payment and communications platform.

PayPal serves up mobile payments with Pizza Express

Starting today, diners at all 370 of the U.K.’s Pizza Express restaurants will be able to use the chain’s iPhone app to pay for their meals at the table via PayPal in “less than a minute.” No wait-staff intervention needed.

Verizon users can now buy stuff with their phone numbers

Verizon Wireless is tapping Payfone, an emerging mobile payment platform, to offer its customers a way to pay for online items via their cell phone bill. The deal illustrates the kind of scale Payfone is putting together with its new payment service.

Keith Rabois: Square Will Be Way More Valuable Than PayPal

Even with the rising competition from heavyweights Google and PayPal, Square isn’t sweating the added competition. I talked Square COO Keith Rabois about the increasingly busy mobile payments space, how Square will fare over time and the challenges facing both Google and PayPal.

Google Could Launch Mobile Payment Trials This Week

Google is reportedly planning to jump-start mobile payments with a press event this Thursday, followed by a trial service in five major U.S. cities. Sprint’s Nexus S appears to be the handset of choice; it contains a near field communications chip that works with payment terminals.

Watch and Learn US; the UK Shows Mobile Payments Done Right

As the U.S. continues to wrangle over wireless mobile payment solutions using NFC chips, the U.K. is moving forward. Today, Orange UK launched QuickTap, a way to pay for purchases at 50,000 retail locations. The right incentives, such as cash back, should help spur consumer adoption.

Hands On With PayPal Check Scanning for Android

Android owners have one less reason to drive to the bank now that PayPal has added check scanning to its software for handsets running Android 2.1 or higher. I ran through the process to deposit a check over 3G and found it to be relatively simple.

Boom Brings Mobile Personal Payments to Unbanked

Boom, a new mobile remittance service, aims to undercut existing money wire services like Western Union with a solution that is designed to be cheaper, more flexible and built with mobile users in mind. It’s tapping the huge market for unbanked consumers.

Payment Wars: Corduro Takes on Square, PayPal

Corduro, a Google Ventures backed start-up, is hoping to provide a potent challenge to mobile payment providers like PayPal and Square as well as back-end payment processors and customer relations software providers with its new cloud payment platform.

Tabbedout Finalizes $5.7M Round for Restaurant Bill Pay

Tabbedout, an innovative Austin, Texas start-up that is tackling the problem of closing out bills at restaurants and bars, said it has completed its Series A round with an additional $3.7 million, raising the total to $5.75 million for the round

1 in 5 Smartphones Will Have NFC by 2014

The pieces are falling into place for near field communications to take off over the next few years, according to a new forecast from Juniper Research, which estimated 1 in 5 smartphones will support the wireless technology by 2014 with 300 million NFC-capable devices available.

AisleBuyer Makes Mobile Card Charging Picture Perfect

AisleBuyer, a Boston start-up, is introducing a new photo card capture technology in the coming months that allows merchants and small businesses to process a payment just by taking a picture of the front of credit or debit card with a smartphone.

NFC May Depend on Merchants Embracing Mobile Marketing

For many merchants, the idea of NFC as a credit card replacement isn’t that much of an incentive, said Vivotech CEO Mike Mullagh. The real reason to get onboard with NFC is the promise of more one-to-one mobile marketing through NFC-enabled smartphones.

The 4-Way Battle to Control Your Digital Wallet

Someday we’ll all be waving our phones over payment processing terminals to pay for goods but it’s going to take time yet. Four different groups are competing to profit from wireless transactions that use NFC chips. According to MasterCard, this is still a multi-year story.

iPhone 5: To NFC or Not to NFC?

Apple’s smartphone competitors almost certainly will include NFC in devices in 2011. The iPhone 5 will reportedly pass on the tech according to a report from earlier this week, but a new source says it could get it after all. Which is it?

Verifone: All New Point of Sale Terminals Will Get NFC

One major obstacle for NFC technology has been merchant adoption of NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminals. Well, Verifone is reportedly looking to shelve that concern, saying it will include the technology as a standard offering in all of its new payment terminals.

Square Drops Transaction Fee as Payment Battle Heats Up

In a shot across the bow of Intuit and Verifone, mobile payment startup Square is dropping the transaction fees it charges businesses. It will now rely solely on a 2.75 percent flat fee and will waive the 15 cent per transaction fee that it previously charged.

BilltoMobile Quietly Emerges As Mobile Payment Powerhouse

A year ago, few people in the U.S. had ever heard of BilltoMobile, a direct carrier billing company. But the San Jose company is fast emerging as a leader in the mobile payments space with direct billing arrangements with Verizon and AT&T and now Sprint.

Apple Hiring NFC & Mobile Payment Personnel

No sooner do rumors start flying about Apple’s plans for NFC and mobile payments systems in future devices than job listings appear to back up the claim. Apple is now advertising for three jobs, including one engineer position and two global mobile payment platform managers.

PayPal’s Mobile Honcho Osama Bedier Jumps to Google

PayPal’s Osama Bedier, vice president of platform, mobile, and new ventures is leaving to join Google in a similar position, according to sources close to the situation. Bedier, one of PayPal’s longest-serving employees, will be integral in helping Google ramp up its mobile payment efforts.

Square Adds $27.5 Million to Play With the Big Boys

Square, the mobile payment start-up co-built by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has taken on $27.5 million in new funding to help it compete in the increasingly competitive mobile payments market. The latest funding comes from Sequoia Capital, giving the start-up a reported valuation of $240 million

AisleBuyer Says Forget the Check-In, We’ll Help You Check Out

AisleBuyer lets users purchase a product in-store, allowing them to walk out with their item instead of standing in a check-out line. The app brings some of the ease of use of online shopping like quick checkouts and information with tactile, hands-on benefits of in-store shopping.

Can a Carrier Consortium Make Mobile Payments Work?

AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile said they are banding together to create a new mobile commerce network called Isis that utilizes near field communications. The new venture raises questions about how well Isis will compete, and whether it will help kick-start the NFC payments market.

PayPal Bets Its Future on Mobile

Today at its annual developer conference, Innovate 2010, PayPal will start outlining its plans to become a major force in the world of mobile payments. From new apps to new payment offerings for digital subscriptions, PayPal wants to become the third option to Google and Apple.

Money Continues To Chase Money on Mobiles

With the worldwide mobile payments market expected to grow to $634 billion by 2014, a lot of money is being poured into mobile payment startups. If that wasn’t enough, it looks like carriers are teaming up to start a mobile payment company of their own.

AT&T Seeks a Piece of the $633B Mobile Payment Pie

For a monthly fee, AT&T can now turn any of its smartphones into mobile payment processors for credit or debit card transactions. Unlike competitors in this space, AT&T’s solution — from Apriva — heavily leverages the browser, allowing for support across multiple devices and platforms.

PayPal Cashing In On Mobile Commerce with Express Checkout

The mobile payment business is expected to total $633 million by 2014 but PayPal wants a bigger piece of the payment pie now. Today, the company launched PayPal Mobile Express Checkout for e-tailers to offer a fast and safe seamless payment process on iPhone and Android.


A Mobile Payments Glossary

Set to be worth $633.4 billion by 2014, mobile payments are finally finding their stride — but it’s not just one stride. Here’s your guide to the most promising emerging options in the space — carrier billing, mobile wallets, point of sale, mobile banking, in-app purchases and peer-to-peer transfers.

Mobile Payments: A Guide to the Growing Market in Your Pocket

After many years of promise, mobile payments are finally finding their stride — but it’s not just one stride. In writing about the space, I admit I’ve been confused many times by what people actually mean when they say “mobile payments.” So here’s a glossary.

Mobile Payments to Reach $633B by 2014

The worldwide market for global payments will grow to $633.4 billion by 2014, up from $68.7 billion in 2009, according to a new report by Generator Research. Meanwhile, mobile payment users will grow 600 percent, to 490 million in 2014 from 81.3 million last year.

Qualcomm's Mobile Payment Strategy: Fix the "Costanza Wallet"

While Qualcomm for many is synonymous with wireless, the company acquired Atlanta-based mobile banking startup Firethorn two years ago with an eye to also becoming a major player in the mobile payment space — and in the process, fix the so-called “Costanza wallet.”

ReDux Herring?

Its more like dead fish walking. I am not sure if any of the new Tech publications have a chance in the…