What is Coin?

Shannon Andrade

December 12, 2013

The payment space continues to buzz with new, simplified electronic payment platforms and applications. Most of the newer applications are digital (mobile) wallets – application based “wallets” that reside on your smartphone and allow consumers to redeem offers or pay with their credit cards using nothing more than their smartphones. Coin is different. Coin aggregates all of your current credit and debit cards into one digital card.  Coin aims to simplify consumers’ physical wallet and give everyone the convenience of choice without the typical wallet clutter. Once someone registers their Coin, they can add all of their credit and debit cards to their account. All you need to do is set Coin to the account you want and hand it to the merchant, who will swipe it like any ordinary card...

Leveraging the Impact of Smartphones on the In-Store Shopping Experience

Shannon Andrade

September 19, 2013

If you own a brick and mortar retail business and cringe whenever you see customers wielding smartphones, you might want to rethink things a bit. We've all heard horror stories about showrooming - people visiting local businesses, scoping out the merchandise and then using their smartphones to find the same items online for a lower price. As a result of the media attention surrounding showrooming and the potential negative impact in in-store retail purchases, many merchants have a negative view of consumer smartphone use in-store. As recently as March a store in Australia received a lot of media attention for charging customers a $5 ‘looking fee’. But, a recent report from Google may just change many people’s minds. The report - "How In-Store Shoppers are Using Mobile Devices" -...

What is MCX?

Shannon Andrade

August 14, 2013

One of the many names buzzing in the payments space right now is MCX or Merchant Customer Exchange. MCX was originally announced in August 2012 – positioned as joint effort from major retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Lowe’s, CVS, Shell, Sunoco and others to develop and launch their own mobile application. This ‘universal’ commerce app would give consumers an easier way to combine their digital wallet, instant coupons, gift cards and loyalty points all in one mobile location.  Over the past year, as MCX gears up for its future launch, even more ‘big box’ retailers have been added including Kohl’s, Circle K, Gap, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Kmart. In total, MCX supporters/investors now include a group of more than 30 major retailers, operating over 90,000 retail outlets and...

What is Boku?

Shannon Andrade

July 23, 2013

If you are active in the world of online gaming, you’re probably familiar with Boku, the mobile payments company that uses direct carrier billing to power purchases of virtual and digital goods and services on the web and via mobile. The San Francisco based company launched in 2009 with the initial acquisition of Paymo and Mobilcash and has quickly expanded its global footprint to more than 68 countries and nearly four (4) billion customers worldwide. With Boku, payments are made through a mobile phone and billed through the wireless carrier. When presented with the opportunity to pay with Boku, consumers simply enter their mobile phone number and authenticate the purchase through a reply to a SMS message sent to the phone – the transaction is then complete. There is no requirement for a...

What is MasterCard PayPass?

Shannon Andrade

July 17, 2013

MasterCard® was an early entry in the world of contactless payments, originally launching PayPass™ in 2005 after a nine-month market trial that ended in 2003 and involved some 60 retailer locations and more than 16,000 cardholders. Over its first six years in general availability, PayPass continued to gain traction with a reported 92 million PayPass cards and devices issued and over 310,000 merchant acceptance points worldwide by late 2011. Leveraging contactless payments via a key fob or card, the company expanded its PayPass offerings in May 2012 to the PayPass Wallet, which expanded consumer options to include allowing users to create free accounts and pay for purchases on identified partner websites using the identity, credit card, and shipping information they’ve stored in their...

Why Merchants Need to Expand Beyond ‘Cash Only’

Shannon Andrade

July 11, 2013

Merchants that don’t accept any payment method besides cash (and check) are likely missing out on a significant amount of sales – and revenues – each month. And, those lost revenues could exceed tens of thousands of dollars for some. The cost of upgrading to accept credit and debit cards – and even mobile payments – may seem daunting, but the overall return far outweighs the initial investment.  The number of people who carry cash when they're shopping has reduced significantly in recent years. Huffington Post reports that a whopping 66 percent of all sales that are made in person are paid for with a credit card. Most people rely on their credit cards, and even people who carry cash on a regular basis would have the opportunity to make a larger purchase when a merchant accepts...

Understanding Interchange Rates

Shannon Andrade

July 10, 2013

Paying with cash is becoming a rarity. Customers today expect to have the option of paying via credit or debit and many will even leave a store or choose one merchant over another because they can pay with plastic as opposed to paper currency. And, with mobile payments on the horizon, merchants need to not only understand the opportunity, but also the associated costs of accepting credit and debit.  For many businesses, especially smaller merchants, the reticence to accept credit cards stems from the associated costs with accepting credit and debit cards from their customers. After all, it’s not free. One of the primary merchant expenses associated with credit and debit card acceptance are interchange fees. Usually these are fees that a merchant's acquirer or merchant services...

Mobile Payments – Where Do Merchants Start?

Shannon Andrade

July 2, 2013

According to a recent survey on mobile and payments from RSR Research, 44 percent of respondents report that their current primary form of payment accepted is credit card, but 20 percent expect that some form of digital payment, including mobile, will be the primary form of payment in just three (3) years. Starbucks launched their mobile payment application in January 2011, allowing customers to pay with their smartphones. Just two years later Starbucks reports that mobile payments account for 20 percent of all credit card transactions. And, while most merchants do not have the financial resources of Starbucks, mobile is not to be ignored. There’s no denying that a new wave of payment technologies is upon us. While most of the money being attributed to mobile payments today is consumers...

What is v.Me?

Shannon Andrade

June 19, 2013

Like many stakeholders in the payments ecosystem, Visa is just one of the major card brands broadening their product line to capitalize on the movements to online and mobile and expand their engagement opportunities with both merchants and consumers. In November 2012, with the support of over 50 financial institutions and more than 20 merchant partners including 1-800-Flowers.com, PacSun, Shoebuy.com and Buy.com, Visa introduced its v.Me digital wallet to the U.S.  For consumers, v.Me offers the ability to store any card, from any brand (Amex, Visa, MasterCard and Discover), through one service, or digital wallet. Currently limited to online purchases only, users – when offered v.Me as a checkout option – simply sign in with their email and password and confirm their purchase...

What is ShopKick?

Shannon Andrade

May 16, 2013

ShopKick, a mobile shopping app, was originally launched in August 2010. With its simple mission ‘to make shopping better’ the mobile app reached over one million consumer users in the first six months initially offering incentives or ‘kicks’ and scanned products when users visited one of five retailers/brands that were part of the initial launch: Macy’s, Best Buy, Sports Authority, American Eagle Outfitters and Simon Property Group. In October 2012, the company launched a significant redesign to the app, offering consumers more opportunities to earn ‘kicks’ and delivering two major new features – digital catalogues, or lookbooks, and saved product lists, which together fueled skyrocketing usage both from new users as well as a vast group of early adopters. The primary concept behind the...