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The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets


Payment News – June 11, 2012: Sprint, ISIS, Google Wallet, LevelUp

By Gary Merrett

Sprint Enters the Mobile Payment Race, Starts Own Mobile Wallet Service

U.S. mobile carrier Sprint is working on its own NFC-based mobile wallet service called “Touch”. It is noteworthy that Sprint was the first big mobile operator in the U.S. to support Google’s mobile payment solution Google Wallet while AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile enforced their own mobile wallet ISIS. It is unknown if Sprint will continue to support Google Wallet in the future. This could be a major drawback for Google as it seems unlikely that mobile phones will support more than one NFC-based mobile wallet service at the time. Read more…

Mobile Payment and Rewards Network LevelUp Raises $12M from Highland and Google Ventures

SCVNGR, creator of the mobile payment and reward app LevelUp raised $12 million in funding from Highland Capital Partners and Google Ventures (among others) to support the U.S.-wide expansion. Customers can use the LevelUp app to pay with their mobile phone by linking their credit or debit card to the app. The app generates a unique QR code that is scanned to pay and redeem offers at a participating store. LevelUp has been growing fast and is now available in in 8 U.S. cities with more than 3,000 participating merchants. Read more…


Google Wallet Stops Provisioning of Prepaid Cards After Security Flaw

By Martin Schuppelius

Google is suspending the provision of prepaid credit cards to its mobile wallet app after a security flaw was exposed last week. Osama Bedier, Vice President of Google Wallet and Payments said in a post on Google’s commerce blog: “…to address an issue that could have allowed unauthorized use of an existing prepaid card balance if someone recovered a lost phone without a screen lock, tonight we temporarily disabled provisioning of prepaid cards.”

Over the last week two potential vulnerabilities of Google Wallet have been exposed. First, security firm Zvelo found that the PIN for Google Wallet wasn’t stored in the secure element of the phone and thus could be revealed by a brute force attack on phones that are rooted (the user has system-level access). The second security issue is even more serious as it seems to be a flaw in the wallet’s design: after clearing all data and reconfiguring the Google Wallet app a unauthorized user can get access to the previously stored prepaid card balance.

The security flaws have received widespread coverage around the world and will certainly not help to increase the general adoption of NFC-based payment methods. Google addresses both issues, pointing out that “Google Wallet offers advantages over the plastic cards and folded wallets in use today”. Until the issues are fixed, the company discourages its users of rooting their phone and disables provisioning of prepaid cards.


Mobile Payment: The Big Picture

By Martin Schuppelius
The official NFC-Logo

Although they idea to pay with a mobile phone has been hyped since the late 1990s, only a few countries have successfully implemented such services. Over the last few years, some major players have entered the mobile payment space. Currently the focus of the buzz is on Near Field Communication (NFC)-based services that support close proximity mobile payment.

Mobile payment is being adopted all over the world in different ways. In this article we provide a brief overview on the mobile payments.

Broadly speaking, mobile payment refers to all kinds of financial transactions performed from or via a mobile device. There are four main types of mobile payment: carrier billing, mobile wallets, mobile point of sale and mobile banking. In addition, there are a couple of other mobile payment solutions such as the SMS-based p2p money transfer service M-Pesa in Africa and Starbuck’s proprietary mobile loyalty and payment app. Also there is a lot of talking these days how mobile wallets will replace physical wallets and mobile banking is going to change the way we bank.

Carrier billing

Carrier Billing Paymet Flow using the example of Cashlog

One of the easiest methods of paying using a mobile phone is payment via a mobile phone bill. It is a very competitive market and many companies such as Boku, Zong and Atlas offer worldwide mobile carrier billing services. In detail, carrier billing can be realized via different schemes: premium SMS text, premium rate numbers, mobile web (WAP) billing and direct carrier billing. Today, carrier billing is mostly used for micropayments and purchasing digital goods such as ringtones, wallpapers or virtual items in online games.

Mobile digital wallets

A digital wallet works much like a physical wallet. It is a service that allows the user to store and use electronic money or shopping information. Recently there has been a big hype about implementing digital wallets on smartphones and tablets. Mobile wallets, such as Google Wallet or the mobile PayPal app usually feature contactless technologies such as NFC, QR-codes or location based services. Using those mobile digital wallets, the user can use his smartphone to pay both online and at retail stores.

Mobile point of sale

Mobile Card Reader and App using the example of Intuit GoPayment

Mobile POS solutions such as Square in the US and iZettle in Sweden allow retail merchants to process card payments via their smartphone or tablet. Usually the combination of a small card reader that connects to the mobile device and an installed application enable the merchant to receive payments without the need to buy an additional device.

Mobile banking

Mobile banking provides banking and financial services including the initiation of transactions or balance checking just like online banking services. This includes the use of mobile web pages as well as dedicated smartphone applications. In addition, some mobile banking solutions can also be used to make micro-transactions or contactless payments directly via the mobile phone.


Google Merges Checkout And Wallet Into One Payment Platform

By Martin Schuppelius

Recently, Google has announced to merge its online payment solution Google Checkout with mobile payment service Google Wallet. Google Checkout will be transitioned into Wallet, to provide one payment solution for buying online, mobile and in-store. Furthermore, Google starts to integrate Wallet as payment method on Android Market, YouTube, Google+ Games and other Google sites.

Users of Google Checkout will be redirected to a notification screen informing them of the change the next time they log into their Checkout account. The Information stored in the Checkout account, such as address, billing address and card numbers can be transferred easily into Google Wallet. According to Google, there are no changes necessary for merchants that offer Google’s payment solution. After the upgrade, users of Google Wallet will be able to make purchases on merchant sites that accept Google Checkout.

Combining the two services will help Google to increase the number of consumers and merchants that use Wallet and compete against other companies in the mobile payment ecosphere, such as PayPal and Square.


Google Wallet Update Adds SingleTap Offer Feature

By Martin Schuppelius

Google updated its Wallet app to include a offers section with discounts that are exclusive to Google Wallet. The new feature is called Google Wallet SingleTap. It enables customers to pay and also redeem coupons or earn reward points with a single tap of his or her smartphone. There is no need for paper coupons, the offers are saved on the phone and are redeemed automatically during the payment.

The Google Wallet team announced that it’s rolling out support for SingleTap to their partners: American Eagle Outfitters, The Container Store, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, OfficeMax and Toys“R”Us. Although the offer Feature was already shown during the first presentation of Google Wallet, it was not included when the service officially launched last month.

Check out the video to see Google Wallet in action:


Google Launched Mobile Payment System Google Wallet

By PaymentObserver

Google just released the first version of the Google Wallet app that enables Android phones to make payments. The App is installed via an over-the-air update to all Nexus S 4G phones on Sprint’s network in the US. Using the built in NFC chip Google Wallet allows a mobile phone to act as a credit card. The app also supports loyalty cards and offers. No physical card required in order to make a payment, the credentials are transferred to the merchant by tapping the phone against a compatible NFC reader. The phone has to be powered, if the display is off the NFC chip is also deactivated. Furthermore you need to enter your PIN if you haven’t used the service recently.
For the time being Google Wallet only supports Citi MasterCard and the Google Prepaid Card, but Google has already announced that it also plan to support Visa, Discover, and American Express cards in the future. The Google prepaid card can be funded from any existing credit card. Early adopters who set up a Google Wallet account before the end of the year will get a $10 bonus to the prepaid card. Google is cooperating with Sprint, the other three wireless carriers in the US have founded the joint venture ISIS to establish their own mobile payment system.
Google’s biggest challenge is to encourage more merchants to set up compatible NFC readers and increase the number of mobile phones that work with Google Wallet. The only phone that works with Google Wallet today is Samsung’s Nexus S. If NFC technology becomes ubiquitous, Google Wallet has the potential to become a very convenient service, replacing physical credit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and even more.

Isis – Mobile Payment Joint Venture von Verizon Wireless, AT&T und T-Mobile USA

By PaymentObserver

Die drei größten Mobilfunkanbieter der USA – Verizon Wireless, AT&T und T-Mobile USA – investieren mehr als 100 Mio. US Dollar in ihr gemeinsames Joint Venture Isis. Die genaue Investitionshöhe ist einem Bericht von Bloomberg zufolge abhängig davon, wie viele Banken und Händler als Partner gewonnen werden können.
Mit dem im November 2010 gegründeten Unternehmen wollen die Mobilfunkunternehmen zu einem der führenden Mobile Payment Anbieter aufsteigen. Die Isis Plattform positioniert sich als direkter Konkurrent zu Google Wallet – der Mobile Payment Plattform von Google – die spätestens Ende des Sommers in den USA starten soll. Technisch setzen die Systeme von Isis und Google auf Near Field Communication (NFC) für berührungsloses Bezahlen am Point of Sale (POS).
Die Unternehmen erhoffen sich Milliardenumsätze, Prognosen von Juniper Research zufolge werden dieses Jahr weltweit 240 Mrd. US-Dollar durch Mobile Payments umgesetzt. Bis zum Jahr 2015 geht Juniper Research von einer Verdreifachung des Volumens auf bis zu 670 Mrd. US-Dollar aus.

Hier gehts zur Homepage von Isis


Vivotech und Google Wallet treiben NFC voran

By Thorsten Bleich

Der NFC (Near Field Communication) Provider Vivotech hat Anfang dieser Woche eine Partnerschaft mit Google Wallet bekanntgegeben. Demnach wird Google Vivotech Technologien für Android verwenden, sodass Android Nutzer die Möglichkeit geboten werden kann im Shop/Point of Sale (POS) mit dem Handy zu bezahlen. Ebenfalls soll durch die Kooperation die Möglichkeit für Handler bestehen an Echtzeit-Shop-Angeboten sowie Treueprogrammen teilzunehmen. Für Händler die Google Wallet Zahlung oder Marketingmöglichkeiten anbieten möchten, bietet Vivotech NFC POS Lesegeräte an.  Darüber hinaus arbeitet Vivotech mit Google zusammen um Händlern sowie POS-Software-Herstellern eine Integration der neuen NFC POS Lesegeräten mit aktueller POS-Software bieten zu können.