April 28, 2017
Delays in website load times are a prime reason today’s mobile shoppers aren’t purchasing via a mobile device as much as they are using the device for product search and browsing.
In fact, while half of consumers tap smartphones for product insight just one in five complete the purchase on the device, according to a new Akamai Online Retail Performance Report.
The big hurdle are website load time delays — even a 100-millisecond delay — is impacting conversation rates by 7 percent, notes a release on the study. A two-second delay leads to a 103 percent increase in bounce rate and 53 percent of mobile site shoppers will leave a page that takes three seconds to load.
“Results from our State of Online Retail Performance report have shown that user experience is critical to e-commerce success, and things aren’t getting any easier,” Ash Kulkarni, senior VP and general manager of the Web Experience Division for Akamai, said in a statement. “Customers have extremely short attention spans, and degradations in website performance — no matter how small — can cause consumers to go elsewhere in an instant.”
April 28, 2017
Apple reportedly is seeking to reignite the idea of launching its own mobile person-to-person payment service that would compete with as Venmo, Square Cash and Zelle, according to a report from Recode.
Apple could launch the service later this year, but Recode cited a source that said a definitive launch date isn’t set.
The service would enable iPhone users to transfer funds to each other. This isn’t the first time Apple has flirted with such an idea. Prior Apple patents have described a mobile P2P system that relies on iMessage.
Recode also reported that Apple has had discussions with Visa about “creating its own prepaid cards that would run on the Visa debit network and which would be tied to the new peer-to-peer service,” according to the report.
Topics: Money Transfer / P2P
The concept of a cashless society is one that continues to make headlines again and again in 2017. Linked to that discussion is what kind of payment technologies we’ll be using more to make payments for goods and services.
Bill Nuti, CEO and chairman of NCR Corp., examined those technologies in a guest post for Mobile Payments Today that was the most read piece of content in April. Nuti wrote about contactless payments, biometric authentication and voice-activated transactions.
McDonald’s also was a big topic of discussion last month as the fast food chain prepares to launch mobile ordering. How will a company that size handle such an endeavor?
Rounding out the top five stories are pieces about MCX and loyalty; a Q&A with Jack Jania at Gemalto about EMV at the fuel pump; and a focus on the blockchain.
5. “MCX’s CurrentC showed potential with loyalty-based approach” — When JP Morgan Chase acquired the Merchant Customer Exchange payments technology last month, a 5-year saga came to a bitter end. The payments industry, which has proven difficult to navigate and succeed in over the past decade, claimed another victim.
When J.P. Morgan Chase acquired the Merchant Customer Exchange’s payments technology last month, a 5-year saga came to a bitter end.
The payments industry, which has proven difficult to navigate and succeed in over the past decade, claimed another victim.
For every success story such as a Square or PayPal, there are flops such as Bling Nation, Isis/Softcard and Pay By Touch. These products failed for a number of reasons, mostly because they were either ahead of their time (Pay By Touch), or of little interest to consumers (Bling Nation).
One other product, the MCX mobile payments concept, never got the chance to prove its worth, even though it had a couple of things going for it that could have made it successful. It’s unfortunate for consumers that the idea never made it past a one-city pilot.
4. “Talking With: Gemalto’s Jack Jania about EMV at the fuel pump” — The card networks decided late last year to show some mercy on fuel operators and pushed back their EMV deadline to Oct. 1, 2020.
The card networks decided late last year to show some mercy on fuel operators and pushed back their EMV deadline to Oct. 1, 2020.
One of the primary reasons for the extension is simple: The fuel ecosystem is complicated.
It’s a sector that Gemalto is monitoring closely, considering its position in the cards and payments industry. We spoke with Jack Jania, Gemalto senior vice president of strategic alliances, about the delay, emerging fuel pump technologies and mobile payments.
3. “Is the blockchain overhyped?” — Major financial institutions such as JP Morgan are finishing up blockchain technology pilot tests and other businesses are starting to jump on board, as well. But is blockchain tech worth the hype?
The blockchain is getting a lot of attention these days. Several major banks, including Santander and J.P. Morgan, recently finished up a blockchain tech pilot. The U.S. Postal Service also has outlined potential use cases for blockchain tech.
Others in industries ranging from agriculture to health care to real estate to shipping and transportation are investigating the usefulness of the blockchain to their business.
Despite the excitement, though, some might argue that blockchain hype is overblown and that the technology is just a glorified distributed ledger.
Is the blockchain worth the hype? Blockchain Tech News interviewed Michael Vogel, CEO of Netcoins, to get his perspective.
2. “McDonald’s move to mobile ordering will be closely watched” — McDonald’s and its recently unveiled plans to implement mobile ordering and curbside pickup is proof that even the mightiest brands now know mobile ordering is the order of the future.
McDonald’s recently unveiled plans to implement mobile ordering and curbside pickup are living proof that even the mightiest brands now know that when it comes to the future of customer service, the writing is on the wall — or at least the mobile screen in this case.
Mobile ordering is the new standard and as the QSR giant now follows in the techy footsteps of chains like Starbucks, Panera Bread and Dominos, it’s clear that many more restaurants will soon follow in order to provide customers the most up-to-date and easy-to-use experience, while also opening doors to better access to their favorite brands.
Not only can customers now place orders well in advance, they can connect more closely with the places they love to eat, while also better meeting their individual dietary demands and whims, regardless of where they are at any given time. But the hefty transition restaurants must make to this new way of life also presents a prime opportunity to fail spectacularly without the right preparation, foresight and planning.
So, yes, the opportunity for mobile ordering is ripe. But, it’s critical that McDonald’s and those which will follow suit both understand prepare well for the challenges that may be encountered during rollout.
1. “The new payment future: 3 technologies leading the way” — Changes in consumer behavior continue to be rapid, disruptive, and largely driven by technology influences, such as mobile devices, big data, the cloud, IoT and machine learning.
Changes in consumer behavior continue to be rapid, disruptive, and largely driven by technology influences, such as mobile devices, big data, the cloud, IoT and machine learning. Simultaneously, security breaches are growing and continue to place both consumers and businesses at risk.
While cash and credit cards may never disappear entirely, this convergence of forces is driving one of the most profound shifts to how we pay for goods and services, challenging both financial institutions and retail providers to adjust their strategy for the future of payments. Here are the three leading technologies paving the way.
Topics: ATMs, Bank Customer Experience Summit, Bill Payment, Bitcoin, Card Brands, Carriers / Operators, Contactless / NFC, Direct Carrier Billing, EMV, Handsets / Devices, HCE, In-App Payments, Loyalty Programs, Mobile Banking, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Mobile Marketing, Money Transfer / P2P, POS, Regulatory Issues, Restaurants, Retail, Security, Trends / Statistics
Will Hernandez / Will Hernandez has 14 years of experience ranging from newspapers to wire services and trade publications. Before becoming Editor of MobilePaymentsToday.com, he spent two years as the content manager for PaymentsJournal.com, a leading payments industry news aggregator and information hub published by Mercator Advisory Group. Will spent four years covering the payments industry as an associate editor for multiple publications in SourceMedia’s Payments Group based in Chicago.
April 28, 2017
By Mary Anne Callahan, journalist and bitcoin specialist
Satoshi Nakamoto originally imagined bitcoin as a truly decentralized currency, a store of value owned equally by each of its users, without any single point of failure, and uncontrollable by any regulating body. But is that how bitcoin is turning out?
Over the last decade, China has emerged as the biggest market for bitcoin. This has given large Chinese bitcoin exchanges such as BTC China, Huobi, and OKCoin, and international exchanges such as CEX.IO, a huge influence over bitcoin’s price, volatility and perception around the world.
Let’s take a look at each of these factors and how they will guide bitcoin in the future.
Influence on bitcoin price
The price of bitcoin is determined mainly by the same two factors as every other asset — supply and demand. Right now, both supply and demand of bitcoin are highest in China. To understand why, it’s handy to know a little about how cryptocurrencies work.
Bitcoin supply — mining
Mining is fundamental to how cryptocurrencies work. It is the mechanism that keeps bitcoin secure, while also introducing new bitcoins to the world. Bitcoin miners offer their computers to solve the complex cryptographic problems that keep all bitcoin transactions working and safe. New bitcoins are given as a reward for this work.
The original intention was that everyone would do this with their spare computing power on their personal computer. But, after bitcoin’s price soared, many began buying specialist equipment to mine these new bitcoins for profit. Now, miners all over the world compete fiercely for the new bitcoins released every 10 minutes. It’s become so competitive that only those with access to cheap, specialist mining hardware and ultra-cheap electricity can compete.
So where is the best place in the world to get cheap hardware and electricity? China. It’s estimated that 70 percent of bitcoin mining power is located there.
There are many different reasons why people want to buy bitcoins. Two important reasons are:
- to own something untraceable and free from government regulation; and
- to invest or to speculate on the price going up or down.
Both of these factors are massive in China. Tight government regulation of financial markets means that many Chinese investors are looking for assets that are independent of these controls. Also, there are limited investment options in China, and bitcoin is seen as an alternative to the declining Yuan. Online gambling is massive in China, and speculating on the volatility of bitcoin is seen by many as an exciting way to bet.
Put those supply and demand factors together, and it’s no surprise that the price of bitcoin is guided by what happens in China. Hungry investors are buying up bitcoins as fast as they can be mined. Most bitcoin trading is done on bitcoin exchanges — and the biggest bitcoin exchanges are based in China. Coindesk estimates that Chinese bitcoin exchanges dominate over 85 percent of the global bitcoin market.
Impact on price volatility
Currencies on the Forex market generally have low volatility. The U.S. dollar declining 1 percent in a day is a huge deal. Bitcoin is a different story — 10–20 percent declines in just a few hours are very common. So how much of this volatility is due to China’s influence?
China has one of the most tightly regulated financial markets in the world. One decision by the government can change things instantly, and there is little anyone can do about it. Investors from around world know this, and keep a constant eye on what’s going on with bitcoin in China.
This was demonstrated recently, as the global price of bitcoin plummeted 9 percent overnight, as the Chinese exchanges stopped withdrawals. A decision by just a handful of companies had a sudden and devastating impact on the bitcoin price worldwide.
The debate about increasing the block size of the bitcoin blockchain (i.e., increasing the number of bitcoin transactions per second) is also starting to become more important. Some say that increasing the block size is the only way to scale bitcoin further, while others say this goes against the basic principles of decentralization. Whatever your opinion, decisions to change the way bitcoin works will be decided by the bitcoin miners. With the majority of mining power — the decision on the future of bitcoin will be decided mainly in China.
The Chinese government is currently making some big decisions on bitcoin regulation. For the moment, regulation is low and the People’s bank of China doesn’t even consider bitcoin a real currency. This may change soon, though, as they are taking a close look at the actions of bitcoin exchanges operating in China to determine what measures they need to take. The outcome of these decisions will determine the price of bitcoin.
This level of influence is not seen anywhere else in the world. The size of the bitcoin market in China — along with government’s control over it — means that 85 percent of bitcoin trade volume is constantly at risk. If any of the large Chinese exchanges like BTCC, OKCoin, or Huobi were to be found guilty of breaking any rules, they could be shut down. This would send the bitcoin price into a tailspin.
Even large international exchanges like CEX.IO and Coinmama that operate in China don’t have this much power.
Bitcoin was designed to be a currency free from control by any single institution. Influence and control are concentrating more in China, and many are worried this could undermine its value. It’s hard to argue that bitcoin is decentralized and borderless if a single government has so much power over it.
Future of bitcoin
Some argue that that centralization in China isn’t that bad. Paul Sztorc explains that the extreme efficiency of bitcoin mining in China helps to secure the bitcoin network as a whole. Also, some very tough decisions need to be made soon regarding the bitcoin block size. Reaching a consensus will be a lot easier with some level of centralization.
The outcome of all these factors is that right now, bitcoin’s price, volatility, and reputation all hinge largely on what happens in China. For now, the future of bitcoin is tied to the future of China.
April 27, 2017
Ripple, a blockchain payments provider, has gained 10 customers in the financial industry: MUFG; BBVA; SEB; Akbank; Axis Bank; Yes Bank; SBI Remit; Cambridge Global Payments; Star One Credit Union; and eZforex.com.
Several of the banks have been using Ripple’s platform for cross border payments, according to a press release.
BBVA currently is using Ripple for cross-border payments between Europe and Mexico; Cambridge Global Payments and Earthport are using Ripple to reduce the cost of cross-border payments. Star One is also offering Ripple remittances for its customers, according to the release.
“The world’s largest banks have been the first to adopt Ripple’s technology, and the network effect from our customer base is accelerating,” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in the release. “People know Ripple is the only blockchain solution for payments that is proven in the real world, and it’s driving demand from financial institutions of all kinds and sizes because they want to stay ahead of the curve.”
April 27, 2017
IDology, a company that specializes in multilayered identity verification and fraud prevention, has announced the addition of two digital authentication products, ExpectID Mobile Authentication and ExpectID Secure SMS, to its fully integrated platform, according to a press release.
The company said in the announcement that the new products are designed to help companies increase customer success in the digital environment and securely authenticate new and existing customers, while eliminating factors that negatively impact the customer experience.
“The use of unsafe and vulnerable one-time passcodes is no longer viable,” IDology CEO John Dancu said in a statement. “It’s time for businesses to reimagine digital authentication so they can serve a growing base of mobile customers with an experience that is simple, fast and frictionless, while also deterring digital fraud.”
IDology’s new digital authentication products monitor and account for all types of digital fraud and high-frequency mobile change events such as SIM cloning, SIM swapping and recycled phone numbers, according to the announcement.
Information is captured and provided automatically in real time, enabling businesses to determine the safety of an interaction and make an educated decision whether to escalate it to another authentication method.
April 27, 2017
WorldRemit has partnered with Millicom subsidiary Tigo Money to open up new remittance routes to El Salvador and Guatemala, according to a press release.
The new routes will enable Salvadorans and Guatemalans abroad to send funds instantly to more than 1.5 million Tigo Money users in those countries using the WorldRemit app.
“Our partnership with Tigo Money in Central America will give more choice to millions of Salvadorans and Guatemalans living and working abroad, giving them a simple, safe way to support their friends and family without having to wait in line at a money transfer agent,” Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit, said in a statement.
WorldRemit customers currently send more than 600,000 transfers every month, according to the announcement.
Topics: Money Transfer / P2P
April 27, 2017
By Mandeep Khera, chief marketing officer, Arxan
For baseball players, it’s an MVP season; for actors, an Oscar; for musicians, best single or album. Every field has its ultimate accomplishment, a holy grail. Hackers have it too: online payment information which is not seasonal, but a gift that keeps on giving.
The more retailers, financial services companies, government agencies and others interact with customers through mobile apps, the bigger a target these apps have become for fraudsters who can resell the information on the dark web or use them to illegally buy goods.
Organizations must meet these risks head on if they want to protect their brands, keep mobile-related revenue flowing and continue to expand the mobile capabilities that are so popular with consumers. Yet despite widespread concern about security, they often are still ill-prepared for the dangers.
The very nature of the mobile payment process – with its multiple entities and electronic handoffs – gives rise to security issues. A transaction includes the acquirer, card issuer, payment card network and many others — between the consumer and the merchant – and cyber criminals can exploit each point.
Though many organizations work hard at securing networks and applications in their data centers, they tend to purchase technology that protects internal enterprise resources but which doesn’t adequately defend binary code once apps are on customer devices. Plain and simple, apps aren’t as hardened as they should be once they’re “in the wild.”
Cybercriminals can easily decompile the binary code and steal credentials, insert malicious code, tamper with security logic, reverse-engineer applications or steal cryptographic keys in host card emulation (HCE) applications.
Organizations should know from years of experience protecting other IT assets that bad actors will evolve their techniques and come up with new ways to exploit mobile security holes. But unfortunately, too many enterprises aren’t doing enough to protect their mobile security investments.
Interestingly, impediments to better mobile app security often result not from technological barriers but from organizational and cultural ones.
For example, the popularity of mobile devices is increasingly pressuring companies to release apps as quickly as possible, and this “rush-to-release” mentality makes it all too easy to put code into production that has not been adequately tested for security vulnerabilities.
In some organizations, confusion exists over who even owns security within the development, testing and implementation process for mobile apps. Is it the chief security officer, or the application development team, or the head of product engineering, or the lines of business? In some companies, it can look like the baseball misplay when two fielders converge to catch a fly ball, one looks at the other and the ball falls to the ground.
Even in cases when lines of responsibility are clear, some organizations suffer from a lack of internal policies or rules that clarify security requirements.
Many organizations simply do not allocate sufficient budget to protect mobile apps. Or they only spend reactively – when a serious breach occurs or a hacking incident at another company gains widespread media coverage or when new governmental regulations are issued.
Organizations need to employ in-depth defense of their mobile apps – especially ones that are most attractive to cybercriminals due to potential monetary gain – but a consistent sense of urgency across companies and industries seems to be lacking.
Another factor that must be taken into account is that most users are oblivious about security issues on their phone apps. Many believe that smartphone providers include built-in security protection. But while some security functionality has been programmed in, it is far from perfect on these devices especially on enterprise applications that are prime targets for hackers like mobile banking and mobile payment apps.
Most malware targeting mobile payment applications makes its way onto victims’ devices by tricking users to clicking on a text message, or by masquerading as an Adobe Flash app, popular game or some other utility downloaded through third-party app stores.
These Trojans typically start getting their hooks into the operation of legitimate apps, then overlay screens to mimic each of the apps they’re meant to steal information from. When the user enters the information, it is sent off to the criminals’ servers, the screen goes away and the malicious application allows the legitimate app to open up. The whole process looks genuine to the user.
Users should take basic precautions such as updating their operating system on a regular basis, installing anti-malware protection and not clicking on messages that appear remotely suspicious. Even if users are careful, however, cybercriminals can still hack into the binary code and steal credentials by decompiling and reverse-engineering applications.
The obligation lies with app providers to ensure their binary code is hardened with the right solutions. Application hardening techniques should be a standard part of the software development cycle, something which is usually done after testing and fixing vulnerabilities in the source code and just prior to the release of the app. Hardening techniques include obfuscation, which renders code into unusable nonsense to attackers, encryption, and other techniques to make it very difficult for hackers to steal the code and reverse engineer.
Cryptographic keys should be the main priority as they are used for key tasks such as binding devices to accounts and proving user identity. One of the most effective ways of protecting keys is white-box cryptography, and cryptographic key data in the Host Card Emulation solutions commonly used by payment apps were shown to be safeguarded even after 160 hours of independent intrusion testing.
Consumers should ask what security precautions their retailers, banks and others they do business with are taking at the application level.
For app providers and the mobile payments market, the stakes are high. Nearly three in four people who do not use mobile apps cited security as the main reason why, according to a Federal Reserve Board survey.
It would be a terrible shame if the industry let a lack of focus on mobile app security stand in the way of continued growth.
April 27, 2017
Samsung Electronics has launched Samsung Pay in four new markets with the official debut of its mobile wallet service in Sweden and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to early access in Hong Kong and Switzerland.
The launches in the UAE and Sweden represent Samsung Pay’s first markets in the Middle East and the Nordics, according to a press release.
“We are incredibly proud of our rapid expansion and growth in such a short period of time, and look forward to bringing the most comprehensive digital wallet to all our users around the world,” Thomas Ko, vice president and global general manager of Samsung Pay, said in a statement.
Topics: Mobile/Digital Wallet
April 27, 2017
AEVI has partnered with U.K. startup Loyalzoo to bring their “merchant-first” digital loyalty card service to AEVI’s global marketplace of value-added apps and services, according to a press release.
Loyalzoo, a loyalty service provider for SME retailers, is fully integrated with AEVI’s range of smart point-of-sale terminals and offers independent merchants the opportunity to create and run their own points-based loyalty program, according to the announcement.
Loyalzoo currently has more than 500 SME merchant customers across the U.K. and U.S. handling more than 80,000 transactions each month.
“We are thrilled to join AEVI’s global marketplace and make Loyalzoo readily available to an increasing number of small businesses,” Massimo Sirolla, co-founder and CEO of Loyalzoo, said in a statement. “AEVI’s smart payment terminals are the ideal platform to provide SME retailers with the solutions they need to compete in an increasingly complex market, and allow Loyalzoo to offer the best possible experience to merchants and their staff when operating their loyalty program.”