Here’s what caught my attention in the payment space this week.
Visa announces P2P payments
PayPal customers have grown used to the ability to send money to someone just by typing in their email address — that’s much easier and quicker than writing out a check and getting it in the mail. Now payments giant Visa is moving into the P2P payments market with two partnerships that will let its 1 billion cardholders send funds to someone via their 16-digit Visa number (hard), phone number (easy) or email address (even easier). Penny Crosman at Bank Systems & Technology detailed the deals, explaining that they’ll make use of a couple of existing services by partners: Fiserv’s ZashPay, which lets a Visa card holder send money to someone else’s bank account, and Cashedge’s Popmoney, which lets you send money to someone via their mobile number or email address. Visa expects to bring the services online this summer.
Meanwhile, Visa continues to experiment with contactless payments, most recently in a trial with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Fifty employees used an iPhone sleeve that includes near-field communications (NFC) hardware. MasterCard Worldwide’s Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Affairs David Masters applauded the trial with the backhanded compliment that it looked a lot like the proof-of-concept trials that MasterCard launched in 2007.
Groupon gets even more local (and more daily)
Groupon announced some details on a secondary service it intends to launch next month. Groupon Now promises to be more timely and more local than its original offer. In Groupon 1.0, users buy a coupon to be used at some future date. Groupon Now intends to offer more dynamic deals, managed by the merchants themselves and delivered to mobile devices. This could be used to take advantage of a big conference in the area or to boost business when things are slow. As Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason explained to Bloomberg Businessweek: “The daily deal is like teeth whitening and Groupon Now is like brushing your teeth. It can be an everyday thing to keep your business going.”
Groupon also announced that its president and chief operating officer Rob Solomon was stepping down (and returning to Woodside, California — or “God’s Country” as Mason called it in an internal memo). Groupon has grown from about 200 employees to more than 6,000, and Solomon and Mason both said the company needed a different kind of operations exec to manage a team that size.
Apple to Amazon: App off
If nothing else, Apple’s lawsuit against Amazon for calling its upcoming app store for Android apps, well, “Appstore” has raised the visibility of Amazon’s effort.
As we reported back in January, Amazon’s scrutiny and classification of Android apps will likely be a little more rigorous than Google’s app marketplace (with its 200,000 apps), though less stringent than Apple’s care for iOS apps. But the announcement of Amazon’s upcoming marketplace didn’t travel much wider than developer circles. Now everyone with an Android phone (or without) knows that Amazon has an app store — or whatever they wind up calling it.
News tips and suggestions are always welcome, so please send them along.
If you’re interested in learning more about the payment development space, check out PayPal X DevZone, a collaboration between O’Reilly and PayPal.