Isis is gearing up to expand its Mobile Wallet service nationwide in the coming months, but its plans don’t end there. The company has just announced that it’s teaming up with American Express to bring the latter’s Serve platform to Isis Mobile Wallet. Serve account holders will be able to make use of most of the features they already expect from Amex, like loading cash to their accounts, paying bills electronically and adding funds via direct deposit. By joining up with Isis, Serve is now unlocking the Mobile Wallet’s capabilities, like NFC-powered payments at participating retail locations. Though Isis is currently limited to Austin and Salt Lake City, the company — now with Amex on its side — hopes to reach customers coast to coast before the year is out, though we don’t have a specific date for availability just yet. For more info, check out the press release after the break.
Adventurous foodies are likely familiar with the concept of snout to tail dining, which incorporates the entire animal — even the exotic bits — into recipes that stray from the norm. Soon enough, OpenTable may offer a different take on start-to-finish dining by incorporating payments into its restaurant reservation platform. The system is said to still be in testing, which would require that diners merely open the OpenTable app, select a tip amount and hit the payment button. As a boon to restaurant owners, OpenTable isn’t planning on taking a cut from the transaction; instead, it’s looking to attract and retain users, and perhaps stay ahead of emerging competitors such as Groupon and Yelp. According to The New York Times, OpenTable will use an in-house payment system that it acquired this year from JustChalo. If all goes well, the new feature will be introduced to San Francisco by year’s end, with other markets to follow. Apparently, OpenTable is still hammering out its notification system, so as to avoid unpleasant scenarios such as accusing paying customers of skipping out on the bill.
Source: The New York Times
Last time we heard from Isis, the aspiring mobile payments collaboration between three US wireless carriers, its CEO Michael Abbott wasn’t willing to discuss the company’s future plans in specific terms. Three months appear to make all the difference, however: Isis is almost ready to expand beyond its trial runs in Salt Lake City and Austin, and the service will be rolling out from coast to coast later this year. The company isn’t giving any more specific details regarding timing or new Isis-compatible devices (there are currently 35 of them spread across Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile), although it’s planning to enable the service on BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices later this year as well. The press release will serve up all the details after the break.
Not all of Portland, Oregon is dreaming of the ’90s. As proof of that, the region’s transit system, TriMet, is taking a step into the future by launching the beta test of an electronic ticketing system that lets riders purchase fares from their smartphones. The ambitious effort extends to all of TriMet’s major operations, which includes city busses, the MAX light rail, the WES commuter rail and the Portland Streetcar. As it stands, 150 participants will take part in the beta trial before the program opens to all riders later this summer. The push toward modernization is made possible by a Portland-based company, GlobeSherpa, which has developed a payment system and ticket validation app that also allows for fleet optimization and provides service alerts to riders. Currently, the TriMet app is available for Android and iOS, but GlobeSherpa tells us that it’ll deliver future versions for BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Hit up the break for a peek at what’s in store for The City of Roses.
Square collects a lot of store info by virtue of its payment business, so you’d think it would be great at recommending where to shop. And you may soon be right, according to the company’s Ajit Varma. While he doesn’t have a schedule, he tells The Verge that Square will eventually customize its directory to suggest hot or newly opened stores based on our spending habits. Varma even believes that his company could beat Foursquare in the local recommendations field, and it’s easy to see why when Square knows that we’re willing to buy, not just that we’ve entered a given store. Of course, this is all contingent on both a ubiquitous Square presence and consumerist intentions. Foursquare is entirely willing to point us to both free landmarks as well as stores without Square readers, so it’s doubtful that the two services will ever completely overlap.
Source: The Verge
The FTC held a workshop on mobile payments last year, and it’s now followed that up with a full report that raises a few concerns and offers some recommendations for the industry. Those include the expected issues of privacy and security, which the FTC encourages companies to step up their efforts on, as well as the issue of billing disputes. On that latter front, the FTC draws attention to one problem in particular known as “cramming,” in which companies or individuals place fraudulent charges on a user’s cellphone bill. As the FTC notes in the report, “there are no federal statutory protections governing consumer disputes about fraudulent or unauthorized charges placed on mobile carrier bills,” and it further adds in a blog post that “the way mobile carrier billing works makes this a challenging problem to solve.” It goes on to outline some consumer protection measures it says all carriers should adopt, and notes that it will further address the issue at a roundtable on May 8th. You can find the full report at the source link.
Curious what Max Levchin’s been up to ever since he left Google in 2011? Well, wonder no more. Today, PayPal’s co-founder revealed his return to the payment world with a new company called Affirm. Like many startups, Affirm is looking to make online payments quicker and easier, but the real question is whether you’ll be willing to come along for the ride. AllThingsD managed to catch Levchin for an interview, in which he revealed that Affirm will issue credit to consumers and guarantee payment to merchants for all online transactions. Curiously, Affirm will use Facebook to verify a user’s identity, and it’ll also use a wide range of social and location-based data to determine an individual’s credit worthiness. The payment startup will launch in beta with 1-800-Flowers as its partner, and it’s said that consumers will be given 30 days to settle the resulting bill with Affirm. There’s no word of what fees or interest rates will be assessed for late payments, but we imagine you’ll find strong incentive to pay for that flower arrangement.
Filed under: Internet
While the US wireless industry seems far away from finding a universal mobile payment system, T-Mobile’s new BFF MetroPCS appears to have made its choice. Taking to its official Facebook page, the carrier announced on Monday that the Samsung Galaxy S III is its first handset to support Google Wallet. In choosing Google’s mobile payment platform, MetroPCS joins two of its biggest competitors, Sprint and US Cellular. It should be noted that T-Mobile is deeply committed to Google’s wireless payment competitor Isis, which recently became ready for public consumption. Once the two carriers exchange nuptials next year, it’s possible that we could be looking at the wireless industry’s first mobile payment Brady Bunch. However, looking back at T-Mobile’s previous attempts at mobile matrimony, we won’t be holding our breath waiting for this union to become official.