Friday, July 01, 2011

CorFire Market Watch, 6-24-2011

Week ending June 24, 2011

Commentary: Major Mobile Moves for Visa

Visa's recent acquisition push has brought the payments network giant a range of interesting assets, from merchant processing solutions, mobile and social media properties to technology solutions. However, Visa's most recent acquisition, Fundamo of South Africa, may have the most interesting potential to influence the direction of global mobile payments, given its focus on using mobile technology to bring financial services solutions to the hundreds of millions of mass market customers in emerging markets….

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Stepping Up Smartphone Checkouts


While many high-tech companies are betting that smartphones soon will be able to carry out transactions at store-checkout counters, a Silicon Valley start-up says it is possible for current models to handle payments without a hardware upgrade.

Naratte Inc. on Monday is expected to announce a technology called Zoosh that uses speakers and microphones on existing smartphones to complete short-range transactions through inaudible, ultrasonic sound. All that is required on the shopper's end is a software download, the company says, compared to better-known approaches that require smartphones with additional wireless chips.

Naratte's software allows two handsets within inches of each other to exchange data, such as personal-contact information, said Brett Paulson, the company's chief executive. Smartphones could be used like mobile wallets, storing and transmitting digital versions of shopping coupons and loyalty cards—and eventually replacing debit and credit cards for payments, he said….

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Survey Says Most Consumers Not Waiting for Mobile Wallets

Published: Jun 18 2011

A survey conducted for consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo showed that only a little more than one in five respondents said they wanted NFC and a mobile wallet on their next mobile phone, while 53% said they were not interested and 26% didn't know what NFC or a mobile wallet was.

The results of the unscientific survey, which polled more than 1,000 people in June, were released this week. A Retrevo spokeswoman told NFC Times that the company hires a third-party survey firm to find people for its studies, which the firm conducts online.

The survey results indicate security concerns might be one thing standing in the way of consumers’ embrace of NFC, though oddly enough, the results found respondents trusted Google and Apple more than they did Visa or MasterCard to provide a wallet. Mobile operators came in even lower on the trust question….

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TapBase Introduces the Tap Mobile Payments, Loyalty and Rewards Platform

TapBase has announced that the company has successfully completed private beta testing of its Tap mobile payments, loyalty and rewards platform and has moved another step closer to its official launch. "We're very pleased with the progress to date", reported CEO, Robert Mallett. "We believe our solution is attractive to both consumers and merchants; and combines the convenience and accessibility of traditional magstripe technologies with the security and flexibility of emerging technologies such as Quick Response (QR) codes and Near Field Communications (NFC)."

The Tap platform consists of a number of tightly integrated mobile applications and hardware products that will be available on a number of mobile platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry OS and Windows Phone….

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Research: Mobile payments to drive rapid growth in alternative payments market

Packaged Facts, a division of, says several trends will keep the $62 billion alternative payment market in the United States active through the next five years, and that the most important factor will be mobile payments.

Packaged Facts published its findings in the newly-revised second edition of its "Alternative Payments Systems in the U.S."

According to Packaged Facts, alternative payments are electronic consumer-to-business and person-to-person (P2P) purchases made mostly via the Internet or over mobile phones. Packaged Facts report shows the total U.S. dollar volume for online alternative payments rose 25 percent to $62 billion in 2010. That's more than double the level seen in 2006. Packaged Facts predicts the alternative payment market in the United States will reach $127 billion by 2015.

"The mobile payments market is set to explode, perhaps as early as this year," David Sprinkle, research director and publisher of Packaged Facts, said in an announcement. Sprinkle said PayPal reported $750 million in global mobile payment volume in 2010 and expects to reach $2 billion for 2011.

Sprinkle added that several major initiatives either rumored or announced indicate that interest in mobile payments is hitting critical mass.


Android NFC Bug Could Be First Of Many

by Paul Roberts

NFC AndroidGoogle is working on a fix for a newly discovered vulnerability affecting Nexus S Android phones that could cause applications on the phone to crash using incorrectly formated Near Field Communications (NFC) transactions.

The issue, which will be discussed at an upcoming technical conference on wireless security, could result in denial of service attacks on Nexus S applications. It isn't considered serious, but it is one of the first publicly disclosed vulnerabilities concerning the NFC features of the Nexus S, and could be the first of many related to NFC -a powerful communications protocol that phone makers, carriers and merchants hope to use for everything from mobile phone payments to information kiosks, experts warn.

The vulnerability was among a handful discovered by Collin Mulliner, a doctoral student at the Technische Universitaet Berlin and a well-known researcher on mobile device security. Mulliner said that vulnerability was one that could allow a malicious NFC tag to send incorrect information to a Nexus S phone. For example: a rogue or misconfigured smart tag could request a memory allocation from a NFC-enabled phone that is in excess of the amount of memory on the phone itself. That could cause the NFC service on Nexus S phones to crash unexpectedly, he said….

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Mobile a key factor in consumer banking: study

Mobile banking is quickly becoming the future of banking statements, and a new study found that mobile is now a factor when consumers are choosing banks.

The study, which was conducted by financial consulting and research firm Mercatus LLC, reported that consumers are now using mobile platforms as a major consideration for banking. This study aligns with recent developments in financial banking.

“Where we traditionally saw mobile as only important for a younger age group, this study found that mobile is important to a broader age group than we thought,” said Teresa Epperson, partner at Mercatus LLC, Boston….

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Mobile Wallet Patent Granted to DeviceFidelity

DeviceFidelity, Inc. the world’s leader in plug and play mobile payment and contactless technologies announced today, the grant of yet another patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). U.S. Patent No. 7,942,337, granted on May 17, 2011 describes an implementation of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for enabling mobile devices to function like mobile wallets capable of conducting payment, access, transit and other contactless transactions using credentials issued by multiple different enterprises through Points of Sale terminals….

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Forecast: U.S. mobile local ad spending to reach $2.8B in 2015

Marketers are poised to increase their U.S. mobile advertising spending from $790 million in 2010 to $4 billion in 2015 according to a new forecast published by media advisory firm BIA/Kelsey. Spending on local mobile campaigns targeting users in particular geographic regions or containing location-specific calls to action will increase from $404 million to $2.8 billion during the forecast period, jumping from 51 percent of mobile ad spending in 2010 to 70 percent in 2015….

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Google's Schmidt predicts NFC payments will be widespread soon

According to the Financial Times, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said he believes a third of check-out terminals in retail stores and restaurants will be upgraded to allow near field communications (NFC) mobile payments within the next year. Schmidt was appearing at the Cannes Lion advertising festival. Schmidt said that number represents a sufficient quantity for wide adoption of mobile payments….

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Consumers Union calls for stronger protections for mobile payments

As mobile payments are taking off, consumer advocacy organization Consumers Union (CU) is already questioning whether or not the industry is doing enough to protect consumers from fraud. The venerable non-profit, known by most as the publisher of Consumer Reports, is pushing wireless carriers to do more to ensure customers using certain types of mobile payments are fully protected. In addition, CU wants existing regulations covering credit and debit card to be extended to cover all mobile payments….

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Citi makes strategic investment in Billing Revolution

Mobile billing platform Billing Revolution has received additional funding, this time from Citigroup's Citi Ventures unit. The announcement comes just weeks after Billing Revolution announced $6.6 million in Series B funding from DCM and SK Telecom Ventures and a year after Citi Ventures sponsored the company's mobile billing platform….

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PayPal forecasts mobile payments to reach $3B in 2011

PayPal anticipates its 2011 mobile total payments volume will reach $3 billion, up from the $2 billion target the company forecasted in February.

"This is the third time we've had to update our mobile 2011 projections," writes PayPal Mobile senior director Laura Chambers on the PayPal Blog. "We first predicted $1.5 billion in 2011 mobile payments volume."

PayPal now processes $10 million in mobile total payments volume each day, up from $6 million in March. Chambers told The Wall Street Journal that the volume of mobile payments can be broken down into two categories: Person-to-person money transfers and m-commerce purchases. While she declined to specify how much each category contributes to PayPal's overall mobile usage, she did state that 8 million PayPal customers regularly make purchases via mobile phone, up from 6 million earlier this year….

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Mcommerce is fastest-growing mobile channel: Forrester

In the past six months, mcommerce has grown by 25 percent, faster than any other mobile channel, according to a Forrester analyst.

At the June 23 “Forrester Research: What Retailers Need to Know When Selecting and Implementing an Mcommerce Offering” webinar, two industry experts discussed the growth of ecommerce in the past year and predicted how the platform will continue to accelerate the mobile industry in the future….

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Amex and foursquare roll out mobile coupon program nationwide

American Express is embracing location-based mobile couponing. The credit card company is joining with location-based social media site foursquare to roll out their couponless coupon program nationwide. The rollout follows a successful test of the program at this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

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Former AdMob execs launch m-payment service '', a new startup founded by AdMob veterans Mike Mettler and Josh Bleecher Snyder, has closed a $1 million seed round from angel investors including AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. The solution automatically reads credit card information using a smartphone's camera, enabling merchants to process transactions without swiping the card through a hardware extension or inputting account information. Google acquired AdMob for $750 million.

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