Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Google is working on a project called “Pony Express,” which plans to enable Gmail users to receive and pay bills within their email. The service — whether it is named Pony Express or something else — is reportedly slated to launch in the fourth quarter. Google is working with vendors that provide billing services for insurance and telecom companies, utilities, etc. It is not clear whether the company plans to monetize the service, but it could provide Google with data for entering new industries and targeting advertisements. Continue reading Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

AT&T Service Enables Companies to Pay for Consumer Data

AT&T’s new service, Sponsored Data, allows developers and brands to deliver content — at their cost — to the mobile devices of their customers without eating into individual data plans. UnitedHealth Group, Aquto and Kony were the first three companies to sign up for the service at launch early last week. The telco’s intention is to allow companies to reach their target audience without costing consumers money in cell phone bills, but some say Sponsored Data is bad for the economy. Continue reading AT&T Service Enables Companies to Pay for Consumer Data

Plastic Surgery: First Polymer $100 Bill Goes into Circulation

  • Canada distributed the first of its new plastic money (polymer banknotes) in the form of $100 bills last week. A similar $50 bill will be available in four months and more plastic money is expected by the end of 2013.
  • “There’s no other currency like it anywhere in the world,” said Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.
  • The new bills are said to last at least 2.5 times longer than traditional paper money and will eventually be recycled when taken out of circulation. They are more durable, less likely to tear or crumple, and can be run through the clothes washer.
  • However, the main objective is to avoid counterfeiting. Featuring a transparent window with double-sided holograph and hidden text, each bill contains a “unique combination of transparency, holography and other sophisticated security elements,” explained Carney.
  • He further noted that many people still use cash over credit or debit for transactions, suggesting: “Our research shows that cash is used for more than half of all shopping transactions and Canadians, as a consequence, need a currency that they can trust.”
  • The article includes a video featuring Canadian news reports about the design and production of the polymer bills.