BitTorrent Rolls Out Beta Test of Live Mobile Streaming App

BitTorrent introduced a public beta test of its Live Android app (also known as BLive), described as a live streaming app that offers social networking and instant messaging as well as virtual gifting via BTT and TRX, two cryptocurrencies operated by BitTorrent and sister company TRON. BitTorrent will take a cut of 70 percent from these gifts. The company explained that it is initially releasing BitTorrent Live with server-based architecture, but plans to replace it in the future with P2P-based live streaming. Continue reading BitTorrent Rolls Out Beta Test of Live Mobile Streaming App

Popular Payment Service Venmo Under Federal Investigation

According to an SEC filing, PayPal-owned peer-to-peer payment service Venmo is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether the company “engaged in deceptive or unfair practices in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” PayPal received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the FTC on March 28. “The CID could lead to an enforcement action and/or one or more consent orders,” explains PayPal, “which may result in substantial costs, including legal fees, fines, penalties, and remediation expenses and actions, and could require us to change aspects of the manner in which we operate Venmo.” Continue reading Popular Payment Service Venmo Under Federal Investigation

Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Apple is in talks with banks to develop a new payment service to allow an iPhone user to send money to another iPhone user, most likely bypassing Visa and MasterCard by working directly with banks. The talks are at an early stage and no one involved would comment on the evolution of the plan. But multiple sources confirm Apple’s talks with the country’s largest banks and that the company is serious about moving forward. Unknown is whether credit card companies are engaging Apple or waiting for the company to contact them. Continue reading Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Google Unveils Android Pay, Improvement Over Google Wallet

Google now offers Android Pay, a mobile phone payment service similar to Apple Pay. Android Pay works with Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard and can be used at more than one million retail locations in the U.S. Android Pay requires a phone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat or newer and has a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, a feature of most Android phones in the last three years. Android Pay, available in the Google Play app store, will come preloaded in new Android phones. Continue reading Google Unveils Android Pay, Improvement Over Google Wallet

Google Seeks Carrier Support to Revive Wallet Payment Service

In order to help build traction for its Google Wallet service, Google is exploring how it can unite banks, wireless carriers, payment networks and device makers to carry the payment service. The company is reportedly willing to offer wireless carriers additional revenue to have Google Wallet featured on Android phones. Google’s attempt to revive its mobile payment service comes after a recent announcement by Apple claiming that its Apple Pay is now the leading contact-less payment service.  Continue reading Google Seeks Carrier Support to Revive Wallet Payment Service

Study: Apple Pay Accounts for One Percent of Digital Payments

According to research firm ITG, Apple Pay already accounts for one percent of all digital payments. The mobile payments system, introduced in October, has experienced its greatest usage with Whole Foods, Walgreens and McDonald’s. ITG also explains that consumers using Apple Pay increased their spending and frequency of use, resulting in a sales jump for participating merchants. By comparison, Google Wallet was introduced more than three years ago, and currently holds about four percent of digital payments. Continue reading Study: Apple Pay Accounts for One Percent of Digital Payments

Apple Introduces Two New iPads, 5K iMac and OS X Yosemite

During a 90-minute event at its headquarters in Cupertino yesterday, Apple unveiled two new iPads (the iPad Air 2, starting at $499, and the iPad mini 3, starting at $399), a 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display, and its new operating system, OS X Yosemite. CEO Tim Cook explained that the new Apple Pay mobile payment service will launch on Monday with more than 500 partners including American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Cook also said that the Apple Watch would be available early next year. Continue reading Apple Introduces Two New iPads, 5K iMac and OS X Yosemite

YouTube Feature Enables Fans to Donate to Content Creators

In order for online video producers to make money, YouTube offers a feature that allows viewers to donate to their favorite artists. Independent content creators are the major source of revenue for YouTube, and while some of them do make money through pre-roll ads, it is not enough for many. Now, Google offers Fan Funding so viewers can essentially tip their favorite video creators. The feature works in both the browser and the Android app, and all transactions are processed by Google Wallet. Continue reading YouTube Feature Enables Fans to Donate to Content Creators

Amazon Debuts its Digital Wallet App in Time for Fire Release

Amazon’s first smartphone, the Amazon Fire, hit stores on Friday preloaded with a digital wallet app that can store users’ loyalty cards and gift cards. About 70 retailers, including stores such as Whole Foods, GameStop, and AMC Entertainment are participating in the service. Customers can redeem their gift cards and rewards at stores by using the app-generated scanable barcode. The Amazon Wallet app is also available for download through the Google Play app store. Continue reading Amazon Debuts its Digital Wallet App in Time for Fire Release

Google Unveils New Prepaid Debit Card Using Google Wallet

Google is now offering a prepaid debit card that can be used in stores and at ATMs. Using Google Wallet, consumers will be able to access funds just like they would with a regular debit card. The Wallet Card will be accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted, and is free without any monthly fees. The card will also provide Google with consumer information like what was purchased and for how much — even the name and address of the consumer would be recorded. Continue reading Google Unveils New Prepaid Debit Card Using Google Wallet

Will Online Services and Apps Replace Local Bank Branches?

More banking is done digitally today and new financial services are emerging from a variety of companies. Banks themselves are using third-party services for their customers. Banks may have a diminishing role in consumers’ financial lives, giving rise to companies that provide banking and other management services. Critics say banks are slow to innovate, while others suggest they are taking a careful, combined approach with physical and digital services. Continue reading Will Online Services and Apps Replace Local Bank Branches?

Index: Startup Aims to Personalize Your Shopping Experience

Marc Freed-Finnegan and Jonathan Wall left the Google Wallet team in 2012 to launch their own startup. Many thought the two would develop a rival mobile wallet, but the duo’s new venture is heading in a different direction. Called Index, the startup “is essentially offering to turn every store into the same sleek, technology-driven experience of an Apple store, where you get that one-two punch of efficient, yet tailored service,” explains Wired. Continue reading Index: Startup Aims to Personalize Your Shopping Experience

NFC App Review: Katie Boehret Offers Her Two Cents on Google Wallet

  • As reported on ETCentric yesterday, Google Wallet rolled out this week. The technology allows you to pay for products and services by merely swiping your phone over a “tap payment” terminal (only MasterCard PayPass-enabled terminals right now). While only the Nexus S 4G phone is currently supported, there will be more phones coming soon that include the NFC (near field communication) chip.
  • Reporting for All Things D, Katie Boehret took the mobile app for a test drive. “I’ve been trying Google Wallet in Washington, DC, and Palo Alto, California, and I find it delightfully easy to use,” she writes. “Though still in its infancy, it isn’t hard to imagine digital payments catching on and becoming commonplace.”
  • Boehret points out that only the Citi MasterCard can be added to Google Wallet for now, but a Google Prepaid Card can accept other credit cards, and Google says other cards are coming (the company is working with Visa, Discover and American Express).
  • PayPal and Square are working on their own digital-payment systems, both of which do not require the NFC chip, so they will work on many phones.
  • Beyond payment, Google Wallet will let you register your store loyalty and gift cards (expect to see this from the likes of CVS, Macy’s and American Outfitters); however, you cannot register forms of ID, suggesting that despite its ease-of-use, the app is not a replacement for your wallet.
  • “Google Wallet can’t hold your driver’s license or other official forms of identification, so even if it takes off and works everywhere, you’ll still have to carry your license with you,” concludes Boehret.

Get Ready to Tap Away: Google Wallet NFC App now Live in Limited Locations

  • Google’s long-awaited Wallet app, which works via near-field communication (NFC) technology, is now officially live in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC.
  • The service allows users with a current Paypass-enabled Citi Mastercard to pay at retail stores (and any other businesses with a contactless payment — or “tap payment” terminal) simply by waving their NFC-enabled phone.
  • “In the app, users will be able to link their Citi card with Google Wallet,” explains TG Daily. “That is, when they go to a drug store or fast food restaurant, or take a cab, or anywhere else that has a contactless payment terminal, all users will need to do is open the app on their phone, tap it to the credit card terminal, and that’s it.”
  • While there are still many limitations — users must also have a Sprint Nexus S phone (for now) — this is the first step toward a mobile payment system for which Google has big plans.
  • “For those of you worried about security, Google tells us that your card information will be stored in a single place, on a chip,” reports The Next Web. “That means that it should be at least somewhat firewalled from unauthorized software access. However, there is another failsafe that limits new cards to $100 until the owner releases the limitation so that should help to quell any fears.”
  • Google explained in May that the system was ready for action at over 300,000 merchants, with another 120,000 possible. And additional credit card companies will be joining the effort soon. According to a Google blog post: “We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.”

PayPal Will Process $3 Billion in Mobile Payments for 2011

  • PayPal’s new 2011 estimate for mobile payment processing of $3 billion is twice what the company estimated last year.
  • The $3 billion is divided into two categories: 1) individuals using Paypal’s mobile app to transfer money to each other, and 2) people completing purchases on mobile online commerce sites.
  • The PayPal online payments service (owned by eBay) has 8 million users and is processing up to $10 million/day in mobile total payment volume.
  • PayPal’s competitors include Google Wallet, Square and credit card companies.