Facebook Debuts Payments System For Its Platform, Apps

Facebook unveiled Facebook Pay, a system to enable payments across its own platform as well as Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. The user will be able to send money to people, shop and donate to fundraisers. According to the company, Facebook Pay, which is completely separate from the company’s newly released Calibra wallet and Libra cryptocurrency network, is built on “existing financial infrastructure and partnerships.” Facebook Pay for Facebook and Messenger will debut in the U.S. this week. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Payments System For Its Platform, Apps

Amazon Eyes Low-Income Shoppers With PayCode Service

Amazon recently announced PayCode, a new pay-with-cash option for its online shoppers. The e-commerce giant’s service is the latest step in taking on low-price retail chains like Walmart. The move could help attract the 8+ million low-income households in the U.S. that do not presently have bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. PayCode users can place an order on Amazon and then pay in cash within 24 hours at one of 15,000 Western Union locations. Amazon is also looking to expand its recently developed cashierless Go technology by bringing it to retailers such as movie theaters and airport shops. Continue reading Amazon Eyes Low-Income Shoppers With PayCode Service

DTR and Academics Tackle Faster, Scalable Cryptocurrency

A group of professors from universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley are at work on the Unit-e, a “globally scalable” cryptocurrency that can achieve blazing speeds and retain Bitcoin’s vaunted decentralization. Unit-e will be the first project of the non-profit Distributed Technologies Research (DTR), an academic-formed foundation supported by hedge fund Pantera Capital Management. They hope to design a coin that will process transactions faster than Visa. Continue reading DTR and Academics Tackle Faster, Scalable Cryptocurrency

PayPal to Acquire European Payments Startup iZettle for $2.2B

PayPal plans to make the largest purchase in its history: $2.2 billion for Stockholm-based financial tech startup iZettle. The purchase puts PayPal in thousands of brick-and-mortar retail shops around the world, and sharpens its rivalry with Square, which focuses on small businesses with physical locations. Dubbed the “Square of Europe,” iZettle produces technology and devices that allow almost half a million businesses in a dozen European countries, Brazil and Mexico to accept credit cards. Continue reading PayPal to Acquire European Payments Startup iZettle for $2.2B

Payments Feature Could Make Instagram a Commerce Player

Instagram has quietly introduced a native payments feature that allows users to make purchases without having to leave the photo- and video-sharing app. Once the user registers a debit or credit card and creates a security PIN, native payments are possible through a select number of partners. Facebook-owned Instagram is testing the waters with the ability to book appointments and reservations via businesses such as salons or restaurants, but also envisions the ability for users to purchase movie tickets directly through the app in the future. Continue reading Payments Feature Could Make Instagram a Commerce Player

Amazon’s Plan to Lure Retailers to Amazon Pay via Discounts

Sources say Amazon is making a move that threatens PayPal and banks that issue credit cards: passing discounts it gets on credit-card fees to retailers that use its online payment service. In doing so, Amazon is sacrificing short-term profitability to boost the fortunes of its payments system. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Visa, Mastercard and payment processors First Data and Stripe Inc. partake in the $90 billion per year swipe fee industry, about 2 percent of a typical credit card purchase or 24 cents for debit. Continue reading Amazon’s Plan to Lure Retailers to Amazon Pay via Discounts

Facebook Messenger 2.1 Offers Built-In NLP, Payments SDK

Facebook’s newly debuted Messenger Platform 2.1 features built-in Natural Language Processing (NLP), provided by Wit.ai, a company acquired by Facebook in 2015. NLP has been available to app developers since the acquisition, but Messenger 2.1 is the first time it is a built-in feature. The built-in NLP currently detects common phrases (“hello,” “bye,” and “thanks”) as well as date/time, location, phone number, email and amount of money, all of which trigger an automated response from the bot. Continue reading Facebook Messenger 2.1 Offers Built-In NLP, Payments SDK

Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Out of Messenger’s one billion users, 300 million people are now using its audio and video calling features every month. This represents tremendous growth from Facebook’s first trials with VoIP audio for Messenger in 2013, and video calling in mid-2015. More recently, Facebook launched Instant Video for live connections in Messenger and group audio calling, with hints on plans to introduce group video calling. The idea is that multimedia options will always be part of the ongoing conversation. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Latest Cryptocurrency Cybertheft Could Shake Faith in Bitcoin

Hong Kong exchange Bitfinex was hacked and funds were stolen, marking a setback for digital currency Bitcoin. Bitfinex director of community and product development Zane Tackett posted on Reddit that 119,756 Bitcoins had been stolen. “Before the hacking was made public, that number of Bitcoins would have been worth about $72 million,” explains The New York Times. “Now that the currency has slumped, the figure is closer to $65 million.” During its investigation, Bitfinex has stopped all trading, deposits and withdrawals. The security breach is the latest in a series of events that could impact the viability of virtual currency. Continue reading Latest Cryptocurrency Cybertheft Could Shake Faith in Bitcoin

IBM to Debut Blockchain for Financial Unit Dispute Resolution

As soon as September, IBM will unveil a real-world use of blockchain, the online ledger that records peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions. Since IBM will be one of the largest organizations ever to apply bitcoin to actual business transactions, the move also goes far in validating the nascent cryptocurrency. Currently, IBM Global Financing has $100 million in capital tied up, and the move to blockchain is expected to free up some of it. Blockchain, by removing the middleman, is intended to make financial dealings more efficient. Continue reading IBM to Debut Blockchain for Financial Unit Dispute Resolution

Banks Make Move to Real-Time Person-to-Person Payments

J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other banks just introduced real-time person-to-person payments — something PayPal’s Venmo has done for years — to their five year-old joint effort clearXchange. Previously, clearXchange could take up to three days to transfer money. PayPal upped its game, by signing a deal with Visa to let Venmo and PayPal app users instantly access monies they receive. PayPal and the banks collect no fees on these transactions, which they regard as a gateway to other, paid services. Continue reading Banks Make Move to Real-Time Person-to-Person Payments

New Features, Deals Could Turn Things Around for Apple Pay

Apple Pay is experiencing a rocky road to adoption. On Black Friday, it was used for about half the number of purchases as last year. On the plus side, Apple has added to the list of vendors allowing consumers to use Apple Pay, but the company is also entering the world of friend-to-friend payments, which are expensive to operate and hard to monetize. What could tip the balance is the deal Apple inked with China UnionPay to be used at Chinese cash registers. But only time will tell. Continue reading New Features, Deals Could Turn Things Around for Apple Pay

Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

At this week’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced that it is opening up its Messenger app with a platform for creating apps. This will allow developers to build apps that can integrate with the social network’s instant-messaging service, which presently touts 600 million users. Nearly 50 integrated apps have been created under the program, including those from Bad Robot, ESPN and The Weather Channel. The service also supports 360-degree video with Facebook’s Oculus VR format. Continue reading Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

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

Facebook Unveils Peer-to-Peer Payments on Messenger App

Facebook is adding a new feature that allows its users to send each other money through Facebook messages. Users link their debit cards in order to send their friends money. Unlike PayPal or Venmo, users do not have to “cash out” the funds. The payments transfer directly between debit cards. The new service, which is free to Facebook Messenger users, will roll out in the U.S. in the next few months. It will show up in the Messenger app as a dollar sign, next to the icons for text, photos and thumbs up. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Peer-to-Peer Payments on Messenger App

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