by Ty Hardison

Google's Hands Free payment app lets consumers pay with just their voice

With Hands Free, consumers can keep their wallets, and their phones, in their pockets.

In 2015, the payment technology world set its sights on eliminating the physical wallet from the point-of-sale. Apple Pay, eventually joined by Android Pay and Samsung Pay, together tried to replace the wallet and the swipe of a card with the tap of a smartphone. New innovations in wearable technology hinted at a future in which connected accessories and clothing would eliminate the need for even taking your smartphone out of your pocket or purse.

Now Google is testing a new "Hands Free" app that allows users to pay using nothing but their voice, leaving the hardware (almost) completely out of the equation. 

The app still relies on the payers' smartphone for its low-power Bluetooth, WiFi and location services, which help it detect and connect to participating stores. But, … more

Real-time payments coming to US

TCH's real-time payment network could be operational by the end of this year.

For years, America's payments infrastructure has been like an audio cassette - it may be reliable, but it lacks the modern features it needs to stay relevant. Now, adding something as revolutionary as the track-skip to our dated cassette tape, The Clearing House (TCH) is bringing real-time payments to the U.S. 

A new national network  The new payments network will eventually connect every bank account in the country, giving consumers, businesses and governments alike the ability to make and process payments instantaneously, eliminating delays of what can sometimes be several days between when a payment is requested and when the funds appear in the recipients account. 

After months of reports that TCH was developing such a network alongside UK-based … more

Mobile POS systems must be built for security

Security may not be as visible as customer experience, but it is far more important to your business.

Mobile payment systems can open up a litany of new avenues for your business, empowering field reps to take payments in the field, giving retailers new opportunities to engage with customers in your store or simply (but importantly!) reducing the cost of doing business.

With more and more businesses realizing the benefit of abandoning their traditional point-of-safe systems, there are now hundreds of options to choose from when selecting a mobile solution for your business. They likely all vary in the way they integrate, how much they cost and the customer experience they provide. However important these factors may be to the way the system performs in your business environment on a daily basis, there is one far less visible feature that is even more crucial: security.

When your … more

Venmo now supports merchant payments

Venmo now allows users to pay merchants with just a tap.

For the first time, consumers now have the option to pay merchants, not just their friends, using PayPal's digital payment app Venmo. Launched on January 27, the feature is currently limited to use within two third-party apps, food delivery service Munchery and events ticket vendor Gametime. But, with services expected to expand soon, these early adopters can offer us a glimpse into how Venmo could change the landscape for in-app payments.

From a consumer standpoint, here's how the service works: iPhone or Android users who have Venmo installed on their phones will see a Venmo button among the checkout options in compatible apps. Then, with just a tap, they will be able to use whatever payment information they have stored in the app to fund their purchase. For PayPal, this marks a … more

Payment Innovation Takes Center Stage at Mobile World Congress

This year's Mobile World Congress featured exciting innovations in the world of mobile payments.

At this month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, some of the best minds in technology shared their ideas for what the next era of mobility will look like. Given its recent bout of attention in the mobile world, it comes as no surprise that payments and mobile wallets were among the most discussed verticals at the conference. Far more surprising, however, was some of the payment technology companies like MasterCard and Visa unveiled. Let's take a closer look at a few of the new payment technologies that made headlines at this year's MWC:

Visa's In-Car Payments When Visa took the stage at MWC, they brought with them not a new type of payment card or smartphone technology, but a car. In partnership with Honda, Visa developed a concept app that would allow drivers of … more

Have you accepted the new MasterCard & Visa cards

Visa and MasterCard card brands have announced options for custom personalization options for new card designs. Merchants should be aware of these options and be prepared to accept any properly presented card at the point of sale.

Visa Personalization Options

Effective immediately, Visa will offer an additional option for clients to personalize card designs by allowing certain elements normally printed on the card front (such as cardholder name, account number and expiration date) to be printed on the reverse side. This design option enables clients to showcase their brand on the front of the card.

MasterCard Personalization Options

Effective immediately, MasterCard will eliminate the requirement for issuers to print the first four digits of the BIN/PAN below the full PAN. As a result, … more

Holiday returns eating into your profits? Here's how to lower your return costs

Don't let returns cut into your holiday profits any more than possible.

Every holiday season, as consumers scramble to purchase all the presents on their lists, retailers enjoy the boost in sales as a little gift of their own. However, they are soon snapped back to reality when revenue falls back to normal in January and customer returns start to eat into the stellar profits they recorded before the holidays.

In fact, most U.S. e-retailers can expect return rates of between 20 and 40 percent of their total online sales, according to Rakuten Super Logistics' recently published "Holiday Returns Handbook."

"Most U.S. e-retailers can expect return rates of between 20 and 40 percent."

For businesses without an optimized return process, these returns can cut into profits beyond just the cost of issuing reimbursements — they may lose even more on … more

Samsung Pay planning to allow online payments in 2016

Samsung Pay is looking to expand past in-store purchases and enable online shopping in 2016.

If 2015 was the year of mobile payment innovation, 2016 could be poised to be the year of online payments — at least for Samsung.

The smartphone company is planning to expand its new mobile payment option, Samsung Pay, to give consumers the option to pay online in the United States, according to reporting by Reuters.

Since it debuted on the company's Galaxy phones this fall, Samsung Pay has boasted to be the most widely accepted form of mobile payment. Despite its relatively recent entry into the market, Samsung Pay has been able to achieve this status by using technology that communicates with the magnetic swipe terminals most retailers already have in their stores, unlike Apple Pay, which requires merchants to install special near field communication (NFC) terminals. … more

EMV puts card-not-present transactions at greater risk of fraud, study says

With EMV bolstering brick-and-mortar stores against fraud, online retailers must be prepared to step up their security as well.

While the introduction of EMV payments has given brick-and-mortar stores an added level of protection against counterfeit transactions, it has put online retailers at an even greater risk of being targeted for fraud.  

According to a report by Aite and RSA, fraudsters will not simply give up when their efforts are thwarted at physical shops. Instead, their energy will be funneled into the path of least resistance. With card-not-present (CNP) transactions becoming the new lowest-hanging fruit for fraudsters, U.S. online merchants should expect to see a massive spike in fraud, according to the report, which cites similar trends following the shift to EMV in Canada and the U.K. 

"The data from Canada's EMV migration paints this picture clearly; counterfeit and lost/stolen … more

How retailers can drive successful EMV transactions

To help consumers successfully complete EMV transactions retails must be proactive.

Even two months after the EMV liability shift, many consumers still struggle to use the new card technology at the point of sale. In fact, people seem to have fewer problems using mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay, despite their relatively low adoption rates. This suggests that merchants and, more specifically, cashiers, still have a long way to go in educating consumers about how best to use their new chip cards. 

This responsibility was destined to fall on cashiers and floor-level personnel at retailers sooner or later, with 2016 promising to be the year that sees the end of magnetic stripe cards at nearly all U.S. merchants in favor EMV or Near Field Communication (NFC)-based payment methods. However, retailers don't necessarily have the luxury to wait much … more