Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where's the Greatest Danger to Bank Control of Retail Payments?

Banking entity sentiment about the danger of upstart mobile payments systems to existing dominance of banks in the credit and debit card payment business tends to fluctuate between genuine alarm and quiet confidence. The new attackers are nothing if not self confident, but displacing incumbents in any business typically is harder than it seems.

It would be entirely rational for banks to consider their responses, take stock of vulnerabilities and then move to eliminate those vulnerabilities.

PayPal is arguably the best known of challengers that are trying to displace banks in the payment business.

FIS and Paydiant are among the firms developing cloud-based solutions that can be integrated into a bank’s mobile app, creating a simple mobile payment capability that mimics what PayPal is trying to do. Mobile Wallets: NFC or Cloud?

Apple Slashes iAd Pricing

Apple is more used to winning big than losing, but sometimes it does lose. One example is Apple's iAD service, which once was envisioned as a "premium" mobile ad network featuring visually stunning ads and sold for high prices.

It doesn't appear to be working out that way. Apple is cutting the minimum amount it charges advertisers to run a campaign on its iAd mobile ad system and boosting the amount it pays mobile app developers.

Advertisers will now have to spend just $100,000 for Apple mobile campaigns running in iPhone and iPad apps, down from a previous $500,000 threshold and a significant reduction from the initial starting price of $1 million in 2010, Apple Slashes iAd Pricing

Twitter Uploads Your Entire Mobile Address Book

Twitter Inc. has acknowledged that after mobile users tap the "Find friends" feature on its smartphone app, the company downloads users' entire address book, including names, email addresses and phone numbers, and keeps the data on its servers for 18 months. The company also said it plans to update its apps to clarify that user contacts are being transmitted and stored.

The company's current privacy policy does not explicitly disclose that Twitter downloads and stores user address books. 
Privacy issues always are important, for any application. Just be aware of the policies. 

Android Will be 80% of Smart Phones in Africa, India and China

The Android OS will start to displace Nokia and Symbian as a dominant mobile operating system in many parts of the developing world, a new study by NPD In-Stat might suggest.

New NPD In-Stat research forecasts that low-cost Android handsets will reach a penetration rate of 80 percent of total smartphones in Africa, India, and China by 2015. 

Verizon, AT&T to Sell 4G iPad

Verizon Wireless and AT&T will sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation Long Term Evolution wireless networks, says the Wall Street Journal.

Apple appears to be planning to announce the latest version of its tablet computer in the first week of March.

Whether other carriers will also sell the device isn't clear, but Sprint Nextel does not yet have its LTE network built, T-Mobile USA has no spectrum to do so, and Clearwire, though planning to build an LTE network, will operate only in wholesale mode, so won't be selling handsets to end users Verizon, AT&T to Sell 4G iPad

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the only two U.S. carriers that currently sell the iPad, and are also the only two that already have operational LTE networks.

Of course both AT&T and Verizon Wireless would have argued for exclusivity, at least for a period of time, as that has proven to be a viable selling point in the mobile market. The iPads and other tablets do not absolutely require a mobile connection to work, of course, but service providers obviously hope that more consumers will choose to buy such access.

Global Smart Phone Sales Up 47% in Fourth Quarter 2011

Worldwide smartphone sales to end users grew to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 47.3 per cent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Gartner analysts.

Total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472 million units and accounted for 31 percent of all mobile devices sales, up 58 percent from 2010. Smart phone sales

Apple and Samsung were notable for their sales volume, other suppliers more notable for failing to match Apple and Samsung.

, more than anything else, now is shaping the global smart phone business, one might argue after considering the latest estimate by Strategy Analytics of market share in the global handset business.

Globally, Apple and Samsung have, over the last 12 months, surged to the top of the charts in terms of smart phone sales volume. In the past, the “smart phone” category has not been significant, as all devices were feature phones or basic phones.

As the market begins to shift to a smart phone buyer pattern, differences in firm strategy and execution have lead to a rapid change in market leadership.

Global smart phone shipments grew 54 percent annually to reach a record 155 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to Alex Spektor, Strategy Analytics associate director. That apparently has proven to be a decisive change. Apple, Samsung dominate profits

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PayPal Taking Different Tack than Isis, Google

Up to this point, the potential attraction of mobile payments for retailers has been the promise of lower transaction fees for accepting credit card payments. Debit card fees might less a concern these days, but the point is that the most direct value for an upstart payment system is that it costs the retailer less to support.

Up to this point, that has not generally been the case. New mobile payment systems have offered costs higher, or equivalent, in most cases, and only now are some suppliers, mostly smaller firms, offering lower fees.

Some think PayPal might be the first large new provider to try the "lower fees" route. PayPal might actually subsidize its new payment system, allowing retailers to process PayPal transactions at lower costs than has been the case for credit card transactions, for example.

If PayPal can grab a two percent share of checkout at physical stores that would create a $70 billion business, according to eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe. PayPal to attack transaction fees?

That attack on the level of payments transaction fees is not restricted to PayPal. Some other would-be mobile payments providers do offer clear transaction processing fee advantages to retailers. But PayPal has the brand name and heft to create critical mass in the business, something that will be hard for smaller providers to equal.

By hoping to build on its online transaction fee business in the offline world, PayPal is taking quite a different tack than Google or Isis, both of which now are focusing only on revenue streams outside the transaction fee orbit.