A full week in the news.
EMV officially got to celebrate its first birthday, and while perhaps the cheers were less than rousing, the jeering was also fairly muted.
American Express got to enjoy the big win of the week when an Appeals Court judge overturned an earlier decision that would allow merchants to steer customers away from Amex to other cheaper forms of payment. In a rare reversal for the DoJ and big victory for two-sided markets, the judge found American Express’ rules on customer steering represented no harm for customers and that merchants who didn’t want to take American Express were under no obligation to do so.
We also heard that there was some kind of debate in Long Island, but we presume you already had the down-low on that.
But since payments and commerce have our undivided interest, we’ll make sure you start the week watching the right items.
So, what’s shaking and baking…
Samsung Pay The Latest Weapon In The Wearables War
As of Wednesday (Sept. 28) of last week, Samsung Pay fans will have the option to enroll in the Samsung Pay beta for Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch. To enjoy the wonder of wrist-based commerce, Samsung Pay users have to update their Gear S2 to the latest software update, update the Samsung Gear app on their smartphone and then opt into the beta program within the settings of the app.
There are a few limits in play. The beta is U.S.-based and will only work with a Samsung smartphone since the Samsung Pay app for the Gear S2 needs to be installed through the Galaxy Apps store. What’s more, the report said it won’t work with the cellular-connected Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic variants. Finally, the Gear S2 will only be capable of making NFC payments.
Limitations aside, the move comes as a shot across the bow as Apple is trying to make inroads in the wearable device market, launching the Apple Watch Series 2 earlier this month. The new iteration has GPS and is waterproof, appealing more to fitness-conscious consumers. It also got a big win in the form of Aetna, which announced earlier this week it would subsidize the Apple Watch Series 2 for its members and employees.
But for all the bells and whistles, the Apple Watch isn’t dominant in the U.S. market (though it’s said to be killing it in Australia), meaning Samsung has lots of room to make a move.
Citibank Joins The P2P Party
Better late than never.
Citibank has officially joined the Zelle (formerly known as clearXchange) partnership — the team of banking rivals that already includes Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and U.S. Bancorp, among others, representing the big banks’ best hope of stealing some of PayPal/Venmo’s P2P thunder.
Their Venmo killer has been renamed Zelle and is intended to make it easy for customers to quickly zip money to others, provided that they are banked with one of those five banks. Zelle, which will hit the market in 2017, will allow network users to transfer money via an email address or cell phone number that will be instantly available in the recipient’s bank account. The system can work because banks agree to accept each other’s transfers for instant deposit — even if funds have not fully settled on the back end.
ClearXchange is jointly owned by existing members, though, as of this week’s announcement, Citigroup isn’t currently an owner. The Popmoney app operated by Fiserv Inc. is currently what Citibank offers its customers for transfers. Earlier this year, Fiserv said that Popmoney will also connect with the clearXchange network, paving the way for banks that use Popmoney to opt to use Zelle.
If Zelle can actually make its transfers instant, that will give it a slight edge on services that still have a day or two waiting period before P2P funds can be withdrawn. Not to be out-instant-ed, PayPal’s newest partnership with Visa and Mastercard gives Venmo the ability to also offer instant transfers.
PayPal/Venmo is already pretty well-established at this party, meaning Zelle will have to be more than fast to catch up. And given the current scope of PayPal’s ambitions, assume it will be ready when Zelle gets here.
Speaking of those competitive ambitions…
PayPal And PayLease: Perfect Together
Given the similarities in their names, it seems like PayPal and PayLease were always a natural fit to come together.
And now, it seems, they have with a new strategic partnership.
PayLease offers payments, billing and utility expense management services focused on property management companies and homeowners associations (HOA).
Under the partnership, HOAs and property management companies who use PayLease can now accept PayPal for transactions when collecting rent and homeowners association dues.
“We’re excited to provide more payment options to our property management clients and to residents living in their communities,” commented Dave Dutch, CEO at PayLease, in a press release. “With the convenience associated with PayPal transactions, we are making it easier for millions of renters and homeowners to pay their property manager. That will result in more online payments for property managers, which exponentially simplifies their collection process.”
To make a rent payment online or pay HOA dues, residents will log onto their property management company’s website or PayLease.com where they will be prompted to log into PayPal. Once the payment is complete, the transaction and payment date will be integrated into the property manager’s accounting software, as well as within their PayLease account. The companies said the partnership is the first of its kind for the property management industry.
Initially, PayLease will offer PayPal transactions to a limited number of clients on a first-come, first-serve basis. The company will then offer the option to its entire client base in the coming months.
So, what did we learn this week?
As we approach the end of baseball season and are getting started with the football season, it seems everyone is ready to bring a little extra to the competitions.
Let those FinTech games begin.