Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve survived another Christmas. The gifts have all been opened, and the only thing left to do is finish off the short week at work and toast in the new year.
So, what did you miss while sugar plums were dancing in your head last week?
Target Joins The mPay Party (Flips Off MCX’s Ventilator)
The merchant-centric mobile wallet CurrentC (MCX mobile wallet) got what looked like a pretty big and fatal deathblow two weeks ago with the announcement of Walmart Pay. Or if not a deathblow, certainly a hard enough punch to leave it in on life support.
And then when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse, it looks like Target might have delivered the finishing move, just in time for the new year.
According to Reuters, Target is reportedly developing its own mobile wallet, adding another major “Pay” player to the already crowded mobile payments space. Target has yet to officially confirm the news, but “sources close to the matter” have confirmed that the Target Pay app will allow shoppers to use their phone to pay at the POS.
(We believe that this is what’s called death by a thousand cuts.)
What remains to be seen is what credit card companies Target might partner with for the launch and which specific type of mobile payments it would implement. Sources indicate testing has as of yet not begun.
The broad strokes of the plan so far indicate that, like Walmart, Target will build its payments functionality into its mobile application. It also seems unlikely that the system will be NFC-based, and Target is reportedly more interested in the classic QR code. Target would, of course, like to use its own credit card in-app; Reuters reporting indicates that the payment platform will also likely work with bank-issued credit and debit cards as well.
Why wouldn’t it?
Which may actually be wholly accomplishable with, or without, bank cooperation. Target could, in this case, take a page from Walmart’s book and connect the payment app to its Web accounts that are already registered with the site. The “wallet” works by essentially enabling an eCommerce transaction via the app in the store at the point of sale. No permission from banks needed.
Also no longer needed? MCX and CurrentC it seems, though Target, so far, is officially affirming its participation.
“Target is a participant of the MCX, and we are testing its CurrentC mobile wallet with guests as part of a pilot in Columbus, Ohio,” Target spokesman Eddie Baeb told Reuters.
That is polite but not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Since MCX was first introduced, the notion of a consortium of retail competitors launching a payments scheme seemed ill-fated from the start, and since then, it has been a series of misfires that includes security problems, trouble in the retailer ranks, musical chairs at the executive level and a service that has not made it out of testing yet.
When trouble first started appearing at CurrentC, Apple Pay picked up the discontents. Best Buy, CVS and Dunkin’s have all jumped ship, so to speak. Dunkin’s announced the launch of its upgraded app to include mobile order and pay last month.
In fact, for most of 2015, the rumors on the mobile pay street have been that Target would eventually accept Apple Pay. In June, Target CEO Brian Cornell dropped a big hint that the retailer was open to accepting Apple Pay — indicating that Target would eventually accept the payment option.
“I’d love to have Apple Pay today,” he said, adding that he has spoken with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the possibility. “Once we finish [installing EMV tech], we’ll be open-minded.”
Maybe not as much now as then though.
Money Transfers Have Angered The People, Proclaims The CFPB
While most people are Christmas fans, there is a contingent of people who will always prefer the Seinfeld-invented Festivus with its feats of strength and airing of grievances.
Arguably, our friends at the CFPB love Festivus so much that they actually keep the spirit of the season alive year round with the monthly publication of the consumer complaint roundup.
So, who was the big “winner” in December?
That would be money transfer players and the various woes customers have faced trying to send funds overseas safely, efficiently and without fraud.
The CFPB’s case in point centers on a pinpointed location, this time in Georgia, with 770,100 complaints seen across what the CFPB said encompassed “all products” as of the beginning of this month and 5,100 complaints across money transfer operations.
The money transfer business is a large one, as people ship tens of billions of dollars through these services, and that tally includes both domestic and foreign remittances. About two years ago, the CFPB put in place new rules regarding such money transfer, regulating third-party fees and the ability to cancel transactions.
Regulations aside, however, fraud persists, with 42 percent of complaints centering around it. Delays and customer service issuers were also prominent areas of complaint, as were lingering issues with lack of transparency about the fees and processes.
Turning to the companies that garnered consumer ire, the CFPB said the most-oft cited included MoneyGram, PayPal, Western Union and JPMorgan Chase. Those four companies were the nexus of complaints, with 80 percent of complaints lodged between July and September of this year.
Of course, those also happen to be the largest providers of the services, just saying.
“People rely on the money transfer process to make payments and take care of family members that they cannot be with. Through rules on international money transfers and continued supervision of this important financial service, the bureau is working to make sure that consumers can easily send money without having to worry about delays or hidden fees,” noted CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a statement that accompanied the results.
Yes, apparently this service, too, should be instant and free.
PayPal One Touch Blasts Though 10M User Mark
With less than a full year on the market, PayPal One Touch hit a big milestone to close out 2015.
According to PayPal’s latest figures, One Touch now has 10 million users across 23 countries that use the tool designed to make checkout quicker and more secure online and on mobile without the user having to type in their payment credentials.
PayPal also noted that it is processing over 1.5 million One Touch transactions each week.
“It’s certainly one of the most rapidly adopted products in the history of PayPal, but it’s also one of the most rapidly adopted mobile payment products period,” explained PayPal’s Bill Ready, SVP and global head of product and engineering, in an interview with MPD CEO Karen Webster. “So, we see good continuing momentum from that. But it’s a good milestone to cross.”
PayPal’s latest report also revealed that more than 50 percent of the Internet Retailer 500 and more than 1 million merchants around the world use One Touch.
“We’re bringing the power of the network to bear, that is a great experience, but people can use it at many, many places,” Ready said. “There’s a very wide session of places where it can be used, and I think that’s contributing to why there’s really strong continuing growth in the product.”
PayPal customers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. currently have access to One Touch.
“One Touch is the biggest change to online shopping since PayPal pioneered digital payments more than a decade ago. Unlike new checkout tools that require a login and password, once a customer opts in, One Touch authenticates customer credentials for up to six months so that people don’t need to even login to checkout,” Ready said.
So, what did we learn last week?
Merchants are warming up to mobile — but want it their way. CFPB isn’t loving the cross-border experience and thinks it should be fast and free. And PayPal loves its One Touch, and 10 million of its users do too.