Big Tech Battle of Market Caps: Amazon’s market cap has hit a significant milestone. With a new high of $900 a share, the company’s recent market cap stood at more than $430 billion. That’s nearly twice the market cap of Walmart and has three times the revenue of that stalwart eCommerce player. The lesson here? In the stock market, sometimes sizzlers keep sizzling, especially when online sales are in the offing.
FinTech: Amid JPMorgan Chief Jamie Dimon’s letter to investors — heavy on the cautionary statements about America and its domestic challenges — one eye-popping stat stood out. The banking giant has spent $600 million on FinTech initiatives, with more likely to come, demonstrating that money is flowing into the firm’s commitment to digital payments.
Visa/Paypal International Focus: The Visa/Paypal relationship is now expanding to the Asia-Pacific region, where a variety of in-store payment methods will be explored, and forthcoming, working with and possibly even helping expand mobile wallet adoption.
Hacking, Hacking Everywhere: The venerable Samsung brand may be under attack. Literally. Research shows that there are security flaws inherent in coding across several devices that can turn mobile phones, smart watches and TVs into zombie machines that can be compromised by hackers.
Brazilian Bank’s Online Ops Compromised: More evidence of the above, which gives further evidence that dangers can permeate an organization entirely and that consumer devices and banks and all manner of businesses are at risk, from soup to nuts. In this case, a Brazilian bank was compromised in each and every part of its operations, per Kaspersky Labs.
Staples: Yes, in talks for a sale, but the struggle is real and possibly permanent. The office supply store is exploring a bid for a sale to private equity, but luring customers has proved elusive amid dismal sales and a series of attempts at trying to reinvent itself.
Sizzle of the Week : Visa Checkout’s 20 Million Customer Milestone
Visa has been very busy lately. Last week, Visa and Samsung announced a joint partnership that will allow Samsung Pay users in the U.S. to link their Samsung Pay account with their Visa Checkout account for online shopping. The world’s largest card network showed up again in the news cycle earlier this week with another big pair-up play: jointly announcing with PayPal their plans for extending their strategic partnership in the Asia-Pacific market.
But for its final trip to the spotlight this week, the San Francisco-based company had an announcement all its own. Visa’s online buying platform (or mobile wallet — though Visa prefers not to call it that), Visa Checkout, has enrolled over 20 million accounts.
“Visa Checkout continues to simplify the online checkout process for consumers, while helping merchants increase sales and convert items in the cart to completed purchases,” said Sam Shrauger, senior vice president, Digital Solutions, Visa, Inc. “Reaching 20 million enrolled accounts is a huge achievement and further affirms Visa Checkout’s purpose of bringing the trust and security of your Visa card to the evolving digital world.”
The 20 million active accounts were the headline figure, but Visa has lots of news to share, including a big slate of new merchants: HSN, Alaska Airlines, Avis Budget, Cole Haan, Emirates Airline, FIFA, Marriott, Sam’s Club and — the most eye-catching — Walmart.
Visa is also expanding its global footprint. In the next twelve months, the platform is set to roll out to Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine, joining the 22 other nations in which Visa Checkout is currently live.
With 20 million users, Visa has roughly doubled its customer base from this time a year ago, when it was reporting 10 million active users.
Visa is notably growing, which makes it unique among mobile wallets — or mobile wallet-like things — that consumers are using to enable digital payments.
With the new announcement, Visa joins the club with PayPal and Amazon Pay as the only major online checkout services to report growth over the last year. Compare that performance to store-oriented mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay) — where growth is mostly flat — and the story looks pretty clear.
Provide customers with a fast and easy way to checkout online or on mobile from any device — minus the need to constantly type in card information, addresses or logins — and consumers will flock. Provide a new form factor for the same payment they’ve always made, and the enthusiasm will be a bit more muted.
Visa, it should be noted, has 2.5 billion active cards out in the world today, which means despite having doubled up Checkout’s user base over the last year, Visa still has a lot of card members to get onboarded.
But then, Visa has gotten good about getting on with a little help from it’s friends of late — recently PayPal and Samsung — and has shown it is increasingly committed to being a world-class cooperator, instead of just a world-class competitor.
“We are very excited to be working with Visa to offer simple, fast and secure checkout experiences to millions of Samsung Pay users on their mobile devices or desktop,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “Our partnership benefits not only Samsung Pay users but also hundreds of thousands of online merchants who are looking for effective ways to increase their checkout conversion rates.”
Visa is certainly pushing Checkout far and fast. It is good enough for the sizzle this week — and, given the last seven or so days, we suspect they’ll be back.