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A Square Scandal, Foursquare’s Newest Service And Jay Z’s POS

Welcome to What’s Trending In Payments – a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines – for better or for worse – this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.

TOPIC ONE: People Love a Good (Square) Scandal

Why It’s Hot

The bastion of journalistic integrity that is the New York Post published a story on Saturday warning of a dangerous new scam sweeping through the streets of the Big Apple: pedicab drivers scamming innocent riders via Square.

“The smartphone credit-card app called Square allows crooked pedicab drivers to overcharge unsuspecting tourists and pedal away scot free,” the post begins.

Even better is the quote from the acting president of the NYC Pedicab Owners Association, Laramie Flick, who decided to lay the blame not on the drivers themselves, but on Square.

"Square just lets you charge people whatever you want,” he said. “They are helping these guys tremendously by doing this. It’s super easy to get an account and super hard for people who get cheated to find you again. Why is that?”

That logic is bulletproof.

Karen’s Commentary

I can sorta see how this could happen. Has anyone ever taken a ride in one of those things? I did a couple of years ago out of desperation when the President was in town and traffic was gridlocked and nothing moved but pedicabs. So off I went from Midtown to Lower Manhattan in a pedicab! (Are you getting the visual here???). Weaving in and out of NY traffic in more or less a tricked out version of a rickshaw makes you so grateful to be alive and in one piece when you reach your destination that you’d probably think $600 was a small price to pay for not being road-kill. But I think the real problem here is that these aren’t Square-savvy pedicab riders—probably tourists from Dubuque—since smart Square users would know to wait 10 seconds for the email before they let the pedicab guy or girl pedal away.

Top Tweet

@JoeKeohane: Dignity surcharge MT @SAI New York City pedicab drivers scam tourists with fees of more than $600 for rides read.bi/13A5nrZ

When you put it like that, $600 seems light.

TOPIC TWO: Foursquare Inches Closer To Commerce

Why It’s Hot

Foursquare announced on Tuesday the launch of its new “Foursquare Ads” platform. Designed as a “self-serve tool” for SMBs, Foursquare Ads uses the same algorithm that powers Foursquare’s Explore engine, and claims to only charge businesses when people visit online listings or physical stores.

“The idea behind these new ads is simple – connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores,” Foursquare’s release said.

Between Square and Yelp and countless others, the concept of monetizing directories is all the rage in payments right now.

Karen’s Commentary

I never got the whole Foursquare mayor thing so at least this seems like a more sensible way for them to make a buck. So, I will be so anxious to hear what Foursquare’s Mayor of Monetization, Jake Furst, has to say on August 13th at PYMNTS Summer School as part of the Foursquare Live Case discussion. And since there are lots of players now who all want that badge (and who got there first), the discussion should be very interesting!

Top Tweet

@mkdavidsen: I’m interested in seeing how they tone down annoyance to users. Need deals. RT @pymnts: Foursquare: Location-based ads are now available

Michael brings up an interesting point here in that targeted advertising can have negative impacts on the consumer end if not balanced with some sort of tangible gain. How Foursquare tries to balance keeping users happy with monetizing the platform will certainly be worth watching.

TOPIC THREE: 99 Problems But POS Ain’t One

Why It’s Hot

In yet the latest example of hip-hop moguls and innovative retail payments solutions coming tighter,  Jay Z’s Rocawear line rolled out an iPad POS and kiosk system across all of its U.S locations this week.

Provided by Teamwork Retail, the cloud-based POS solution works similarly to other solutions in the market, managing data from all devices, securing data backup and providing retail analytics as well. Rocawear’s platform comes with ArmorActive credit card readers and iPad mounting stands as well.

Jay Z’s been a busy man lately, what with the birth of his daughter, his new surprise album and his move into sports agency. So still having time to stay savvy when it comes to POS infrastructure is quite the impressive feat.

You know what they say: the ROC is still alive every time you swipe.

Karen’s Commentary

Good to see that Mrs. Carter’s husband is in a POS State of Mind. I’ll bet that part of the selection criteria was that the solution not have a hyphenated name.

Top Tweet

@mattaddison: Business, man! Virtual-strategy.com/2013/07/24/arm…

Since I have the slightest inclination that there might not be a ton of overlap between PYMNTS.com readers and Jay-Z fans, I’ll refrain from tweeting or writing an entire list of puns here myself.

That being said, if you’re waiting for the end of my PYMNTS sign it would seem like forever is a mighty long time.

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Latest Insights: 

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. The July 2019 Pay Advances: The Gig Economy’s New Normal, a PYMNTS and Mastercard collaboration, examines pay advances – full or partial payments received before an ad hoc job is completed – including how gig workers currently use them and their potential for future adoption.

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