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Putting The Contact In Contactless

Coauthored by Ben Carsley, Managing Editor (@BC_PYMNTS)

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: From Tap-And-Go To Hug-To-Pay?

Why It’s Hot

Late last week, Finextra covered this interesting story on artist Heidi Hinter, who’s putting the contact in contactless payments by creating “wearable technology” that lets users transmit money using physical gestures. Yes, everything from “hugs, high-fives, handshakes and even tap dancing” lets users send and receive money via RFID tags in her project.

“The idea with the physical gestures and payment, the hug and pay and handshake, those bring back a certain physical interaction and opportunity for humans to engage in touch, which often digital technologies doesn’t allow,” Hinder told Finextra.

According to Finextra, Hinder’s “Money No Object” project was awarded a grant by Awesome Foundation London, which will let her test the project in a museum environment.

And depending on the size of that museum, Hinder’s program could face roughly the same acceptance as some mainstream NFC initiatives!

Karen’s Commentary

I guess this gives a whole new meaning to giving someone the finger, now doesn’t it?! I mean just when you think payments ideas can’t get any more bizarre, we get payment by tap dancing. Well, that would make standing in line at the grocery store entertaining, I suppose.

Top Tweet

@HeidiHinder: Excited to take part @fascinate2013 & share #MoneyNoObject frm @CraftsCouncilUK @wshed residency with @Awesome_Londn fascinateconference.com

Here we see Heidi herself acknowledge all of the attention her project is receiving, and a quick gander at her replies and mentions makes it obvious that a lot of people think this is a neat idea. So good luck to you, Heidi. May you fist-bump and tap-dance your way to payments celebrity.

TOPIC TWO: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Sell In Bulk

Why It’s Hot

In what is perhaps my personal favorite payments story of all time, earlier this week we covered the news that the Yankees are now selling tickets for the remainder of their 2013 season through Groupon.

Once the hottest tickets in town, Yankees tickets can now be purchased in groups of eight for main level seats for $35 each ($60 face value) or field level seats for $60 each ($95 face value). Attendance for the 2013 season is down 8 percent from 2012 as the Yankees find themselves unlikely to make the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years.

This is not the first time an MLB team has turned to Groupon to fill its stadium: The Miami Marlins did so in the spring after gutting their team in the offseason and expecting to have a down year. But this Boston-based writer is reveling in the fact that the Yankees now find themselves in the same position as baseball’s cheapest organization.

Better luck next year, guys!

Karen’s Commentary

Three-word reaction from this Boston-based girl….Red Sox Nation. I hope for their sake that the deal at least tipped…

Top Tweet

@chrisheberly: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! “@NESN: Yankees Turn to Groupon to Sell Tickets After Attendance Rates Continue to Decline http://wp.me/p2AlCJ-VNX “

My thoughts exactly.

TOPIC THREE: Much Ado Aboot Deals In Canada

Why It’s Hot

Yesterday, we covered an eMarketer report with some interesting findings from the land up north. It turns out that deals and discounts tend to influence Canadian decision-making when it comes to digital purchasing, and that finding isn’t so strange.

But as to where Canadians still find their deals? They’re not looking towards mobile devices or shopping comparison sites, but are rather still relying on newspapers and physical mail to collect their coupons and vouchers. Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated this was their preferred bargain-hunting method, ahead even of search engines like Google and email alerts.

When it comes to deals in Canada, for many it’s out with the new and in with the old.

Karen’s Commentary

So now we know where the newspaper industry is flourishing! I guess reading the newspaper is a pretty decent way to pass the time during those long, dark cold winters.

Top Tweet

@Canada deals: Costco-Xbox360 Wireless Controller 31.99 (YMMV?) bit.ly/1dURAao

Alas, the eMarketer report – which cited a RetailMeNot and Ipsos study – noted that just 4 percent of Canadians rely on social media to hunt for deals. So as sweet as this offer may be, there’s a good chance that most Canadians will never see it.

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