Payment

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  • Retail's response to Apple Pay and Google Wallet already hacked

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.29.2014

    If the retailers backing the CurrentC mobile payment system hope to topple NFC-based technology like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, they may need to improve their safeguards for your data. CurrentC is now warning people in its beta program that "unauthorized third parties" (read: hackers) swiped some of their email addresses. While that appears to be the only information at risk, the loss isn't an auspicious sign for a service that's still months away from launch -- especially one that touts privacy and security as "top priorities." It's not clear who's responsible, either, although the platform's architect, the Merchant Customer Exchange, says that it's still investigating the breach. Whatever happened, it's safe to say that the incident underscores one of the main concerns of middleman-based payment systems like CurrentC. Handing sensitive info to in-between providers, no matter how careful they are, leaves you that much more vulnerable to theft.

  • Drug stores drop Apple Pay and Google Wallet to push their own payment tech

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.25.2014

    If you're bent on using Apple Pay or Google Wallet for your shopping, you may have to be finicky about your choice of drug stores. Both CVS and Rite Aid have shut off their support for NFC-based payments just days after Apple Pay went live. Try to tap your phone and you'll get an error, or nothing at all. The companies haven't publicly discussed why they're cutting off the handy feature, but this is ultimately an attempt to stifle competition. Both pharmacies are part of the Merchant Customer Exchange, a retailer group whose its own QR code-based mobile wallet system (CurrentC) reaches these stores in 2015. As a memo obtained by SlashGear suggests, they'd rather deny all NFC payments than risk building support for rivals, particularly when they don't eliminate credit card fees like CurrentC does. Suffice it to say that this will be very inconvenient if you're a frequent customer, and you'll currently have to visit the likes of Duane Reade and Walgreens if you want to avoid paying with old-fashioned cash or plastic. [Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

  • Bank of America issues refunds after double-charging Apple Pay users

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.22.2014

    Went on a spending spree with your Bank of America debit card the moment Apple Pay hit your iPhone? You might be in for a (brief) shock. The bank is now issuing refunds after it charged at least some Apple Pay users twice when they made purchases at retail shops. While it hasn't said what triggered the glitch, the issue doesn't appear to involve Apple's software -- there haven't been widespread reports of problems with other cards, and Apple itself doesn't process transactions. Whatever was the cause, it's not surprising that a major mobile payment service would run into some hiccups just after launch. Let's just hope that things go more smoothly from here on out.

  • New White House efforts help secure your payments

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.19.2014

    American banks and stores may already be planning to tighten your payment security, but the White House wants to give those efforts a boost. President Obama has signed an Executive Order that will require the federal government to both issue more secure chip-and-PIN (aka EMV) payment cards and upgrade terminals to match. This isn't just for protecting day-to-day staff expenses -- it also means that pensions, Social Security and veteran payments (all of which tend to go through official debit cards) should be safer. There should also be fewer risks when you're buying from federal locations like national parks and the passport office.

  • Apple Pay launches Monday with support from Starbucks, Macy's and others

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    10.16.2014

    Apple has just kicked off the iPad extravaganza with a big piece of news about its Apple Pay initiative. It'll launch this Monday, and now has the support of 500 US banks along with major retailers like Starbucks, Macy's, McDonald's, Disney, Walgreens and Target. To remind you, Pay will make it possible to use your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the till (or online) instead of pulling out a credit card, since they're the first Apple handsets with contactless NFC. It'll work in conjunction with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, and let you use any credit cards you've stored in Passbook. Meanwhile, the new iPhones' Secure Element chip encryption is fenced off from iOS and iCloud, so that even Apple itself can't see confidential purchase information. If you're good with all that, you can give it a crack starting October 20th -- a partial list of retailers is available here.

  • Verizon's Edge program changes make you wait longer to upgrade

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.15.2014

    Eyeing an upgrade to the Droid Turbo? An iPhone 6? Maybe the One M8 for Windows? If you're on Verizon's Edge payment program, you're going to have to be more patient than usual -- or at least, open your wallet a little wider. The carrier has confirmed a Droid-Life leak revealing that Big Red is modifying Edge in a way that makes it harder to upgrade quickly. As of October 16th, payments for new devices will normally be distributed over two years, rather than 20 months; if you can't wait that long to get new gear, you'll have to pay off 75 percent of the hardware price rather than 60 percent. In practice, that means that you'll either be waiting at least 18 months to trade up (instead of 12) or else paying more to accelerate the upgrade process.

  • You can now tweet money to friends, if you live in France

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    10.13.2014

    Starting tomorrow, any French resident with a bank account and Twitter handle will be able to transfer money simply by tweeting it. The new service, dubbed S-money, was launched last month by French mega-bank BPCE and Twitter. It differs from Twitter's Buy Now, which lets users to pay for goods at companies like Home Depot and Burberry using an embedded "Pay" button. Instead, S-money is aimed at person-to-person transactions, letting you send money to friends without needing their banking details. Details are scarce on exactly how it works, but a BPCE spokesman said it's "perfectly adapted to the Twitter experience." By the way, my own Twitter handle is @stevetdent. #kerching

  • Kmart's registers were hacked, credit and debit card numbers at risk

    by 
    Sean Buckley
    Sean Buckley
    10.10.2014

    Get ready to call your credit card provider again -- another major US retailer has reported that its payment system has been compromised. Kmart's IT team quietly announced that malware has been found in its stores' register systems, noting that both debit and credit card numbers have been stolen. The breach seems to have occurred in early September, meaning any purchase made at the chain in the last month and a half is potentially at risk. Security experts say attackers have enough information to possibly duplicate payment cards, but not necessarily steal your identity: personal information, pin numbers, addresses and social security data have not been compromised. Still, it's a big enough breach that Kmart shoppers will want to call their financial providers. Ugh. Happy Friday news dump, everyone. [Image credit: Shutterstock]

  • Plastc wants to be the only credit card you'll ever need

    by 
    Mariella Moon
    Mariella Moon
    10.08.2014

    Your fat wallet wants to meet Plastc -- a device which its manufacturers claim can replace most of the credit/gift/loyalty cards you currently mule about. It works by pairing with an app on your phone (via Bluetooth), which provides near unlimited storage for all your cards (Plastc itself can only store up to 20). The app also logs your transaction history. Does this all sound a little familiar? That's because you're probably recalling a similar device called Coin launched back in 2013. Just like Plastc, it, too, can store various card details that you can call up, depending on which one you want to use. The bad news is that Coin, which promised to ship the first units this year, moved its ETA to spring 2015 (though there's a beta test going on) -- something pre-order customers obviously weren't happy with. So, one has to wonder if an unknown company will be able to do what Coin couldn't and release such an ambitious product on time?

  • Code hints that Facebook Messenger will let you pay your friends

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.05.2014

    If you've ever had a Facebook friend in need of some money, you may soon have a way to pay them without much fuss. Stanford student Andrew Aude has shown off hidden code in Facebook Messenger's iOS app that will let you send funds much in the same way that you share a photo; you just have to add a payment card and a PIN code. The transaction is private and appears to be free at the moment, although it won't be surprising if Facebook eventually takes a small cut of each transfer.

  • NFC on the iPhone 6 is limited to Apple Pay, at least for now

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    09.16.2014

    If you were hoping to use NFC on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to pair with your camera or share files with friends... well, you'll have to keep waiting. Apple has confirmed to Cult of Mac that the new iPhones' near field wireless is currently limited to use with Apple Pay. In other words, you won't see it used either for core iOS features or in third-party apps, at least not in the near future. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the technology will go to waste in the long run. We already know that the Apple Watch can unlock your hotel door, so the crew in Cupertino isn't averse to letting developers use NFC for tasks beyond payments. And if you'll recall, Apple initially limited its Touch ID fingerprint reader to unlocking the iPhone and making iTunes purchases before opening it up to developers in iOS 8; it wouldn't be surprising to see expanded NFC support on the iPhone once Apple is more comfortable.

  • US carriers are bringing their tap-to-pay wallet to the iPhone 6

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    09.10.2014

    Don't worry that Apple Pay will be the only game in town for tap-to-pay shopping on your iPhone 6. The carriers behind Softcard (aka Isis) have revealed that they're working with Apple to bring their NFC-based payment system to newer iPhones sometime in 2015. While you'll need a Softcard-aware SIM card in your phone for this to work, you hopefully won't have to slap a bulky case on your device this time around. It's doubtful that this solution will work as elegantly as Apple Pay, which doesn't even require that you launch an app, but it should let you purchase with your iPhone in considerably more places.

  • Working next-gen iPhone reportedly spotted with payment support built-in (update: video)

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    09.06.2014

    We've seen way, way too many leaks of the next iPhone's design, but none of them have shown a truly functional device -- until today, apparently. With the help of cnBeta, Chinese leaker zzray has posted photos and video that reportedly show off a fully functional 4.7-inch iPhone. On the surface, it's exactly what you'd expect: it's the iPhone 5s on a grander scale, with more real estate for icons and other content.

  • Coin makes up for its delayed smart card launch with an expanded beta test

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    08.23.2014

    Not happy that Coin said it was only shipping a beta version of its Bluetooth credit card this fall, rather than the finished product it originally promised for the summer? You're not alone -- and the company is aware that it needs to make amends for angering early adopters. The fledgling payment firm has apologized for both the delay and lack of transparency by significantly expanding the reach of its beta program. It's planning to run a nationwide test for beta backers at "no cost," and it will expand the initial number of slots in that dry run from 10,000 to 15,000 -- not a perfect solution, but definitely more accommodating. It's also hoping to increase the number of slots over time, so you may not have to wait for the finished product if you miss out on the first wave.

  • Shift's debit card lets you pay with both real and virtual money

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    08.13.2014

    Part of the challenge of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies has simply been the need to juggle different apps and cards to use every payment option at your disposal. Wouldn't it be nice if one card could handle everything? You might just get your wish. Shift Payments is testing a new debit card that can switch between real and virtual money on the spot, such as through an app; you could pay for morning coffee with Bitcoin and after-work groceries using real cash. Loyalty card support is in the works, too.

  • Square's new chip card reader will make your payments more secure

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.30.2014

    There's a good reason you don't usually see Square readers outside of the US: they're built to read payment cards with magnetic stripes, not the more secure chip-and-PIN cards that are common everywhere else. All that's set to change, however. Square has revealed plans for a reader that accepts the chip-based EMV format alongside stripes, letting shops handle credit and debit cards from around the world (and the US, once it catches up). The company will only start taking pre-orders for the payment device later this year, but it could be worthwhile for stores and customers alike. Besides the greater availability, it's much harder to clone a chip card -- you shouldn't have to worry about an unscrupulous clerk (or a clever hacker) stealing your credit card and going on a shopping spree.

  • Amazon is reportedly making a Square-like payment card reader

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.27.2014

    Amazon's business may revolve around online shopping, but the company apparently has some interest in brick-and-mortar retail -- there are now hints that it's launching a Square-style payment card reader. The crew at 9to5Mac has obtained documents from Staples showing that a $10 "Amazon Card Reader" is launching sometime in the near future. While there's no exact release date on hand, the office supply store is expected to start advertising Amazon's gadget on August 12th; logic suggests the peripheral would go on sale around then.

  • Starbucks wants you to use its app for payments in other stores

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.19.2014

    Starbucks' mobile apps could soon let you buy much more than your next grande latte. The coffee shop's digital lead, Adam Brotman, tells Recode that the coffee shop giant is talking to companies about using its app for payments and loyalty programs in other stores. He's not naming any would-be allies, but the strategy would turn a fairly ordinary restaurant app into more of a universal digital wallet that just happens to focus on drinks. And even if that doesn't pan out, Starbucks is still committed to expanding the role of its software -- it's determined to offer coffee pre-orders across the US, regardless how long it takes to make the feature work.

  • Google's Wallet apps now handle your gift cards

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.16.2014

    Gift cards are supposed to be pleasant surprises, but they can frequently be headaches; assuming you remember to bring them in the first place, you have to keep tabs on any leftover credit. They should be easier to manage after today, though. Google has just rolled gift card support into the Wallet apps for both Android and iOS. All you have to do is either snap a photo of a card or type in its info. After that, you can safely leave the plastic at home. Some merchants, such as AMC, Best Buy and Whole Foods, will also show the remaining balance on their cards.

  • Visa's latest stab at online payments is all about checking out faster

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.16.2014

    Remember V.me, Visa's big attempt at conquering the online payment space? You'll be forgiven if you don't -- it quickly fizzled out, in part because it was a digital wallet that sometimes made shopping more complicated. The company may have learned its lesson, though. It just launched Checkout, a considerably simpler approach to e-commerce. The focus here is purely on getting through the checkout process as quickly as possible. Once you've put in the details of supported credit or debit cards (including non-Visa cards), you just have to log in to complete a purchase, whether it's on a website, Android or iOS. There's no in-between wallet, and you won't get kicked over to another page just to wrap up a transaction.