The Missing Link in Mobile Payments 

missing links in mobile payments

There are so many companies vying for space on the mobile payment court that, even at this early stage, the market is shaping up like a tin of sardines. Tech companies, social media services, payment providers, banks and retailers are battling to claim an early slice of the still-baking pie. However, even with this level of competition, there’s still one industry keeping quiet. And it may hold the ticket to mobile payments arriving in the mainstream.

Who Are the Major Players?
Paypal is set to split with eBay to concentrate on its own business, with offline and in store mobile payments being a big part of its future plans. Although PayPal is rivaling Amazon and Square from a B2B payment handling perspective, it’s also playing a role on the consumer side in encouraging shoppers to pay in store, on mobile, via PayPal.

Phone Manufacturers 
Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with Apple Pay, which uses near field communication (NFC), coupled with its fingerprint scanning technology to trigger payments from credit card information stored in Passbook. NFC has featured on Android phones for some time, but it’s Apple’s knack for making things work that has the industry predicting its success.

Rivalling Apple Pay is Google Wallet, which also uses NFC, but has only been adopted by the small group of tech enthusiasts so far. However, the same can be said for all other mobile payment options, given the market’s infancy. 

Social Networks
Twitter announced this week that it has teamed up with the largest bank in France, Group BPCE, to launch mobile payment platform, S-Money. This trial will test the waters and, if all goes swimmingly, S-Money could cause a major upset to the likes of PayPal, Google Wallet and Apple Pay, given the vast user base of Twitter.

Joining the party, Facebook recently leaked photos of alleged mobile payment-enabled code that’s sparked rumors of its messaging app having the capability to transfer money.  

Payment Processors
Mastercard’s MasterPass and Visa’s Checkout are digital representations of customer credit cards and see the two payment middle-manning heavyweights also foray into the mobile payment space. 

Banks
There are also rumors of the banks introducing mobile payments via their apps, so that you could pay straight from your bank, direct to the retailer. This will bypass third party services such as PayPal or Apple Pay and potentially provide the most convenient, secure and trusted payment service on offer. 

The Missing Link
Each of the above companies has the potential to dominate the mobile payment market. But, there’s one industry that could disrupt this and it hasn’t yet reared its head.

Network Providers
I’m sure we’ve all used SMS messaging to donate to charities. You text an amount to a number and the cost is added to your cell phone bill at the end of the month. This is perhaps the most convenient method of payments for users and doesn’t require any other account or registration with a third party payment operator. 

What if you could pay in-store for high-ticket items in the same manner? Just text the retailer with the item number and the amount is added onto your phone bill.

The potential is certainly there for cell phone networks to overtake third party payment providers while the night is still young. After all, network operators already have a captive market, secured into contracts, with people that trust them and are familiar with the payment process.

Standardizing Payments
The difficulty in standardizing mobile payments will be immense and the competition inevitably strong. There won’t be room for everyone and we’ll likely see some fall by the wayside. As with any emerging industry, getting first to market may prove to be imperative. But one thing is for sure, cell phone operators could cause a major upset to these first movers, if they get a move on themselves.

Will mobile payments help your business? We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Posted by Thursday, October 23, 2014 5:08:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C ecommerce online marketing web trends website security

Do You And Your Business Feel Secure Online? 

online security

Every so often, we hear of an internet virus or scam or threat to our security or privacy that rattles the growing internet community like a babies toy. Are these threats genuine causes for alarm for your business? Or can you sleep safe knowing that your hosting provider has it covered?

The Big Four
Over the years, we’ve had Storm, Sasser, MyDoom and Melissa, four of the biggest and baddest computer viruses of all time. They were disseminated through the internet, causing major issues, not just for users, but also for companies like Microsoft and Google that were directly affected. 

More recently, Apple fell victim to a security frailty in its iCloud backup and storage facility that seen celebrity accounts hacked and private photos spread across the web.

SPAM and Phishing
There’s a constant battle against SPAM and phishing emails, which see scam artists set up fake companies and websites in order to pry personal details from recipients via email. Even though the internet community is working hard and has clamped down on phishing scams, they do still rear their ugly little heads every once in a while. 

Recently, in Ohio, 150,000 customers and employees of the E-ZPass tolling system were targeted by a phishing scam where hackers attempted to rein in tolling payment into their own bank accounts.

Heartbleed
We had the Heartbleed virus last autumn that caused heartache for many internet users that had various usernames and passwords stolen for websites such as Yahoo. This was the biggest threat we’d seen for years and had users across the globe clambering to change all of their internet passwords.

The New Worm
And now, the latest cause for alarm is apparently the Shellshock Worm. It threatens nearly 20% of web server operating systems and could have a worse effect than Heartbleed. 

The vulnerability is relating to a few lines of code in Bash, a program that runs on Linux and Unix operated servers across the globe. Apparently, if this bug is woken, it can jump from server to server, stringing together like a worm, and could end up causing huge problems for networks the world over. 

The Impact
What would happen if your entire site went down tomorrow? What if all of your user’s data or financial information was leaked? The thought doesn’t bare thinking about.The more we hear about these threats and frailties, the more confidence people loose in the internet. It may not be a problem for developers and those with an innate technical knowledge of how the internet works, but what about the small business owners and the average online customer? 

You’re Safe With Us
At Fast Track, we don’t run the Bash program, so our clients are in safe hands. We’re working daily to protect the privacy of our clients and tirelessly on the security of our systems. Your confidence and trust means more to us than anything else and your safety remains paramount. 

Your Thoughts…
Do you feel confident and secure online both personally and from a business perspective? It would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Posted by Tuesday, October 7, 2014 1:16:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C SMB website security