Brace Yourself – Apple Pay Is Coming On Monday

We’ve known about Apple Pay since its grand introduction at the last Apple event, but that doesn’t make Apple Pay’s official release any less exciting. If anything, some new developments surfaced today that only increases the anticipation. Billed as an easy, secure and private way to pay by Cook, Apple Pay is set for a public release on Monday, October 20.

More Merchants On Board

Merchant acceptance is key to any payment method, and Apple is doing all it can to bring national retailers and franchises on board. Since the last announcement, Apple has persuaded 500 more banks and even more business, like Airbnb and StubHub, to use Apple Pay.

Pay With The New iPad

Unsurprisingly, the new iPad Air 2 arrived with Touch ID embedded, enabling users to pay with tablets, as well as encouraging cross-screen shopping. Right now it seems that it is limited to online shopping, as no mention was made of NFC.

Set for public launch next Monday, Apple Pay is well poised to finally push mobile payment into mainstream, and we can’t wait to see the changes it will bring to consumer behavior.

The French To Tweet Each Other Real Money Soon

Groupe BPCE, the second largest bank in France, is set to announce a new service that will let their customers send money over Twitter, according toReuters. It’s unclear exactly how the service will work, but reportedly it will make use of the bank’s existing mobile payments system S-Money. This move positions Twitter as an alternative to the existing P2P payment services like Venmo. And as with the introduction of the “buy button” earlier last month in the States, it’s up to the consumers to embrace or reject the little blue bird’s entry into eMoney.

Facebook Might Drop Payment Into Its Messaging App

Look out, PayPal and Venmo! According to leaked images, Facebook might build a mobile payment platform that’s seamlessly integrated into its Messenger app. With the service enabled, users could send money to friends with the ease of sending a picture—a much more convenient way than launching another app. Combined with its vast user base, Facebook might just make a grand entry into mobile payment. Whether consumers would trust a company with a spotty track record when it comes to user data, however, remains to be seen.

What The PayPal-eBay Split Would Mean For Digital Payment

EBay’s decision to spin PayPal off next year could give it renewed life: as a public company, PayPal would be able to issue its own stock to help attract talent and retain its growth, which is crucial considering the fierce competition it faces. Aside from its old nemesis Square, newcomer Apple Pay is a serious threat to PayPal in mobile apps, while Stripe has recently signed major partnerships with Twitter and Facebook, not to mention Amazon’s low-key entry into mobile payment.

Moreover, this move could make PayPal a takeover target, with Google often brought up as a possible buyer as it is eager to compete with Apple in mobile payment. Either way, it seems like the digital payment industry is due for a shake-up.

Square Attempts To Fend Off Apple Pay With New App Cash

In its latest attempts to fend off the forthcoming Apple Pay, Square introduced a new Cash App that allows people to text or email money without setting up a Square account. The recipient doesn’t need the app to get a notification, although they do need to submit their banking information for the transfer to work. Overall, it appears to be more user-friendly than other payment apps like PayPal or Venmo, but it seems doubtful that it will prevent Apply Pay from taking over the mobile payment market.

Millennials Ditching Cash And Checks For Mobile Payment

Millennials aren’t just cutting cable cords: the newest trend reports indicate that they’re also cutting back on cash withdrawals in favor of mobile payment apps. Venmo, for instance, reported an impressive 62% jump in usage during this year’s first quarter, with a total of $312 million in processed transactions. It is worth noting that currently mobile payment is primarily used in interpersonal transitions between friends, ranging from dinner tabs to splitting rents, which reveals a true missed opportunity that most businesses have yet to embrace.

TechWreck: Ten Credit Card Breaches of 2014 (So Far)

Given the well-publicized Target security breach last December, you’d think businesses would have been warned to take extra care when it comes to protecting consumers’ payment info. But alas, news about credit card breaches just keeps on coming. And here is a quick review of ten major breaches in the U.S. this year so far:

On Jan 10, upscale retailer Neiman Marcus announced that it started an investigation on a hacker break-in that had compromised an undisclosed large number of customer cards.

On Feb. 7, White Lodging, a company that maintain national hotel brands including Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton and Westin, issued a statement acknowledging a payment data breach at 14 hotels that exposed credit and debit card information on thousands of its guests.

On Mar. 2, National beauty products chain Sally Beauty became the latest victim of a breach targeting their payment systems in stores, with 15 stolen credit cards sharing a similarity of being used recently at various Sally Beauty locations.

On Mar. 28, Liquor store chain Spec’s announced that more than half a million customers at 34 stores owned by the company may have had critical financial information stolen in a sophisticated computer scam.

On Apr. 17, Michaels Stores, the largest arts and crafts chain in the States, acknowledged that a security breach, first reported back in January, had affected up to 3 million customer credit and debit card accounts.

On July 9, More than 10,000 customers of The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Texas was notified that their payment cards had been compromised in a “malicious software attack”.

On July 18, financial institutions across the country reported that multiple locations of Goodwill Industries stores have been identified as a likely point of compromise for an unknown number of credit and debit cards.

On July 23, local restaurant group claims in Delaware claimed that an undisclosed number of Delaware restaurants have been affected by a credit card breach that compromised its point-of-sale software.

On July 31, Sandwich Chain Jimmy John’s reported that it started working authorities to investigate a security breach involving its customers’ credit card data. The scope of this breach has yet to be confirmed.

On Aug. 6, Chinese bistro chain P.F. Chang’s confirmed that 33 of its restaurants across the country revealed were affected by the credit card breach, after two months of investigation since the discovery back in June.

Shift Debit Card: The Future Of Payment?

Shift Payments, a Y Combinator-backed startup, is testing a new breed of debit card that aims to make it easier to use digital currencies, cryptocurrencies and loyalty points in real life. Currently integrated with both Coinbase and Ripple accounts, and with plans to add support for regular money and loyalty points soon, Shift aims to develop a truly universal payment solution for both online and offline. Although several domestic banks has raised concerns about its practicality, this debit card by Shift points to a possible future where virtual currency converges with the existing monetary system.

Amazon Quietly Launches Consumer-Facing Mobile Payment App

Amazon has unveiled Amazon Wallet, its consumer-facing mobile wallet app, on both Amazon Appstore and Google Play without much fanfare. For now, the app has yet to support actual mobile payment or even store credit card information, instead limiting its functions to digitally storing gift cards and membership cards. Amazon has long hinted at its ambition at dominating basically every facet of e-commerce, and this app, while still in beta, is a good indication of Amazon’s aspiration in establishing itself in the e-payment field.

Google Wallet Reverts To Plastic

After pushing NFC as the future of payments, Google Wallet will now provide a plastic, prepaid debit card. The decision is a sign that NFC is being adopted at a slower rate than many anticipated as many consumers feel there is not that much friction involved in the current system of payments after all. That said, Square and Paypal have been instrumental in payments going mobile and recent entrant Coin is trying to connect all your cards to a single one managed via an app. Stay tuned as the payments race continues.