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Archive: News in brief

Apple opens up Touch ID

June 3rd, 2014

The Touch ID fingerprint verification technology built into the iPhone 5S can now be used by third-party developers to secure their applications, Apple’s Craig Federighi announced at the company’s 2014 WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC). A screenshot showing the technology integrated with money management service Mint’s iOS app was included in the presentation. More details are expected to be announced during a Touch ID session on 4 June.

Bitcoin gets Facebook transfers

May 29th, 2014

US startup QuickCoin is making it possible for Facebook users to send Bitcoins to friends from within the social networking platform. “Simply log in, find a friend, click send and they get Bitcoin,” the company says. “QuickCoin works on any device, is usable anywhere in the world and, best of all, QuickCoin transfers are instantaneous, regardless of time or day.”

Finnish banks call for real-time payments

May 29th, 2014

Finland’s banks are inviting proposals to replace their existing urgent payment system with a real-time system operating 24 hours a day, every day. Dubbed Pops, the current system was built in the early 1990s and is now “becoming obsolete”, says the Federation of Finnish Financial Services. The new system needs to cover at least the entire Sepa zone, and provide application-level acknowledgement of payments received by beneficiaries. Interested suppliers have until 12 September 2014 to submit ideas.

John Lewis backs tech startups

May 29th, 2014

Upmarket UK department store chain John Lewis has chosen iBeacon, smart label and in-store digital engagement start-up firms to join JLAB, its first technology business incubator. Localz, Tap2Connect and Viewsy are among five finalists to be supported with cash and office space, which John Lewis says have the potential to “shape the shopping experience of the future”.

Burger chain gets mobile payments

May 28th, 2014

Customers of Finnish hamburger chain Hesburger can today pay for food, connect their loyalty card and redeem offers using Swedish mobile wallet app SEQR. Developed by Seamless, the app is also now available in Finland for Windows Phone 8, as well as existing iPhone and Android platforms. The app is being launched in 120 restaurants and rolled out to the remaining 160 franchise outlets by the end of the year.

NFC detects fake wine

May 28th, 2014

An NFC-based solution to the growing threat of counterfeit wine sold worldwide has been launched by embedded mobile security firm Inside Secure and object identification specialist Selinko. The CapSeal system, using an embedded NFC tag and mobile app platform, allows consumers and traders to see whether a bottle has already been opened. Analysts say some 20% of wine sold worldwide is counterfeit, and up to 50% in some Asian countries, especially for high-end French wines.

Slovakia gets NFC payments

May 19th, 2014

Deutsche Telekom’s MyWallet NFC platform is now available to customers of Slovak Telekom, a Slovakian carrier majority owned by Deutsche Telekom. The service was launched in Germany earlier this month and is due to be introduced in Hungary later this year.

Adafruit publishes NFC wearables DIY guide

May 19th, 2014

Electronics hobby supplier Adafruit Industries has posted a DIY guide to creating wearable NFC devices that can be used to unlock an Android phone. “This guide covers creating an NFC ring, putting an NFC tag in your nail polish, modding your Android installation to read tags from the lockscreen, and creating an automation tool chain to unlock the phone when the desired tag is scanned,” Adafruit says.

LifeLock empties Lemon Wallet

May 19th, 2014

Identify theft protection provider LifeLock has withdrawn LifeLock Wallet, a service built on Lemon Wallet which it acquired for US$50m in December 2013. “Certain aspects of the mobile app may not be fully compliant with payment card industry (PCI) security standards,” says LifeLock CEO Todd Davis. “For that reason, we are removing the LifeLock Wallet application from the App Store, Amazon Apps, and Google Play, and when users open the LifeLock Wallet, their information will be deleted in the app.”

PayPal tests beacons

May 19th, 2014

PayPal Beacon, a mobile payment service that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to let shoppers make “hands free” payments, is now undergoing pilot testing in Palo Alto. “We’re trying to make the payments disappear for people who want them to disappear,” Hill Ferguson, PayPal’s chief product officer, told Bloomberg TV. PayPal Beacon is also being pilot tested in Australia, ahead of a wider rollout planned for later this year.

Square’s finances revealed

May 16th, 2014

Mobile point-of-sale provider Square lost US$100m in 2013 but is making a 34% gross margin on its processing business, according to leaked internal documents seen by Fortune. “Its losses are largely the result of the heavy investment it is making in new products,” the report says.

mPOS use to soar

May 16th, 2014

The number of installed mobile point-of-sale devices is set to grow fivefold to reach 51m by 2019, or 46% of the overall POS market, ABI Research says. Small, medium and large retailers are all looking to incorporate the technology. “Both traditional POS and mPOS can grow together in tandem,” says analyst Phil Sealy, “co-existing and expanding the presence of digital payment acceptance.”

OpenTable adds Glass bookings

May 16th, 2014

Restaurant booking service OpenTable has introduced a Google Glass version of its app. Wearers of the smart glasses can discover local restaurants and book a table by saying “Make a reservation” plus the name of the restaurant they wish to book or “nearby” to discover local options. They then tap to make their reservation at the venue of their choice.

Google Play adds PayPal

May 16th, 2014

Google Play users in 12 countries can now charge the cost of their purchases to their PayPal account. “When you make a purchase on Google Play in these countries, you’ll find PayPal as an option in your Google Wallet; just enter your PayPal account login and you’ll easily be able to make purchases,” Google saysThe company also offers carrier billing in 24 countries.

SMEs ready to embrace mPOS

May 16th, 2014

The use of mobile point-of-sale solutions by small businesses in Europe will take off dramatically in 2014, according to a survey of 2,000 SMEs commissioned by Visa Europe. The number of merchants in five European nations signing up for chip and PIN-based mPOS increased by more than 60% in the last quarter of 2013. “Small businesses have been traditionally reluctant to embrace card payments but across Europe that is changing,” says Caroline Drolet, head of mobile point-of-sale at Visa Europe. “mPOS is the catalyst for that.”

Polish ATMs get biometrics

May 15th, 2014

Poland’s Planet Cash shared ATM network is to allow users to withdraw cash with finger vein biometrics, network operator ITCard has announced. The biometric solution is being provided by Hitachi Europe and will be rolled out to 2,000 ATMs across the country this year.

SF Soup to add iBeacons

May 15th, 2014

San Francisco Soup Company, operator of 17 soup, salad and sandwich restaurants around the Bay Area, has selected mobile solutions provider Punchh to create a customised mobile guest rewards program. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons will “automatically identify loyalty program members with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones as they come near to or enter a SF soup restaurant”, the company says. The new program will launch next month on both iOS and Android.

Bank sends money to Facebook friends

May 14th, 2014

Customers of Singapore’s OCBC Bank can now send up to S$100 a day to any of their Facebook friends from their phone, using a new Pay Anyone feature in the bank’s mobile app. Recipients are notified of a payment via a post on their Facebook wall and must enter a six-digit code given to them by the sender to receive the money. Pay Anyone can also be used to transfer funds to anyone in a customer’s email or phone contacts list.

Square exits mobile wallet business

May 13th, 2014

US mobile payments provider Square is pulling out of the consumer mobile wallet business and its Square Wallet app is no longer available to new customers to download. “Square Wallet provided a very magical experience but didn’t have a lot of the utility value,” Square’s Ajit Varma has told Recode. The company continues to serve merchants, however, and has launched a new click and collect service called Square Order that lets customers place orders with small merchants for collection at a later date or time.

X-Men gets iBeacons promo

May 13th, 2014

Twentieth Century Fox is to use Bluetooth beacons to promote the new X-Men: Days of Future Past movie to cinema-goers in Japan. The campaign makes use of Access Beacon Framework (ABF), a location-aware content distribution system that combines Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, smartphone apps and a cloud-based platform to push the promotion to iOS users.

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