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Archive for February, 2012

Facebook’s New Initiative Promises to Make Cross-Platform Mobile Payments Real | Epicenter | Wired.com

At the Mobile World Congress on Monday, Facebook announced several new initiatives to battle fragmentation on the mobile web. The most intriguing may be a partnership with global wireless carriers — including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S. — to streamline mobile purchases for webapps using Facebook’s login and payment platforms.

In this agreement, Facebook would be the intermediary between its web developer and wireless carrier partners. Customers purchasing goods through web apps equipped with Facebook’s Pay Dialog wouldn’t have to prepurchase Facebook credits; instead, they’d be billed by their wireless providers. Developers would deal with Facebook; Facebook would deal with the carriers — with its Payments and Credits platform translating between the two on the transaction.

As a Facebook spokesperson told Wired, right now this program is “more vision than reality”; it hasn’t been fully implemented, and many of the details still have to be worked out between all the partners in the coming months.

The vision, though, is spelled out in a blog post by Facebook Director of Developer Relations Doug Purdy: to “minimize the number of steps needed to complete a transaction in mobile web apps, which will make it easier for hundreds of millions of people worldwide to purchase apps on their device via operator billing.” Besides the Big Three carriers in the U.S., announced partners include Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, Vodafone, KDDI, and Softbank Mobile.

The carrier payment partnerships also part of a broader effort by Facebook to make mobile app development easier (and make partnership with Facebook more appealing to developers):

Facebook is extending its social app discovery feature to include native Android apps in addition to iOS and web apps;

It’s joining the W3C’s Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group, “to help accelerate the improvement and standardization of mobile browsers”;

It’s immediately contributing a cross-platform mobile web test suite called Ringmark.

The payments initiative, however, is the most ambitious and has the most potential to turn into a serious revenue stream for Facebook and its partners.

via Facebook’s New Initiative Promises to Make Cross-Platform Mobile Payments Real | Epicenter | Wired.com.

via Facebook’s New Initiative Promises to Make Cross-Platform Mobile Payments Real | Epicenter | Wired.com.

Credit-Card Companies Sign Up With Mobile-Payments Venture – WSJ.com

NEW YORK Dow Jones–J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM, Capital One Financial Corp. COF and Barclays PLC BARC.LN will enable their customers to use a mobile-payments service being developed by several wireless carriers starting this summer.The service, called Isis, will allow consumers to pay for goods at stores by tapping their mobile phones against a merchants payment terminal rather than swiping a plastic card. Their phones must be equipped with a technology called near-field communication, or NFC, and a merchant must also have special readers to handle the technology.”Mobile commerce is more than a new way to pay,” said Michael Abbott, chief executive of Isis, said in a statement. “Its about extending the relationships consumers enjoy with their banks and merchants into a powerful and convenient new form factor.”Isis is a joint venture of AT&T Inc. T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, which announced plans for the service in fall 2010. The technology is one of several services aimed at converting consumers smartphones into payment devices, an effort that analysts say could help banks and merchants find new ways to push promotions to customers but has been slow to catch on because of questions about costs and security.Google Inc. GOOG launched its own service last fall that allows customers to load certain MasterCard Inc. MA credit cards issued by Citigroup Inc. C into the software. Customers can also set up a Google-branded prepaid account. The program, called Google Wallet, works on some smartphones running Googles Android operating system.Visa Inc. V, the largest credit-card processor, is also preparing to roll out its own “digital wallet” that will let customers pay for goods online using a user name and password instead of typing in their credit-card numbers for each purchase. The service, called V.me, could also be used in the future to make in-store payments, Visa has said.Isis said Monday that the three banks, among the largest issuers of plastic cards in the U.S., would be making the service available to some of their customers starting in the summer when it kicks off trials in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas. A national rollout is expected to follow that trial.The software used to power Isis will be compatible with cards bearing the logos of Visa, MasterCard, American Express Co. AXP and Discover Financial Services DFS, though the banks will have the ability to choose which of their card products it works with, said Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for Isis. For consumers, the aim for Isis is for customers to be able to use the existing cards they carry with them today with the service.”It is meant to emulate your leather wallet … where you are the editor-in-chief of what goes into the leather wallet,” Stapleton said in an interview.In addition to making payments, Isis also would enable customers to load their loyalty-program accounts and merchant offers into the software, Stapleton said.A major hurdle that has held back such services is the lack of available of handsets that contain the NFC technology needed to transmit payment information to a merchant terminal. Several handset manufacturers, including HTC Corp. HTCXF, Samsung and Research In Motion Ltd. RIM.T, have said they are incorporating the technology into their phones, Stapleton said. In addition, Isis is also working with DeviceFidelity Inc., a technology company that will offer microSD cards equipped with NFC that can be added to some existing phones.J.P. Morgan Chase plans to make it available first for its credit-card customers, said Richard Quigley, president of Chase Card Services at the New York-based bank.

via Credit-Card Companies Sign Up With Mobile-Payments Venture – WSJ.com.

via Credit-Card Companies Sign Up With Mobile-Payments Venture – WSJ.com.

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