Mobile Payment: NFC, Google Wallet, and Square

A few weeks ago I was thinking about Square’s business model, a company focused on mobile payments. I became interested on the subject, and I knew that I would finally end up writing a short article about this.

At the moment, I see different ways for mobile payment. The most important and surely with more investment is the NFC (Near Field Communication) and applications that use this technology (of course we are talking mostly about Google Wallet). Then there’s Square, a software based one, which is already established and maybe temporary with a more dominant position within the U.S.

A little about NFC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication)

Briefly, NFC is a wireless technology that allows encrypted communication in a small space (about 10 cms).

Sure, transactions are possible through this technology and are completely safe. Although payment isn’t the only possible application, it will be important especially in situations of trading documentation, contacts, photos, or even for entertainment using it in the multiplayer mode of some videogames.

Behind this new technology there are communications and tech companies (Google, Nokia, Sony, Philips, Telefónica Movistar, Vodafone, Orange), and also financial ones (La Caixa, Banco Santander, Citibank, Visa, Mastercard), etc. There are smartphones with NFC from Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and many others. But available right now, I’ve only seen the Google Nexus S 4G.

According to experts, by the year 2014, one in five cell phones will have NFC tech, and transactions will exceed 50.000 million dollars.

The killer application within this technology will be Google Wallet. It was presented in May 2011 and released first version of the application on September 2011. It has been supported by many known shops at the United States. And not avoided controversy: Paypal denounced espionage and appropriation of secrets through 2 of its employees.

Also this week we read about an alliance between Banco Santander and Orange to develop what will be the first multi-brand mobile payment system in Spain.

There is one final variant, SIM cards with NFC. But in the end, business is within selling new cellphones.

One last detail, iPhone 4 and 4S doesn’t incorporate NFC, and has been rumored to come inside the next iPhone 5, but it seems that definitely it won’t.

What is Square? (Squareup.com)

It was on year 2009 when a friend of Jack Dorsey (founder and owner of Twitter), unable to finish a sale without accepting credit cards told him the problem. There began the journey of Square.

Square is a company based on the **Brokerage business model. It was established permanently in 2010, same year it was released his first version. It currently has over 100 employees and is a billion dollar company, and its application is available for iOS and Android.

There are basically two ways of business:

Square Card Reader: You must register as a shop and they give you a free credit card reader compatible with your mobile device. It is said that the shape of the card reader gives Square its name.

Square Card Case: You sign up and store your credit card. You pay identifying yourself or just automatically, if shop/store allows Square payment.

Square has achieved excellent reviews, both for simplicity and ease of use, and for its website.

Square earns a 2.75% commission per transaction, but they defend that issue saying that the final amount between bank and credit card rates is usually higher. Also, the payment are received the following day.

Obviously Square is PCI Complaint and Verisign certified.

It seems that one of the strengths of Square has been to be released before NFC technology, and especially after the recent security issue found in Google Wallet.

So, bye bye to Cards?

Changes that radical are a matter of years.

But of course in a market as the mobile, where consumers have lost their fear about using mobile payments(mobile ecommerce multiplied its revenue by 6 in Spain), the possibility of using mobile devices such as e-wallets seem to be a success in a close future.

In the next months will see more movement, especially regarding to NFC applications.

The high penetration of the NFC technology has been said as one of the tech predictions for this year 2012.

Lastly, the gossip …

One of the most interesting points is that Apple doesn’t want to incorporate NFC to their terminals.

The new version of Apple’s OS X includes features like Twitter as native applications, and it may not be the only company from Jack Dorsey to enter into Apple’s machines.

In an effort to unite under the same environment all the Apple users, It isn’t a crazy idea to think about a partnership with Square or perhaps a new Apple own payment division via iTunes.

** The Brokerage business model:

Brokerage model aims to bring together buyers and sellers to facilitate transactions of products or services between them. This can occur in both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) or C2C (Consumer to Consumer).
The broker charges a percentage or transaction fee , there are different ways.

Shift Happens: Renovarse o morir.

Shift Happens o ¿Did You Know? es un montaje en vídeo que nace en el 2006 de un estudio en una High School de Colorado. El objetivo: evaluar la necesidad de renovar los anticuados planes de estudios a las nuevas demandas del siglo XXI.

Las cosas habían cambiado o evolucionado por la aparición de nuevas tecnologías, el auge de nuevas potencias demográficas y económicas, la globalización, etc… Pero la forma de educar seguía estancada.

Este vídeo proporciono el impacto necesario para fomentar grupos de trabajo e impulsar la adaptación de la educación a los nuevos tiempos.

Conceptos como el hecho de que estamos formando estudiantes para empleos y tecnologías que no existen, para enfrentarse a problemas que no sabemos que son problemas aún, ofrecian una realidad desconcertante.

A raíz del éxito de este vídeo se realizaron otros siempre bajo la misma temática: Cómo afectan los cambios a nuestra sociedad y economía.

http://youtu.be/emx92kBKads
http://youtu.be/6ILQrUrEWe8

En tiempos dominados por la incertidumbre (y más en estos días), lo único que podemos dar por sentado es que no debemos parar de aprender en la sociedad de la información. Renovarse o morir

Saludos!

El mundo contra Twitter

Censura en Twitter?

Se ha escrito mucho últimamente sobre este tema, que ha abierto un fuerte debate sobre Twitter y la censura en general.

No es mi intención abrir otro debate más, porque ya he participado en alguno y hasta ahora no han llevado a ningún lado. Quiero expresar mi opinión al respecto, según lo que he podido entender por las diferentes fuentes que he leído.

Todo comienza cuando Twitter publica en su blog el día 26 de Enero un cambio de política que implica que:

  • Ocultará contenidos por país bajo petición de su gobierno u organismo legal, siempre que sea amparándose en la ilegalidad del tweet en cuestión.
  • No será un acto inmediato sino que revisará cada caso, y si resulta un hecho ilegal, quedará censurado mostrando el contenido como tal a los ojos del resto de usuarios del país.
  • Al ser censura local, ese contenido será visible desde fuera del país.

A mi modo de ver, lo que dice no es que como novedad vayan a empezar a censurar contenidos. Al contrario, dejan entrever que en la actualidad los contenidos ilegales o denunciados ya eran revisados y eliminados, pero de forma global y sin dejar rastro. Por lo que parece que simplemente pretenden regularizarlo. De hecho así opina también la Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Dicho esto, me asaltan las siguientes dudas:

  • Es censurable por parte de Twitter que en vez de hacerlo globalmente lo haga de forma local, y encima deje un rastro evidenciando la censura?
  • Porque la gente ha saltado ahora contra Twitter cuando los contenidos ya se censuraban de forma globalizada?
  • Es culpable Twitter de tener que cumplir la legalidad de cada país, sea el país que sea? O debería mantener una postura opuesta a los países que consideramos totalitarios y represivos, para así conseguir que sea Twitter la censurada y no llegue a su población?

Personalmente, creo que ni Twitter es culpable de la legislación de cada país, ni de estar obligado a acatarla (algo normal). De hecho Twitter, como buena empresa, está obligada a cumplir la legalidad para poder seguir ofreciendo su servicio al consumidor (no olvidemos, gratis), y poder mantener su negocio estable para seguir generando empleo, dinero, etc.

Pero como ya he dicho, es tan solo mi opinión, y no tiene porque ser compartida por todo el mundo. Faltaría más!

Saludos!