Jack Dorsey says Square will begin accepting Apple Pay in 2015

Gigaom

Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed to CNN on Friday that Square will begin supporting Apple Pay and other near-field communications (NFC)-based payments systems in some form in 2015. In September, Dorsey had told Canada’s CBC that Square would not only support NFC payments but bitcoin as well.

Whether that means Square will issue a new Reader or an accessory that plugs into Square Stand (or both) supporting NFC transactions, Dorsey didn’t say. None of the company’s current or already-announced forthcoming hardware can process an NFC transaction, though Square is moving to more secure embedded-chip card processing next year, along with the rest of the point-of-sale retail industry.

A partnership between [company]Apple[/company] and Square shouldn’t come as a surprise. For some reason, many media outlets have been depicting Square and Apple at odds with one another as Apple Pay rolls out. While Square and Apple might compete in…

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Square starts offering gift cards (the plastic kind)

Gigaom

As virtual wallets and NFC payments start taking off, Square hasn’t given up on the plastic card. In fact, it’s doubling down on its commitment to acetate and magnetic stripes, announcing a new program on Tuesday in which its merchants can issue their own gift cards.

Square has supported stored-value cards before, but those were virtual cards, requiring the now-defunct Square Wallet (or a bar code print-out) to redeem them. Meanwhile, these newest gift cards work just like the ones you’d buy from Target or Best Buy. Merchants can order them from their Square dashboards, customizing their appearance with their own logos and design. When a customer purchases a card, the value is deposited directly into the merchant’s account.

While Square isn’t charging its normal 2.75 percent transaction fee on any gift card transaction, activating a card costs $1.50 a pop, so it’s probably not worth your while to…

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Skeptic says bitcoin will “always be currency of the future”

Gigaom

Remember when bitcoin was going to disrupt the world’s banking system? That was two years ago and, while new payment platforms like Venmo and Apple Pay have gained traction, virtual currencies now feel more like a fad than a phenomenon.

At least that’s the view of Felix Salmon, a financial blogger and early bitcoin skeptic, who did his best to dump cold water on a room of alt-currency enthusiasts gathered Monday at a Bloomberg event titled “Bitcoin: Beyond the Currency” in New York City.

Bloomberg bitcoin

“This is pure Silicon Valley utopianism,” said Salmon, suggesting that bitcoin backers are blinded by “solutionism” and adding that investors who embrace the currency are no more rational than goldbugs.

Salmon also pointed out that, as a five-year-old technology, bitcoin has grown long in the tooth even as it fails to make inroads among ordinary consumers.

“I don’t think it’s going to zero [dollars], but it will always…

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Will payments give Snapchat the next block of a mobile platform?

Gigaom

Today Snapchat rolled out a pay-your-friends feature called Snapcash, powered by Square. Using the ephemeral text chatting feature of the app, you can type in the amount you want to send with a dollar sign. The app recognizes it and transfers money to your friend (once you’ve authorized the Snapcash service in the app).

This is Snapchat’s first big experiment with becoming a full-fledged messaging platform, much like China’s WeChat or Korea’s KakaoTalk. These apps attracted their users with messaging first, and then introduced other features like e-commerce shopping, games, banking, celebrity communication, and brand promotions.

A fledgling peer-to-peer payment system like this is a big first test for Snapchat. It not only will help it to develop a payments process, it will also allow it to gage consumer comfort with sending money through the app. That’s a fundamental building block for other features, from product sales to gaming to banking, that Snapchat could want to…

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iPad cash register maker Revel raises $100M

Gigaom

Revel Systems had something to celebrate today. The maker of point-of-sale terminals announced on Tuesday it has raised $100 million in a Series C round from private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and other strategic investors.

San Francisco-based Revel makes an iPad-based point-of-sale that isn’t for the casual card swipe at a boutique store. Rathe, it’s turning the tablet into a replacement for the workhorse ordering and checkout systems used at high-transaction-volume grocery stores and restaurants. It targets both small business and larger chain business, and half of the 10,000 systems it’s sold so far are used by multiple location businesses like Smoothie King and Dairy Queen (fast food royalty really seems to like Revel’s technology).

The private equity investment includes an initial $65 million up front followed by a $25 million equity line. Revel co-founder Chris Ciabarra said the company plans to use the funds to move…

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Square starts pre-sales of its new chip-and-PIN readers at $29

Gigaom

Square on Wednesday started taking pre-orders for a new version of its Reader and an accessory for Square Stand that will allow its mobile payments service to accept new chip-embedded cards being issued in the U.S. next year.

The transition to EMV – named after its creators [company]EuroPay[/company], [company]MasterCard[/company] and [company]Visa[/company] – is a long time coming in the U.S. Many other countries have already adopted these more secure transactions that verify a card from a dynamic chip instead of pulling numbers from a static magnetic stripe. But starting next fall, merchants will either have to start accepting chip-and-PIN transactions or assume all liability for fraudulent purchases. Square merchants are no exception.

Square will start shipping the new gadgets in spring of 2015, well ahead of the looming EMV deadline, but there is a slight cost to upgrade. The new EMV Reader costs $29 instead of $10, and Square mentioned…

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10 innovation books that every manager should read

Blog de Inovação - Innoscience Blog

Weeks ago we were talking about the challenge of one of our clients and how to help him in a project. Often we use our library looking for models, tools and theories to support our analyzes and prescriptions, just as a doctor does when he needs to deal with a situation of one of his patients. As we searched the books to solve our challenge we began to discuss what are the innovation books that every manager should read. We chose our top 10 innovation books that we recommend for managers to help to put innovation in practice.

The Innovator’s Dillema. Clayton Christensen introduced the concepts of disruptive innovation and how a well-managed business can be disrupted by new entrants. Detailing his research on the hard disk drives and steel producers the author showed that breakthrough innovations are a distinct alternative that deserves attention from large companies. From this…

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Solving the IT skills gap

Gigaom

The unemployment rate for the IT industry is only 3 percent, compared with a 7 percent unemployment rate nationally. This is great for IT professionals, but it presents a problem for hiring managers, many of whom are struggling to staff their teams with the skills they need.

Some of these sought-after positions include:

  • Technicians
  • IT Support/Service
  • Application Developers
  • Cloud Engineers

This talent shortage is largely rooted in issues of salary and training. The rise in demand has pushed IT salaries for some positions higher (NoSQL specialists, for example, command an average of $114,000 a year). Meanwhile, training hasn’t kept up with this demand. Tech skills change so quickly and expire so rapidly, it’s hard to find new hires with the latest tech skills.

As a result, hiring cycles for some IT positions can be as long as six months.

Read the new blog post from Rackspace, Solving the IT Skills…

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Braintree targets European commerce apps with a streamlined sign-up, free transactions

Gigaom

Braintree already does a lot of overseas business in mobile and online payments, but it’s taking a particular interest in Europe these days. While speaking at The Web Summit in Dublin Wednesday, Braintree CEO Bill Ready announced a program that only requires a developer to submit an email address, website URL and a brief description of their business to get hooked into Braintree and PayPal’s payment processing systems.

The new streamlined sign-up process will presumably make its way to Braintree’s other markets, but it’s starting in Europe. Ready also promised European developers that it would handle the first $50,000 in transactions for free – whatever that works out to be in their local currency.

Braintree, which is now the developer arm of PayPal, is trying to drum up more business for its new v.zero SDK, a kind of payments system-in-a-box that can get any app developer or online…

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Square hits its magic number: 1 billion credit card payments processed

Gigaom

Jack Dorsey had something to be proud of when he took to Twitter this afternoon. Square processed it 1 billionth card transaction on Wednesday. The honor goes to a merchant in Sacramento, CA, according to Dorsey’s tweet.

One billion is certainly a milestone after only five years in business, but in the grand scheme of the financial industry it’s still pretty small potatoes. In comparison, PayPal processes nearly 10 million transactions a day, meaning its handling Square’s entire historical volume at least three times a year.

But Dorsey would probably be the first to tell you Square is just getting started. It’s expanding from the small mobile business owner to larger brick-and-mortar retail locations from multi-register stores to restaurants

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Thanks to Apple Pay, Google Wallet NFC use is growing fast. That’s a good thing

Gigaom

A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say, and that’s exactly what appears to be happening in the U.S. contact-less payments space. Now that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners are using Apple Pay for the first time, the use of Google Wallet is on the rise.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

ArsTechnica has a source that indicates the number Google Wallet payment transactions are up 50 percent of late, while the number of new users has doubled in the month — which, not so coincidentally, is the same time period that [company]Apple[/company] Pay has been available.

Why the big boost in [company]Google[/company] Wallet users making payment with their NFC-enabled phones? Marketing of Apple Pay and general awareness of the feature in many Android phones are the likely culprits. It also helps that the exact same point-of-sale terminals are used for contact-less payments

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Now Windows Phone has a digital wallet that works where Apple Pay does

Gigaom

Apple Pay may be dominating the mobile wallet headlines, but now Windows Phone users can start making wireless payments at NFC retail terminals. Check out the Windows Phone store and you’ll find the Softcard app, which enables tap-to-pay at the same 200,000 places that new iPhone owners are using for payments.

softcard windows phone

Obviously, you’ll need a Windows Phone handset with an NFC chip and enhanced SIM card inside, and the software also requires [company]Microsoft[/company] Windows Phone 8.1 to be installed on your phone. If you have both of those, you’re all set to use the Softcard app. The app works more like [company]Google[/company] Wallet than [company]Apple[/company] Pay: Without a fingerprint reader available, Software uses a PIN to unlock your digital wallet. Once unlocked, you simply tap your Windows Phone to the NFC payment terminal to complete a transaction.

Windows Central notes that unlike Apple Pay — at least for now — the…

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