Payleven Mobile Payments at The Gadget Show

Payleven Chip and PINOne of the common problems facing start-ups and small businesses are the costs associated with taking credit card payments. The transaction costs can be high for small turnovers and point-of-sale machines are expensive with a monthly rental fee. To counter this problem, Payleven offers a low-cost mobile payment solution for European businesses using a Chip’n’PIN card reader that uses Bluetooth to communicate with both Apple, Android and Amazon smartphones and tablets. The Chip’n’PIN unit costs only GB£60 (ex-VAT) with a transaction charge of 2.75%. Payleven have partnered with GoTab to offer a complete solution for around £250 including a tablet and the card reader.

The approach is similar to US-based Square, but as Chip’n’PIN is only beginning to be required across the pond, Square’s reader unit is a simpler card-swipe device that plugs straight into the smartphone. Having a full Chip’n’PIN card reader in Europe is a necessity but the independent unit makes the transaction look much more professional anyway.

Simon from Payleven tells me about their solution and takes me through some of the features.

Dynamics ePlates: Credit Card for Today’s World

Dynamics Dynamics Inc has developed cards for Visa that have chips embedded into them. The battery inside the card will last at least four years. There is a user interface including buttons and a magnetic stripe that changes so user can make different choices at the point of sale.  The user can easily change the awards available on the cards through the website. There are currently fifty different award partners that the card can be connected to. You also receive the rewards a lot faster than you do with a normal card because of the system they have establish. These cards are more secure than normal cards due to the fact that the information is stored in an embedded processor on the card

Dynamics Inc is also developing a card that has security code embedded in it. You have to punch in the code for the card to become active. When the right code is punched in the card number appears and the magnetic stripe becomes active After a period of time the number disappears and stripe erases. F’or further information and sign up for a card go to Dynamics Inc website or the UMB Bank website.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net, and Daniel J Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Dynamics Wants to Become Your Only Credit Card

Are you getting tired of those multiple cards stuffed into your wallet?  Dynamics is looking to lighten that wallet a bit, by reducing the cards you carry around to just one.  This isn’t just a credit card, but a credit card-sized computer.  The plastic card has a miniature chip built into it that allows you to switch the card’s magnetic strip between multiple different cards you own.

There are several different versions of this new card, depending on a user’s preferences.  These new cards are also completely water-proof, which I assume means washer-proof, which will save some time and stress in our home.  The cards are also much more secure than current credit cards because all data can be erased so that if it’s lost or stolen it will be useless to the person who gets it.

In addition to their innovative credit cards, Dynamics also offers a card that can hold a person’s complete medical records in case of an emergency.  You can find more about all of these by visiting the Dynamics site.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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PaySaber Point-of-Sale Terminal for iPhone

POS PaySaberAndy chats to Matt from PaySaber at CES‘s Showstoppers about their iPhone-based point-of-sale (POS) solutions.

The PaySaber is a portable handheld POS terminal sled that incorporates a barcode reader, card swipe and thermal printer into the unit. An iPhone or iPod Touch slots into the PaySaber to provide the screen and the wireless communication for the transaction.

The flexibility provided by the iPhone allows credit processing in the normal way, but gives additional benefits such as emailed receipts. From the moment the card is swiped, the whole transaction is encrypted and secure, so the credit card information is never transmitted in cleartext. As you’d expect from any POS system, PaySaber can be configured to interface with inventory systems to automatically deduct items from stock as a sale is completed.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Before You Cyber-Shop, Become Cyber-Safe: Tips to Shop Safer Online.

cyber-safe

Be cyber-safe

It’s that time to go and get your gifts for the kids, parents, siblings and the hubby. Some of us braved the cold and dark of night to stand in line for some super doorbuster deal. However, others stayed at home with cocoa and a restful nights sleep, for their trip to shop means turning on the computer and getting it all online.

As you get ready to brave the online crowds on the website, let’s run through a little checklist so you can be safe in purchasing items. With these ideas, you are better protected from malware and scams.

Update Your Computer, Browser and Anti-Virus

This is probably the most important thing to do. There are several security updates that patch holes to your computer. If you are planning on entering a credit card, you want to make sure nobody can watch your transaction. Run some scans on your computer, run the updates to the computer (Mac or PC), then open up your web browser and check for updates.

Chrome : Choose the wrench icon on the right and “About Google Chrome”. It will update software automatically.

Firefox: Choose the “Firefox” tab on the top-left. Choose “Options -> Options”. Select “Advanced” and the “Update” tab.

IE: Go through Windows Update to get the latest version

Safari: Through the software update option

Windows 7: Windows Start button – Type in “Windows Update” in the Run box.

Windows XP: Open IE browser and type in Update.microsoft.com

Mac: Choose the Apple and Software Update

Anti-Virus may be trickier since there are different versions out there. Most important, if you don’t have anti-virus on your computer, put it on now. Avast and AVG are two great programs that have free versions.

What Websites are You Shopping At?

If you are going off the beaten internet path, it’s important to make sure the website is a verified seller. Most of the time, you can find badges on the site saying if they are trusted. When in doubt, do some simple searches. Also check the retailer’s reviews at a site like Resale Ratings.

Finally – When you are checking out, make sure you are on a secure page. Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE all indicate if your credit card will be encrypted or not. If the lock icon is closed, you are on a secure page.

Email: Trusting links, Query Confirmation Email or Bank Email

You might be getting tons of “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” deals through email. Be careful what you select – there are misrepresented Spam mails out there. I just got one the other day from the New York Times to get a 1 year subscription. The email looked like it was from the NYTimes, but the links went to some other site like newyorktimes.some_domain_name dot com.

When in doubt, do a Google search on the email deal. If Walmart is having an online sale, then go to Walmart.com and find the deal through their website.

You might also see confirmation emails that could be phishing schemes. You get an email saying “Congratulations: You just purchased…”, but you didn’t purchase anything. There is a link saying “I didn’t purchase this” or something related. When you click on the link, it tells you what to do on a refund.

DON’T CLICK! (don’t even trust the links in the email)

What you should do is go to the website directly and find a phone number to call. Verify with an agent there is a purchase for you. Also, check your card statements. some purchases update within minutes.

Buy with Credit Card

Speaking of Credit Cards, most major cards and Paypal come with fraud protection. If you feel unsafe about any purchase, make a call to your credit card company. Never purchase online by sending a check or  wiring cash to someone’s account. If they cannot get a verified payment service like Paypal, Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or more, then this purchase isn’t worth it.

Ask For Help

Ok, so you are not Internet savvy. You read through this article and your head began to spin. If that is the case, then ask people for help. Talk to your friends. Seek out someone you know that does this stuff on a regular basis. What is worse is if you do not update your computer. Never think “Oh, I’ll just do it later…”

Cyber crime rises during the holidays. We are purchasing more online. So it’s important to stay safe. That, and get the best deal on a tablet…

Accepting Credit Cards – There’s an App for That?

Stumbled upon this interesting concept and device the other day, and have been intrigued.  Can just anyone accept a credit card payment using their iPhone and a mini-credit-card reader device plugged into the jack?

This is the scenario:  I want to buy a homecoming dress for my daughter from a local seller on Craigslist. I  don’t want to have to go get $100 in cash from the ATM, then drive to get the dress.  What if I just went to get the dress, let the seller run my check card via her iPhone or Droid, and be done with the transaction and walk away with the dress?

A similar need fueled the development of SquareUp, a San Francisco-based startup that developed not only an App for taking credit card payments via the iPhone, but the tiny “card reader” hardware device to go with it.  The result?  Anyone could potentially take a credit or debit card payment from you on the fly, as long as they had an internet connection.

Here’s how it works.  You download the Square Up App from iTunes or Android Market to your device (iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Nexus One, Droid, or Samsung Vibrant), and then fill out the application for service.  You will have to have a bank account and your social security number and mailing address will be required.  Once your application is approved, Square Up send you the tiny piece of hardware you will need to swipe cards, and you will be good to go.  As for security, the company is Verisign approved, and follows all best practices in securing transactions made on the SquareUp app, and follow all protocols set out by the PCI Security Standards Council.

I can think of a ton of uses for such a device.  As an author who sells books to individuals on demand at fairs and lectures, the ability to quickly and securely take credit cards without all the major overhead fees often encountered could be a big bonus.  One of the reasons I don’t take credit cards for books is because of the cost of overhead in doing it through traditional banks.  SquareUp is currently intended for low-level users like me, who may take occasional payments.  And, it’s just another reason I should be considering upgrading my semi-smart phone to an Android in the near future.

You can go see a promotional video for SquareUp here.!

Unscrupulous Scruples: Watch where you click.

antivirus

I’ve been seeing this more and more. You have to upgrade a product – a home (free) edition or something. You press the link and it sends you to a page that talks about upgrading. In fact, everything this page screams is “We don’t have the free version, you must buy an upgrade to continue”.

But if you scan the page, you see on the bottom in small print “No thanks. Register the Free version”.

Another case in point: I was searching for Drivers for a friends computer. I got to the companies webpage and selected what I thought was the driver. Instead, it shuttled me to download a program that would then collect information on my PC and find the right drivers.

It was not malware, but more of Bloatware. And that program wasn’t afraid to do the same thing – ask to install more Bloatware.

This practice is on the verge of misleading. You have to really scan pages to make sure you are selecting the right option.

Case in point #2: There is a great website out there that helps webmasters. We won’t get into the name, because this is not a witch hunt. I will say that when you purchase something on their site, you are taken to a page that looks like you have to press an “OK” button. However, this button is not to OK the purchase, but to add additional services. By scanning down the page, you find the “No thanks – Continue” option stuffed in the bottom part of the page.

In advertising creation, you learn a little trick. When an eye hits an ad, they instinctively start in the middle and work clockwise around the ad. Therefore, you put your “Hook” in the middle and the other items on the sides, including the name of the product.

What these sites have done is made the ad, but then put the “No thanks” in a spot where upon first glance, the eye will miss.

I just bought my ticket for Blogworld / New Media Expo. I used a discount site to purchase the plane ticket and hotel. After making the initial purchase, I was inundated with options I should look at. I suppose it’s so the discount site can offer lower fares. Once again, I had to carefully scan for the “No Thanks” option, although those other buttons looked like they were part of the processing.

Recently, people have been finding extra charges on their credit cards. They went to an online shopping site and chose the great deal of the day. They then pressed a button that looked legitimate to sign up for monthly deals (or something like that). Of course, those deals came with a price.

I really think that the FTC needs to start recognizing these little nuances in websites. It would be like if you went to the grocery store and the clerk started asking “Should I also add in a gallon of milk?” even if you didn’t grab milk.

As for this upgrade – I understand you need to make money off the product, but being sneaky about doing it is only going to make me go somewhere else. Put the “No thanks” in a more visible area. The consumer will buy your product if they don’t feel they are getting swindled.