Fresh figures from the UK Cards Association shows that a quarter of card payments are now contactless in the UK. With 325 million purchases made using contactless debit and credit cards in November 2016, this accounted for 25% of all card payments.
Contactless payments are growing rapidly in popularity as it was only in August 2016 that the 20% barrier was broken. It’s impressive growth and no doubt helped by the 102 million credit and debit cards in the country. For comparison the contactless payment rate was 11% in November 2015, more than doubling in a year.
Interestingly, the average payment was GB£8.95, which reflects the convenient use for low cost items. The maximum for contactless payment is GB£30. Anything above that requires a PIN.
On a personal note, two out of my three regularly used credit/debit cards are now enabled for contactless payment and it is convenient, though I have to admit that I never saw putting in a PIN as very onerous or time consuming; it takes longer for the receipt to come out….now that would be a service improvement – imagine you could tie your email address to your card and that instead of printing a receipt, it was emailed directly to you. Genius!.
The UK Cards Association is the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK. The full press release is here. Safe PIN Entry image courtesy of UK Cards Association.
As a freelance human, I have to track my own time when working on projects for clients. This is crucial if I want to get paid for the work I’ve done (and I definitely do want to get paid). I’ve explored a number of different systems for doing this. And while I have yet to find one that I absolutely love, the one I’ve been using recently (and like for the most part) is InvoiceNinja. It’s an open source platform for freelancers to track projects and generate invoices for clients. I’ve been accessing InvoiceNinja using a web browser on my Mac, as that’s really the only InvoiceNinja interface that’s been available. But that changed recently when InvoiceNinja announced the release of a native iPhone app.
InvoiceNinja’s iPhone app gives users access to all of the platform’s features, including time tracking, invoicing, and more. Having the ability to use the app on the go should make it easier for freelancers who often work at remote locations where they may not have access to a computer. The InvoiceNinja service itself works on a freemium model, with a basic free tier along with paid options for premium features. The new iPhone app is a free download from the App Store. InvoiceNinja has stated that the company is working on developing a native Android app. No ETA yet as to when the Android version will be released.
I used the crowdfunding platform Tilt a few times back when it was called Crowdtilt. My overall experience with Tilt was good, as I was able to successfully fund a couple of small campaigns. Since then, Tilt has expanded beyond just crowdfunding campaigns into event ticketing and peer-to-peer payments. All of these new features are front and center in the new Tilt 3.0 app.
Tilt 3.0’s peer-to-peer payment system is probably the most handy feature of the app:
In 2-3 taps, easily pay or request money from friends and family! It’s perfect for drinks, bills, ride-sharing, and more. Plus, it’s completely FREE to use.
The app also has a request money feature for those times when your friends conveniently “forget” about how they said they’d help cover the cost of last night’s outing:
Front the cost of dinner? Request money from as many friends as you want. Everyone can see who has and hasn’t paid, which adds visibility so you can spend less time playing debt collector.
Since many users have employed Tilt to fund large events, it made perfect sense for the new app to include ticketing and event management features:
Attendees are automatically issued tickets that are easily accessible from their email, the Tilt mobile app or a unique link to a mobile web view. Each ticket comes with a unique QR code and can only be used once after being scanned by your team. Tickets can also easily be transferred to others.
Tilt 3.0 is a free download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.
PayPal, the ubiquitous money-handling service used by millions of people around the world, came under fire earlier this year after the company posted an update to its terms of service. That update contained language that made it sound like PayPal could (and would) be able to constantly make automated phone calls to its customers. Not surprisingly, people weren’t too happy about the idea of PayPal’s robocalls interrupting their dinner. This news even caught the attention of some lawmakers in Congress.
In a bid to try and reverse the damage caused by this public relations blunder, PayPal sent out an e-mail last week, attempting to clarify the nature of these robocalls:
Unfortunately, some of the language in this update caused confusion and concern with some of our customers about how we may contact you.
To clear up any confusion, we have modified the terms of Section 1.10 of our User Agreement. The new language is intended to make it clear that PayPal primarily uses autodialed or prerecorded calls and texts to:
- Help detect, investigate and protect our customers from fraud
- Provide notices to our customers regarding their accounts or account activity
- Collect a debt owed to us
In addition, the new Section 1.10(a) and 1.10(b) makes it clear that:
- We will not use autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts to contact our customers for marketing purposes without prior express written consent. Customers can continue to enjoy our products and services without needing to consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts
- Customers can continue to enjoy our products and services without needing to consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts
- We respect our customers’ communications preferences and recognize that their consent is required for certain autodialed and prerecorded calls and texts. Customers may revoke consent to receive these communications by contacting PayPal customer support and informing us of their preferences.
So while these terms do still indicate that PayPal may indeed robocall you, it’ll only happen if they have a specific reason due to problems with your account like potential fraud or to collect a debt. PayPal won’t be calling you to offer new services or upsell you on account upgrades.
Looks like you can relax now if you were planning on adding PayPal’s phone number to your block list.
Credit cards, debit cards, rewards program cards, ID’s… The list of small plastic rectangles we’re saddled with is just one of the costs of doing business in the 21st century. Technology has been relatively slow in terms of providing solutions to the glut of cards we have to carry around every day. The rise of mobile apps has given us some relief, as many rewards programs are now operating with a simple scan of a barcode on a smartphone screen. But due to the complex nature of banking security and credit cards, mobile payments have taken longer to catch on.
We’ve seen some progress in this field recently with the introduction of Apple Pay. And while it’s incredibly swift and convenient for users of iPhones and Apple Watches to tap their devices against a payment terminal, Apple Pay has experienced a relatively slow rollout. There are still only a limited number of vendors that accept the service for payment and there are still many payment institutions that don’t even support it. And now Google is prepped to launch its own mobile payment system, one that could bring simple tap-to-pay technology to the millions of Android phones on the market.
Faced with these challenges, Apple may be looking at ways to increase user and vendor adoption of Apple Pay. Rumors are circulating that the company may introduce a rewards program of its own at the upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Details are slim on what this program could offer. Maybe it’d be a points system that’d allow users to trade in those points for products from the Apple Store. Or perhaps Apple would limit its rewards program only to digital products such as music, movies and apps. And since Apple Pay works with third-party banks to handle customer accounts, it seems possible that users could actually collect rewards thru this proposed Apple program as well as whatever rewards system are in place with their connected accounts.
Time will tell if the Apple Pay rewards program becomes a reality. Regardless, it’s good to see that Apple is working to expand its mobile payment service. My pockets are getting heavy under the weight of all of these cards!
Continuing the “bane of modern life” theme, the plastic rectangles otherwise known as credit, debit, bank, membership and loyalty cards are high up the agenda. My wallet bulges with cards that are infrequently used but I don’t want to leave behind “just in case”. Plastc looks to replace all those cards with just one. Todd finds out more about his new flexible friend from Ryan.
The Plastc card incorporates a programmable magnetic strip, EMV chip and an eInk touch-screen display. The stripe and the chip make the Plastc very flexible and future-proofed for “Chip’n’PIN” which is widespread in Europe but coming to the USA shortly. The eInk touch-screen selects and displays the card currently being cloned. The screen can also show barcodes for laser-scanned loyalty cards.
The Plastc card works with an app for iOS and Android to upload the details of the card via bluetooth and there are several security mechanisms in place to ensure that the Plastc card is useless if lost. The Plastc card is currently on pre-order for $155 with delivery expected in summer 2015. I want one.
Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.
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One 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.
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Ever wander into the iPad/tablet accessory isle at your local big box electronics store looking for an inexpensive stand for your iPad, Nook, Kindle, or other tablet/reader device? If so, you know these things have a tendency to be rather pricey and may not even do what you want them to.
I’ve got an inexpensive, very effective solution you may not have thought about. Make a trip to your local hobby store, a dollar store, or any store that sells nick-nack type items. What you are looking for are small easels either made of metal wire or even wooden ones with folding hinges. These can sell for as little as a $1 and up.
I purchased the pictured wire metal easel from my local Hobby Lobby store for $2.99 plus tax to hold my Barnes & Noble Nook – about $60 dollars or so less than I would have paid for a specialty tablet stand.
Save your money and have an effective solution all in one fell swoop.