PayPal Clarifies Recent ToS Update

paypal logoPayPal, 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.

Rewards Program may come to Apple Pay

Apple LogoCredit 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!

The Plastc Card Replaces All Your Cards

Plastc CardContinuing 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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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.

$3 Dollar Tablet Stand

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.