The Payments News You Need: December 2015

It’s time to round up the biggest stories in the payments industry—the top scoops and developing trends that stand to change this space and herald innovation. In this edition, we’re recapping December 2015. Let’s dive in!  

Mobile and Alternative Payments

New Jawbone Tracker Gets Into Payments: Owners of Jawbone’s UP4 device can now track their workouts and pay for items in NFC payment-equipped stores on their way home. The standout feature is possible thanks to a chip embedded in the fitness tracker’s band.
P2P Payments from Apple: There could soon be another player in the P2P payments space. In a move that could challenge well-known services like Venmo, Apple is currently talking with U.S. banks to let users pay one another with their phones.
Square Gets an Apple Pay Reader: After being announced back in June, Square’s chip card and Apple Pay reader is now being released, starting with 100 businesses country-wide. The move could be good news for both increased payment security and for future Apple Pay adoption numbers.
Walmart Gets Into Mobile Payments: If you’re feeling like the mobile payments space has gotten crowded this year, you’re not mistaken. In December, Walmart joined the game with its own Android and iOS payment platform. It’s also the first store to join the race for third-party service attention—a space previously occupied largely by banks. Expect to see rollout in early 2016.
XBox Store Goes Mobile: Xbox also got into alternative payments this month. Now, gamers can open up the gaming device’s store and use a mobile payments service called PowaTag to scan a barcode on the TV screen and pay.


Microsoft, Bank of America and Blockchain: Some of the latest blockchain news involves two well-known companies. Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are rising to the top of Microsoft and Bank of America’s security to-do lists, with both companies adding new technologies and forming new partnerships to further explore blockchain’s possibilities.
Shopper Reactions to Website Data Breaches: NTT Com Security surveyed online shoppers and found that just under 70 percent would no longer use a site after a data breach. Another quarter of respondents would still keep using a site, even if its security measures came into question.


DSW Amps Up Shipment Options: Shoe shoppers now have more ways to get their footwear. Thanks to the eBay Enterprise service, online shoppers can now choose to pick up their purchase in a nearby store, or have it shipped to the location of their choice. The service is currently available at 467 DSW locations.
E-Commerce and In-Store Advancements for NBA Store: Thanks to sports team apparel-focused e-commerce provider Fanatics, the NBA Store’s website and New York City flagship store now bring a new and improved experience to shoppers. Orders from the store’s website now arrive the following day to a store or home address free of charge. Meanwhile, in store, features include digital maps to help navigate the flagship location, player profiles, collectible products and a custom order station.
Nordstrom Makes Custom Shoe Company Investment: The retailer’s latest omnichannel upgrade is its investment in a company called Shoes of Prey. Nordstrom is already a partner of the company, which specializes in customized shoes, and plans to open six brick and mortar Shoes of Prey design studios and maintain an online shopping service on its website.

Retail Trends and Loyalty

2016 Retail Predictions: This month, The Washington Post issued predictions for the retail space in 2016. On the list was the success of mobile payment services at last, after a rocky start for some platforms. The publication also predicted that smaller stores would have a successful year, with more and more shoppers turning away from big box brands in favor of more personal experiences. Finally, it predicted that grocery and convenience stores would get more creative to keep customers loyal—personalized products and secret entrances were both mentioned.
Dunkin’ Donuts Ordering App: Increased convenience was the name of the game for many brands this year, and Dunkin Donuts was no exception. Now loyalty program members in Portland can order and pay for their coffee before setting foot in the store, with added personalization options available.
Sears Mobile App Gets a New Look: Sears customers got a new and improved mobile app in December. Among the store’s new mobile offerings are the ability to pick up items, return and exchange purchases in five minutes or less—all while remaining in their car, parked outside the store. App users can also keep track of their layaway items, get access to app-only coupons and scan products on the shelves for more information.
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