This Month in Payments: August 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 covering August 2015. Let’s dive in!  
Mobile Payments
Samsung Pay Gets a Launch Date: The latest way to tap your phone and pay will make its US debut on September 28. The Apple Pay and Android Pay rival already launched in Korea, so we know a bit about what’s in store later this month.
Verizon Isn’t Sure About Samsung Pay: Samsung Pay’s website lists most major card and mobile providers, but Verizon isn’t on the list—and people have noticed. The verdict is still out on whether it’ll eventually accept the service.
National Restaurant Association’s Guide to Mobile: NRA members get free access to the recently released guide “Mobile Invasion: Mobile Payments in Restaurants,” a handy resource for understanding smartphones at the table.
Apple Pay Goes Corporate for AmEx Users: Until now, corporate credit cards from American Express couldn’t be synced with Apple Pay. Now, users can upload their company cards to pay for business transactions, which could mean an increase in mobile payments from business travelers.
Peer-to-Peer Payments
Blackberry and PayPal Team Up: Thanks to a new partnership, BlackBerry users will soon be able to use their phones’ messaging service to send money to a friend—a method praised as being more secure than Facebook’s approach to transferring funds.
Venmo Experimenting With Group Accounts: The company may soon be welcoming group payments, aimed at making tasks like collecting member dues or fundraising for an event a whole lot easier. Right now, the company is looking for users to test the service.
Square Cash Comes to the Apple Watch: The Venmo competitor is bringing peer-to-peer payments to our wrists. All it takes is knowing someone’s Square Cash username (no phone numbers or emails needed) to send money on its way.  
Visa Says EMV Adoption is Going Slowly (and we agree): We recently surveyed small businesses and found a good deal of hesitation around EMV adoption. Now, Visa has revealed that only 250,000 businesses in the United States are ready for EMV—that’s 5 percent of all US merchants. On the other side of the EMV equation, 28 percent of the total EMV cards being released (117 million) have been sent to their respective cardholders.
EMV Education Gets a New Initiative: Thanks to “Chip-In,” a project from the EMV Migration Forum and Payments Security Task Force, business owners, acquirers, card issuers and others affected by the liability shift have another way to get up-to-speed on everything EMV. Anyone can sign up for once-a-week emails containing social media posts about EMV, guides for training, infographics and other tools to make the transition easier.
Omnichannel and Loyalty
Sephora Gets Into Subscriptions: For its latest omnichannel move, Sephora is giving subscription boxes like Birchbox a run for their money with a service of its own. “Play!” will be available to residents of Boston and Ohio first, then expand to other cities and states. The real retail benefit for Sephora is that it can collect more data about customers’ tastes.