This Month in Payment News: May 2015

Google Announces Android Pay

On May 28 at Google I/O, the company announced a new, NFC-enabled payment system: Android Pay. It’s to learn all about this new way to pay:

  • What is Android Pay?: Get caught up on the basics. We covered seven things we’ve already learned about the new payment type.
  • How Can I Accept Android Pay? Here’s what you need to know so you can start processing Android Pay transactions.
  • Should I Accept Android Pay?: If your business doesn’t have an NFC-ready payments terminal, you may be wondering when you should upgrade. Here’s how to decide if it’s time to make the switch.
  • A Primer from the Press: The media had a lot to say about Google’s announcement. Here’s a recap from Fortune.
  • What This Means for Google Wallet: Remember Google’s other payments endeavor? Wallet will pivot into the peer-to-peer payments world.
  • A Word on the Competition: While Apple Pay is still very much in the mobile payments game, Samsung recently announced that it will be discontinuing its own payment service—Samsung Wallet—on June 30.

 

The Need for National Retail Data Breach Legislation Becomes Clearer

The importance of Congress passing data breach legislation is becoming increasingly clear. While several bills have been proposed, none have been acted on to-date. Here’s what else happened in retail security this May:

  • Survey Says: Business Solutions Magazine published the results of a survey that asked its VAR and ISV readership about retail security. Among the findings: Nearly half of all solutions providers said that security and PCI-compliance aren’t services they offer retailers.
  • Starbucks: First came the news that hackers had accessed the mobile payments accounts of Starbucks customers, using the “auto-reload” feature to purchase gift cards that account holders didn’t authorize. Following that, Starbucks issued a statement saying that the information was false. Even if we don’t learn the true story, this serves as another reminder of the importance of safeguarding customer accounts.
  • Sally Beauty: It’s no secret that data breaches can devastate a business, and Sally Beauty learned this lesson a second time when the store revealed that its POS systems contained malware. The amount of customer information accessed by hackers hasn’t been revealed yet, though the store’s 2014 breach saw 25,000 stolen records.

 

Department Stores Continue to Innovate

While the retail industry has gotten used to the word “omnichannel” by now, many companies continue to make great strides in building a more holistic customer experience. Here are the industry updates we heard about in May:

  • Nordstrom: After allowing customers to buy items online and pick them up in store, the retailer is trying to improve its service even further with curbside pickup. Shoppers won’t need to set foot in the mall, instead alerting stores via text message or phone call that they’re stopping by, then meeting a store representative to retrieve their purchase. Nordstrom’s first quarter sales growth shows that the omnichannel efforts appear to be working very well.
  • J.C. Penney and Kohl’s: Less than impressed with recent earnings, both retailers are rethinking their revenue strategies to make better use of already-available customer data. Instead of a more traditional approach to marketing, the stores hope to draw in more shoppers with personalized offers and campaigns that focus more catering to individual shopping needs.

 

EMV Card Rollout Sees Some Progress

We’ve been keeping you up to date on the latest developments in EMV adoption ahead of the October liability shift. Here’s what happened in May:

  • Chase Bank: Having already started the rollout of chip-enabled credit cards, Chase Bank has begun mailing EMV debit cards to replace the magnetic stripe-only ones currently in shoppers’ wallets. The company plans to have 70 percent of their cards chip-enabled by year’s end.
  • EMV + NFC: Both of these technologies have been top-of-mind for retailers in recent months. Together, they’re even more powerful. EMV brings increased payment security, while the flexibility of an NFC-enabled payment terminal ensures retailers are prepared to accept Apple Pay and Android Pay now, as well as when future tap-to-pay options emerge in the future.