The Credit Card Killers
With an ever-crowded financial tech market and companies like PayPal and Google Wallet elbowing for industry dominance, the race to kill the credit card is heating up. But among the standouts is Iowa-based mobile payment startup Dwolla, thanks to an innovative pricing structure and a growing New York presence helmed by Michael Schonfeld and Alex Taub. Dwolla has raised money from two New York venture capital firms, Union Square Ventures and Thrive Capital. (Josh Kushner, a Thrive principal, is also part-owner of Observer Media Group.)
Oh, yay, Google is set to implement a micropayment system for online content. CNET reports the search giant has confirmed that users will be able to purchase articles for prices between $0.25 and $0.99 apiece.
Google isn’t trying subvert free content, it says the project is experimental and intended to promote creation of “high-quality content” online.
As CNET notes, micropayment systems have never fared well:
Back in June, the founder of 4G hotspot provider Karma got up on stage and announced partnerships with American Airlines and car service Uber. Only there were no final, formalized partnerships–just “talks” that might’ve been going well, but certainly weren’t done. At the time, it looked like a pretty devastating misstep.
Fast forward to Wednesday, when one of the world’s largest tech companies did some similar fudging. Google announced “a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet.” Pretty sweet for those of you racking up the AmEx rewards.
Did you know the Royal Canadian Mint, the agency that produces Canada’s money, has been “actively monitoring the evolution of currency and payment technologies for a number of years”? They have! And they’ve developed their own digital currency, the MintChip.
Apparently the Mint recently diverted some of its research and development funds—who knew mints had these?—into coding MintChip, which uses NFC technology similar to Google Wallet. Today the Mint announced a competition for developers in North America. Build apps with MintChip, which is still in the experimental phase, and you can win $50,000 in gold bullion.
Near field communication is now as near as our friend to the south and east. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced today that Google Wallet would be partnering with NJ Transit, the third largest transit system in the country.
TechCrunch says commuters with Nexus S 4Gs with be able to use their phones to pay for tickets with a whoosh (a swish? a swipe? did we decide on something here?) of their phones .
Betabeat has a new internet bank to dote on now that BankSimple has abandoned us for the City of Roses. Movenbank is a New York-based personal banking service that uses near field communication–the same technology as Google Wallet–to remove the cards and the wallet from banking transactions and replace them with your phone. Founder Brett King, an Aussie based in New York and London, rode the success of his book, Bank 2.0, and his experience with his boutique consultancy firm User Strategy, to start up a bank with “No paper. No plastic. No hidden fees.” The bank is launching its first product, a Mint-esque personal finance profile based on social data, on October 1 and plans to roll out the financial services over the summer.
At their New York City headquarters today Google unveiled the partners and products that make up Google Wallet, their mobile payment app.
As an entrepreneur in the space recently told Betabeat, every major credit card company is looking for a tech firm to join with. “Bascially, you need to bring a partner to the dance,” she said.