Handheld Payment – The CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey recently announced via Twitter his next project, code-named Squirrel. While few details are available as of yet, the rumour is that it will enable credit card payments to be processed on the iPhone.
This brings some interesting questions into play around EMV and PCI and how it would be handled. Perhaps the certification and security issues can be accommodated via the increased capability of handling peripherals supposedly enabled by the new “to-be-released-in-Summer-2009” iPhone 3.0 OS.
Squirrel could take the mobile payments impetus away from the mobile carriers, who own the infrastructure and are experimenting with how to charge for this service. Instead, it could be a regular data transaction on an iTunes App Store application – taking the carrier out of the equation. This assumes, of course, that the massive issues of security and fraud are covered to the satisfaction of the credit card companies and banks – no simple feat even without PCI and EMV requirements, though there is at least one company who is trying it.
Payments on mobile also bring us closer to the expectation that for the right retail environment a truly mobile based POS is a potentially realistic solution. Tomorrow’s retailer’s POS area could be limited only by the space in and around the store, the number of handheld devices available, and how many people they want at work that day.
Geek Coupons – Coupons and Loyalty programs really are all the rage given the Great Recession we all find ourselves in.
I was recently reading a copy of Canadian Retailer and came across the horribly named (and lets face it – an awful looking ipod ripoff) GreenThingE, a keychain based electronic device that allows for electronic distribution and acceptance of coupons and loyalty cards.
While I find the technology intriguing, getting consumers to find coupons online and pass them to the unit via USB is an unlikely proposition. The demo on the Mobeam website says that 71% of consumers 18-24 use coupons. Do you see them sticking an ugly 2001 dollar store gadget on their keyring? Do people even still have keyrings? They scratch your mobile in your pocket.