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The battle between traditional payment processors and financial institutions and upstarts looking to dethrone them is on.
The upstarts, obviously, have their work cut out for them. Entrenched players like Verifone have significant marketshare, and are increasingly employing interesting strategies in an attempt to ensure they always have a seat at the dinner table.
That means one thing: the upstarts have to get clever and creative. And that's just what they're doing.
Mobile payment tool Square has won the endorsement of President Obama and is to be used for his re-election campaign.
Staff will be given Square hardware to process donations from supporters. The small credit card reader plugs into the top of iPhone, iPad and Android devices and a free Square app processes the payment.
In late 2009, PayPal president John Donahoe indicated that he believed online payments should account for 20% of global payments, even though, at the time, they accounted for just 5%. His goal: find ways to grow that number.
There are a lot of ways of doing that, but none may be as promising as mobile payments.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is getting a lot of attention for his latest venture. Square, his mobile payments platform, is already the darling of the startup world. The company was valued at $40 million before it even launched.
But the mobile payment space is quickly getting crowded. Today at TechCrunch Disrupt, Dorsey explained the feature he thinks will set his product apart from other mobile payment products: analytics.
Companies large and small have been getting into mobile this year. And one market that looks particularly promising is the mobile payment space. Considering that everyone from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is interested in making a mark on mobile payments, it's curious that no major credit card company has debutted a product yet.
That's changing with Visa's new In2Pay protective iPhone case. The iPhone sleeve turns Apple's smartphone into a credit card machine. Considering Visa's established dominance in the payment space, this product could help position the company in mobile. But it does not eclipse the fact that there is still a big space for innovation if someone can do it all cheaper.
Smartphones have opened up the possibility of turning mobile devices into virtual wallets. And today, PayPal has made a big land grab for mobile payments with its new iPhone app.
In addition to making it easier to send and receive payments from a mobile device, the app uses Bump Technologies to let users share money instantly by touching phones. With more companies getting into mobile payments all the time, this could go a long way to help PayPal retain digital payment dominance. But there's one clear reason this won't replace cash.