Monthly Archives: August 2013

North American e-retailers take on Latin America

From high tariffs to less-than-reliable delivery services, Latin America provides U.S. web merchants with lots of challenges. But the U.S. e-retailers are making headway. In 2012 the collective web sales of the 39 U.S. web merchants ranked in Internet Retailer’s newly published 2013 Latin America 400 grew 19.7% to $2.25 billion.

That’s despite the travails of the biggest U.S. web merchant ranked in the 2013 Latin America 400—Dell Inc. (No. 5). The computer maker saw its Latin American web sales drop 8% in 2012 to around $570 million amid a global slump in sales of personal computers. The next biggest U.S.-based Latin America 400 merchant, Wal-Mart Latin America (No. 8), grew its 2012 sales in the region 150% to around $383 million. Continue reading


40 Percent of Small Businesses Using Mobile Credit Card Readers

As many as 40 percent of small retail and service businesses are using some form of mobile payment technology like credit card readers, according to the latest findings from the Local Commerce Monitor, an ongoing study by BIA/Kelsey that looks at the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Mobile payment acceptance has been gaining significant traction with these businesses, who state that they now accept payments at the point of sale with a mobile credit card reader attached to a smartphone or tablet. Credit card reader devices are now available for most smartphones, from technology companies like Intuit, PayPal and Square. As much as 16 percent of respondents said they plan to add mobile payment capability within the next year.

Many small businesses are also turning to mobile to get customers in the door, with 32 percent of the small businesses surveyed are also using some form of mobile advertising to promote their businesses, up from 28 percent in 2012. Continue reading

Staying Relevant With Mobile, Webshere Commerce

Using an abacus and churning butter add a bit of comic relief to the list of outdated tasks found on the Obsolete Skills website. Other skills, like writing in cursive and flipping over a cassette tape just add insult to injury for anyone pushing the age of 40.

But, give it a few years and who knows what else might find its way onto the list. Using a desktop computer perhaps? Although it might sound farfetched, the use of mobile devices is leading society in that direction.

According to a study conducted by Google and Nielsen in March 2013, an overwhelming 77 percent of mobile searches happen at home or at work – even if a PC is nearby. The research from Google and Nielsen also revealed that 45 percent of those mobile searches are conducted to help make a decision. And overall, 17 percent result in a purchase. Continue reading

Wearable Tech, Payments, Watches — Why Apple Bought Passif

Over the years Apple has bought a number of smaller companies whose expertise covers different areas in semiconductor manufacturing, including spending about $280 million on PA Semi–a fabless company which knew all about low power-consumption chip design. Now it’s bought another company with similar knowledge, the very small Passif Semi. Why?

Not very much is known about Passif Semiconductor Corp. It’s employees on LinkedIn label it as having “1-10” staff, and we know that in June 2008 it received $1.6 million in venture funding from Khosla Ventures…a VC firm which we know likes placing cash in early-stage companies that work in computing, silicon, mobile, and other similar sectors. We also know that Passif’s work is about “switch based receivers with a low power consumption and a small footprint,” which means that the company’s staff know all about making wireless chips and the kind of silicon that’s friendly to mobile devices because it doesn’t consume much power.

A quick search for the patents owned by the company, by which we may guess at the kind of IP Apple has bought, reveals not many results, but there are two that are particularly interesting. Continue reading

Credit Reports Now Show Your Credit Card Bill-Paying Habits

In a little-noticed change, your credit report has started revealing more about your credit card payment habits.

The big three credit bureaus are adding new payment data to the reports of some 160 million card-carrying adults. The data shows whether you rack up interest charges, giving card issuers another reason to chase you — or avoid you — as a customer.

“That sort of information would be considered pretty valuable from an issuer standpoint,” said Michael Masasi, senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Group.

In the past, your credit file displayed your monthly balance, your credit limit and whether you failed to make at least the minimum payment.

What credit bureaus are adding now is a two-year review of the actual amounts you paid each month. These figures reveal whether you are a revolver who carries a balance and pays interest charges, or a transactor who makes purchases but generally pays them off before interest charges are triggered.

“Historically it has been incredibly difficult on the credit file to identify a transactor versus a revolver,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting for TransUnion’s financial services unit. “The way payments look, they were indistinguishable.”

TransUnion added 24 months of payment history to accounts on consumer credit files in January. Experian has expanded the historical payment information on credit reports within the past year, Vice President for Analytics Michele Raneri said. Equifax is adding payment amounts starting sometime in the third quarter of 2013, according to Demitra Wilson, senior director of public relations.

Credit bureaus say that the new information will help card issuers target their offers. “Lenders want to offer products that consumers want to have,” Becker said, “and offer the right product to the right person.” Continue reading

Banks intent on becoming pioneers of mobile payment systems

Some day, Canadians will have the option to wave their smartphones over a cash register and be on their merry way, instead of swiping and punching into a credit or debit card terminal or fumbling for wayward coins and cash.

When that happens, it won’t likely be the pioneers of Internet payments such as PayPal providing consumers with mobile payment options, analysts say, but rather a group of old-timers — the country’s biggest banks and telecom companies.

The struggle to corner the so-called “digital wallet” market is pitting the Big Six against foreign-run alternatives like PayPal and Square in their quest to offer the best technology to transact contactless payments using smartphones and tablets.

In July, Royal Bank of Canada became the second bank in the last 12 months to launch a mobile payment solution — an application that enables clients to pay for goods and services by tapping their smartphone against a terminal.

The launch by Canada’s largest bank followed Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and Rogers Communications Inc.’s joint venture to replace credit cards with smartphones last November. RBC’s digital wallet prototype will debut on devices from Rogers’ rival BCE Inc. Toronto-Dominion Bank is also testing different mobile payment options, while Scotiabank is developing its own version called My Mobile Wallet. Continue reading