Started by a young visionary, the company’s innovations quickly came to define the century, its name adorned countless household technologies and its newest advances are poised to set the stage for a revolution in payments security. No, we’re not talking about Apple.
That innovator is William Henry Merrill, and that century was the 1900s. The electrical engineer founded safety consulting and certification specialist UL in 1894, and since then, the Illinois-based organization has grown to become a leader in developing innovative technologies, whether it’s the tin-clad fire doors of year’s past or the biometric solutions that are shaping commerce today.
UL’s latest contribution to the future of payments has been accomplished through its three years of work with National Security, a French biometrics company that has created a commercially viable biometric technology solution for the point of sale.
The move positions UL and National Security at the forefront of an industry that is expected to expand by 140 percent to reach $12 billion in revenue over the next five years, potentially transforming online, mobile and in-store commerce by increasing the speed of transactions in the process.
Still, arguments can be made that biometric use at the point of sale will remain limited. Why does UL believe the market is right for biometrics, and how did it successfully ensure biometric payments will be ready for all parts of the payment process?
We preview UL’s latest transaction security case study to reveal more. Continue reading
Technology is reshaping consumer behavior, and in turn, reshaping retailing. While the retail environment is ever-changing, we can make some predictions regarding the future of retail by connecting the dots of what we are already seeing in the marketplace today.
1. The difference between online and offline shopping will disappear. While some paths to purchase will continue to be exclusively online or offline, most will consist of a combination of the two. Wherever a shopper choses to purchase, their shopping experience will most likely contain at least one digital touch point, whether it be looking at a product in-store and purchasing online or researching product information online before purchasing in-store. A brand’s online presence will continue to be a powerful driver of offline sales. Brands will see that having an e-commerce presence creates a valuable touch point with shoppers, regardless of where the shopper makes their purchase.
2. Retail locations will increasingly serve as local fulfillment centers. Driven by the pursuit of logistical efficiencies, a growing number of retailers will recognize the value of serving in-store customers and local online shoppers with the same pool of inventory. We are already seeing this with a number of same-day delivery offerings that fulfill orders via local retail stores. Moving inventory closer to point of sale can mean offering greater selection for customers, lower shipping/storage costs, and fewer lost sales due to out of stocks.
3. Retailers will become channel agnostic. The act of browsing, buying and returning merchandising will pass seamlessly between online and offline. Each customer will find a comfortable way of managing flows of product, payment and information between themselves and their retailer of choice. Retailers that can adapt and respond to the preferences of their customers will quickly move ahead of their competitors.
4. Big Data will continue to drive micro-segmentation. Personalization is and will continue to be the currency of the web. Those retailers that can leverage the customer data in ways that are valuable without being intrusive will position themselves to build powerful bonds with consumers. This will drive sales of existing product and provide retailers with a powerful asset they can use to guide new product/service development activities.
5. Price transparency will drive innovation. Retailers unable or unwilling to compete on price will need to differentiate themselves through either a unique shopping experience or distinctive product assortment. Brand marketers will innovate to offer differentiated products to niche consumer segments. Store brands will continue to flourish as retailers uncover ways they can become a destination for a truly unique offering. Continue reading
It seems like every other day we read about some far-out, new technology that makes us scratch our heads and say, “What the heck?” In this series, we’ll take a look at all types of crazy new gadgets, apps and other technologies — and the entrepreneurs dreaming them up.
Leave your pocket full of coins at home. A Finnish startup called Uniqul has created a payment system that is built on facial-recognition technology, without a need for cash or credit cards. Translation: This thing will let you pay with your face.
Yes, your face.
Customers who sign up with Uniqul will register a major credit card or information for a PayPal account. In stores that carry the Uniqul scanner, all anyone would need to do is stand next to the terminal, look into the camera and press OK. That’s it. Essentially, the technology analyzes footage of a person’s face, creates a numerical code based on its measurements, and then checks it against its database of users.
Expected to launch this fall, the service will be available to users for a monthly subscription fee. For businesses, the basic service is likely to be free. According to TechWeek Europe, Uniqul is primarily targeted at small businesses in the hospitality sector, and will “enable them to offer targeted incentives.” Continue reading
This fall, the industry will see its first-ever conference on the subject of ATM and mobile convergence when the ATM & Mobile Executive Summit takes place in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25-26. The event will be co-hosted by the Electronic Funds Transfer Association and sister publications ATM Marketplace and Mobile Payments Today.
There’s never been anything like this conference. Because until now, there’s never been anything like the ATM industry’s intensifying interest and lengthening list of questions about the subject of mobile-ATM interplay:
“Where is the trend going?”
“What mobile/ATM technologies and business models are working now?”
“How are customers reacting?”
“What about the response of regulators and lawmakers?”
The ATM & Mobile Executive Summit will answer these and other questions with help from highly placed experts, including representatives from the Federal Reserve, the Secret Service, the U.S. Treasury and C-level representatives from companies now making early inroads into the mobile financial segment.
Additional information about speakers, agenda and registration are available at the summit website. For a limited time, attendees who register with the discount code WESTER will receive a discounted price of $850 — $700 off the standard price of $1,550.
In advance of the summit, the sponsoring publications have produced a white paper, “Embracing Mobile at the ATM: Five ways mobile technology will change ATMs,” that addresses some of the basics of mobile and ATM convergence. Following is an excerpt from the paper.
Quick access to cash and credit is the priority, survey finds.
Millennials shell out for convenience.
That’s what a new survey to be released Friday and given exclusively to USA TODAY suggests when it comes to the generation’s use of alternative financial products that often come with high fees.
The survey of more than 1,000 people ages 18 to 34 by alternative financial products company Think Finance found that while 92% currently use a bank, nearly half, or 45%, say they have also used outside services including prepaid cards, check cashing, pawn shops and payday loans.
For a generation in which many are finding themselves cash-strapped, in debt from student loans and underemployed, convenience appears to trump getting stuck with extra charges when it comes to quick access to cash and credit.
“It’s flexibility and controllability that’s really important for Millennials,” says Ken Rees, president and CEO of Think Finance. “Banks don’t have great products for people who need short-term credit. They’re not really set up for that.”
And he points out that more than 80% of survey respondents said emergency credit options are at least somewhat important to them.
These are options that have been historically known for charging fees — check cashing can cost up to 3% of the amount of the check, and more depending on the company and how much you’re cashing. Most prepaid debit cards come with at least a monthly fee, and more fees for checking the account balance, ATM withdrawal or activation among others, found a survey of prepaid cards by Bankrate.com in April. Continue reading
Photo retrieved from Huffington Post.
A technology designed to make it easier to pay with your credit card may be putting Canadians at risk of fraud and identity theft, say security experts.
Many new credit and debit cards come with chips that allow customers to tap the card to make a purchase. The chips are read by payment machines, used in many retail outlets from Tim Hortons to high-end computer shops, and are supposed to be a safe and convenient way to pay for goods.
But the chips can also be read with a device millions of Canadians carry with them every day: a smartphone.
Using a Samsung Galaxy S3 — one of the most popular smartphones available in Canada — and a free app downloaded from the Google Play store, CBC News was able to read information such as a card number, expiry date and cardholder name simply holding the smartphone over a credit or debit card. Continue reading
Credit card processing is always a risky proposition, as there are countless fraudsters out there in the world threatening to pilfer consumers’ personal information. American Express is trying a new strategy to keep its corporate clients safe from potential data breach – by rolling out Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards for certain accounts in 2013, the corporation will include embedded microprocessor chips in its new cards, helping keep consumers’ information more secure.
According to Banktech.com, the microprocessor chips are a more advanced means of data security than the magnetic strips currently seen in most American credit cards today because they store and protect encrypted data on users’ accounts.
Furthermore, AmEx plans to institute a Fraud Liability Shift (FLS) policy in October 2015, transferring fraud liability away from clients who have begun using EMV technology.
According to another Banktech report, adoption of EMV technology has been a slow process, but the benefits are clear for businesses – early adopters will save money and become compliant with government-mandated security standards. Chris Ciabarra, co-founder and chief technological officer of Revel, expects the technology to catch on with more businesses soon.
“The clients who have been hacked the most want to jump at it,” Ciabarra said. “Big retailers know about it, but smaller businesses aren’t as aware.”