Industry News
Transaction World Magazine

Industry News Update

Mobile commerce will take e-commerce from the home and office and place it firmly in the pockets of those on the move, enabling "anytime, anywhere" Internet transactions in the next four years, according to Frost & Sullivan, an international marketing consulting company.

   The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices further maximizes the potential for payments conducted via mobile phones will result in $25 billion in trade, about 15 percent of anticipated e-commerce, Frost & Sullivan predicts.
   Key growth is expected to occur in automated and attended POS systems and mobile-accessed payments (e.g., Internet payments).

Processor Concord EFS, operator of the STAR debit network, is working with Travelers Express/MoneyGram to offer a person-to-person money transfer service via the STAR network.

   The new service will allow STAR cardholders to initiate "send" transactions at participating ATMs, and will enable recipients to collect the funds via a special STAR MoneyGram card at any of the approximately 209,000 STAR ATMs nationwide.
   The ATM-to-ATM service is expected to pilot and begin initial rollout in the fall. The "send" service will be initially available through ATMs that are processed by Concord and eventually available to all participating STAR ATMs on an optional basis.

Linux is becoming an increasing popular operating platform for POS terminals, even though shipments dropped off at the end of 2001, according to IHL Consulting Group.

   "We began the year projecting 300-400 percent growth for Linux," says Greg Buzek, IHL Consulting president. "But two large retail defections from planned rollouts of POS units greatly hampered the growth of the operating system. Musicland was just about ready to roll with Linux when they were purchased by Best Buy, a Windows NT shop. And Home Depot also was looking to roll with Linux at the POS, but those plans were nixed when the company made several management changes."

European developments could be a precursor for the further development of smart cards in the U.S.

   The introduction of EMV-compliant solutions, coupled with the development of new technology, is expected to significantly expand the market for Electronic Fund Transfer Point of Sale (EFTPoS) in Europe, according to analyst Frost & Sullivan. The Europay Mastercard Visa is expected to help drive global interoperability of all smart card payments. Under proposed regulations, it will be mandatory for all EFTPoS terminals to read chip-based and smart payment cards by January 2005.
   "Merchants and banks are looking at terminal functionality rather than loyalty," says Frost & Sullivan analyst Michelle Bone. "Also, many vendors are producing terminals that can be suited to a broad spectrum of different national markets and debit systems."

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. and Creditel recently introduced PowerSwipe and PowerPay, two new payment products for mobile phones.

   USWD's Synapse service is the payment gateway for transaction processing and provides distribution of these Creditel products and services in the merchant-services marketplace.
   Creditel's PowerSwipe is a small card-reading device that a merchant can attach to a mobile phone. It adds credit card terminal capabilities. Field trials of the PowerSwipe attachment started in the second quarter.
   PowerPay is an alternative method of using a mobile phone to enter credit card information. Rather than swiping the card, a merchant enters the credit card information on the keypad.

Check volume is finally starting to level off after years of steady growth, according to Meridien Research, Newton, Mass.

   Analyst Jeanne Capachin credits increasing use of ACH payments and efforts by large companies like Wal-Mart. But there won't be a large scale shift to electronic payments until banks step in. Banks have been reluctant to push electronic payments because they have revenues and customer relationships tied to check products.
   Promoting electronic payments in favor of checks "would be disruptive to the way that banks do business," Capachin said.