The biggest noise in the fintech echo chamber this week was the launch of Clinkle. A mobile wallet app that aims to get round the infrastructural challenges of POS terminals and wi-fi by communicating with other Clinkle devices via high frequency sound. Details are a bit thin on the ground at the moment though. The app has been built by folk at Stanford University and has raised a whopping $25 million in early investment. I can’t help thinking this company might end up being the Color of the fintech world. It will certainly be very tough for them. The Next Web wrote about the current state of mobile wallets in Europe in what is becoming a very crowded market..
Square teased that they were launching in a new market, making me hopeful it was the UK. It was all a ruse however and they actually launched an actual market. Allowing merchants to build an online store, lowering the barrier to entry to online sales for the small merchants that are the typical Square card processing users. Wired speculated that it might integrate well with the new Twitter cards, Intriguing. Not all good news for Square though as one new thing opened, their gift card service closed down.
Mobile Point of Sale terminals, the market that Square kickstarted, is hotting up in the UK. John Lewis will soon be selling WorldPay Zinc MPOS terminals for £60. Lloyds have also announced they are working with Monitise on their white label MPOS system.
Mastercard launched Simplify, their new set of APIs for making it easy to add payments to apps and web services. Some commentators have noted that is a straight copy of Stripe and that the name is very close to Bank Simple. The scrappy start ups are clearly having an impact on the incumbents.
Barclays made some changes to their terms of service that indicate they are to start selling customer data to third parties and track mobile phone location data. It will be interesting to see customer reaction to that change. In less controversial news they also launch a lovely new feature in their mobile banking app that lets you call them directly from the app and avoid the automated system and get straight through to a human as your are validated. Slick.
Vocalink announced a new merchant targeted mobile payment initiative called Zapp, not to be confused with the classic games magazine. Dave Birch pored over the confusing reporting to explain it all.
Bitcoin News. Plenty going on again this week in the crypto currency world. The DEA seized Bitcoins from a suspected drug dealer. A man was charged with trying to extort $1 million in Bitcoins from Mitt Romney, This micropayments add on to Bitcoin looks interesting and is another example of the fact we still on’t know what Bitcoin can become. Interesting article on how a newbie to Bitcoin mining made $700 worth of coins very simply. Btcoin vs the regulators, someday soon someone is going to stand up and say no. Finally a good read on Bitcoin as new technology but a familiar revolution.
Goldman Sachs dropped Lloyd Blankfein pocket change i.e. $100 million, on Big Data firm, Applied Predictive Technologies.
In other Goldman news, details were published on their all night $70,00 per team techy scavenger hunt. Crazy rich people.
Tesco Bank launched a telematics based car insurance product.
New Zealand bank ASB have a little experiment running on Facebook this Wednesday. The LikeLoan interest rate will drop lower the more Facebook likes the product page receives on one day.
Source Code for the Carberp banking malware leaked online meaning we could see some really nasty variants springing up.
PR Stunt of the week. PayPal got loads of coverage on their attempts to bring payments technology to space to prepare for the colonisation of other planets. PayPal Galactic want to look into questions such as ‘What will our standard currency look like in a truly cash-free interplanetary society?’. Dave Birch pointed out that this galaxy had been explored before by Travelex in 2007.
In slightly related news a sci fi currency converter is now available so you can work out how much Federation Credits or the Ankh Morpork Dollar are worth in real world currency terms.
And finally…The Onion hit the nail on the head yet again when they highlighted how normal people see financial reporting. Markets in turmoil as price of money skyrockets to $90 a dollar.
That’s all for this week. If you want this news and more first then follow my little FintechBot on Twitter.