Mobile money

The race to set the standard for mobile couponing and payment

Recently, Groupon has announced several aggressive new moves into the mobile payment space. With the acquisition of Breadcrumbs (developer of a POS system for iOS) and Kima labs (developer of mobile shopping and barcode reader apps) and the trial of Infinite Peripherals’ card reader for mobile devices, Groupon is complementing their existing components to bring their couponing service to the mobile for both consumers and retailers.

Similarly, PayPal has struck an agreement with Ingenico, Verifone and Equinox to integrate its service into the vendors’ POS terminals for US retailers. It has also just launched PayPal Instore, a barcode-reading service on iOS and Android devices for mobile phones in the UK retail market.

The race is getting more and more fierce between the pure payment and loyalty players, such as Groupon and PayPal, and the integrated players, such as Google wallet and the operator-led wallet, Isis. The battle is on to determine whose system will be the most deployed and adopted by both retailers and consumers. POS vendors are now elaborating middleware strategies to integrate into these new payment acquirer networks.

Is consolidation somewhere in the near future? This doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment, but surely the next 12 months will be crucial for the players to push their systems to set the winning standard.

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