Ahead of the upcoming school year, Apple this morning announced it’s bringing contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet to several more U.S. universities. The expansion will allow more than 100,000 additional college students to carry their student ID on their iPhone or Apple Watch, where it can be used for a variety of tasks, including paying for their meals and snacks and entry into buildings, like the student’s dorm and other campus facilities.
The expanded list of universities includes: Clemson University, Georgetown University, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of San Francisco, University of Vermont, Arkansas State University, South Dakota State University, Norfolk State University, Louisburg College, University of North Alabama and Chowan University.
These join the previously supported schools: Duke University, University of Oklahoma, University of Alabama, Temple University, Johns Hopkins University, Marshall University and Mercer University.
The contactless IDs not only serve as a means of student identification, but also work as a payment mechanism for on-campus transactions — like meals at the cafeteria or textbooks and supplies at the college’s bookstore, for example. Contactless entry into buildings is also now common on college campuses, and these digital IDs can work to open doors, too, as an alternative to swiping an entry card.
Support for college student IDs is only one way that Apple is trying to replace the physical wallet. The company also supports the ability to add your debit and credit cards, transit and loyalty cards, tickets and even paper money through Apple Pay Cash. And now it’s launching its own credit card, too, which rewards you with cashback for shopping Apple and using Apple Pay.
“We’re happy to add to the growing …Read More
Apple Card is getting its first group of public test users today. A limited amount of customers that signed up to be notified about the release of Apple Card are getting the ability to apply for the card in their Wallet app today — as well as the option to order their physical Apple Card.
I’ve been using the card for a few days on my own device, making purchases and payments and playing around with features like Apple Cash rewards and transaction categorization.
A full rollout of Apple Card will come later in August. It requires iOS 12.4 and up to operate.
The application process was simple for me. Portions of the information you need are pre-filled from your existing AppleID account, making for less manual entry. I had an answer in under a minute and was ready to make my first purchase instantly. I used it both online and in person with contactless terminals.
The card on the screen has a clever mechanism that gives you a sort of live heat map of your spending categories. The color of the card will shift and blend according to the kinds of things you buy. Spend a lot at restaurants and the card will take on an orange hue. Shop for entertainment related items and the card shifts into a mix of orange and pink. It’s a clever take on the chart based spending category features many other credit cards have built into their websites.
As many have pointed out, if you’re the kind of person that maximizes your points on current cards towards super specific rewards, like travel miles, the rewards system of Apple Card will not feel all that impressive. This is by design. Apple’s aim on this initial offering was to provide the most representational and …Read More
Flutterwave is a Nigerian-founded B2B payments service (primarily) for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.
Alipay is Alibaba’s digital wallet and payments platform. In 2013, Alipay surpassed PayPal in payments volume and currently claims a global network of more than 1 billion active users, per Alibaba’s latest earnings report.
A large portion of Alipay’s network is in China, which makes the Flutterwave integration significant to capturing payments activity around the estimated $200 billion in China-Africa trade.
“This means that all our merchants can accept or install Alipay as a payment type to accept payments from its billion users,” Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga Agboola — aka GB — told TechCrunch.
“There’s a lot of trade between Africa and China and this integration makes it easier for African merchants to accept Chinese customer payments.”
A Flutterwave company release added, “We’ve managed to connect African countries…to each other so it was about time we connected Africa to the world. We started with the U.S. … but you can’t connect Africa to the world without China.”
An Alipay spokesperson confirmed with TechCrunch the Flutterwave collaboration. Flutterwave will earn revenue from the partnership by charging its standard 2.8% on international transactions. The company currently has more than 60,000 merchants on its platform, according to Agboola.
The Flutterwave-Alipay alliance developed out of Agboola’s acceptance in Alibaba’s Africa eFounders Fellowship.
“Because of that I was in China to do meetings with Jack Ma and the only ask I had from that trip is ‘I want to be the Africa payment infrastructure that plugs directly into Alipay,’ ” Agboola said.
The Alipay partnership follows one between Flutterwave and …Read More
In China, striving for accuracy in a piece of facial recognition software isn’t enough. As Alibaba’s e-wallet affiliate Alipay has recently demonstrated, the way software presents a user’s look is also crucial to its success.
On Tuesday, Alipay announced on social media platform Weibo (in Chinese) that it’s added beauty filters to its pay-with-face system inside the app. Within a week, the feature will roll out across retail stores equipped with Alipay’s face-scanning solutions.
“We are going to make you look even prettier than with a beauty camera. I bet you’ll be impressed,” Alipay wrote on Weibo.
The new feature was created to address complaints that facial recognition machines make people look ugly. A new poll (in Chinese) ran by news portal Sina Technology showed that more than 60% of respondents think they look uglier through the next-gen payments method than on a regular camera. This could be a real concern for beauty-obsessed people who, at a busy supermarket checkout, find their face displayed unflatteringly on a large computer screen.
The chase of beauty in China has spawned a handful of movers and shakers in the internet space, from Hong Kong-listed selfie-app maker Meitu to plastic surgery marketplace So-Young that recently raised $180 million from a Nasdaq public listing.
Will WeChat Pay, the payments solution of messaging giant WeChat, follow in Alipay’s shadow to build a similar offering? Beauty filters can be a competitive advantage to a business, if not a necessity. In an effort to draw more female users, smartphone maker Xiaomi recently joined with Meitu to develop new models that place more focus on selfies, stickers and graphics.
Alipay boasts more than one billion monthly active users of late. WeChat doesn’t break out the number for its payments segment, but said in March the service processed more than …Read More
The latest pairing between a tech upstart and a financial titan is a digital prepaid card targeted at Southeast Asia’s 430 million-plus unbanked and underserved population.
On Monday, Razer, the Singapore-based company best known for its gaming laptops and peripherals, announced a partnership with Visa to develop a Visa prepaid solution. The service, which allows unbanked users to top up and cash out easily, will be available as a mini program embedded in Razer Pay, the gaming company’s mobile payments app. That means Razer’s 60 million registered users will be able to pay at any of the 54 million merchant locations around the world that take Visa.
Going virtual is the natural step given the region’s fast-growing digital population, but the pair does not rule out the possibility to introduce a physical prepaid card down the road, Razer’s chief strategy officer Li Meng Lee told TechCrunch over a phone interview.
Both parties have something to gain from this marriage. Hong Kong-listed Razer has in recent years been doubling down on fintech to prove it’s more than a hardware company. Payment services seem like an inevitable development for Razer whose users in the region are accustomed to buying in-game credits at convenience stores.
“For many years, the people who have been making digital payments before it became a sexy word in the last couple of years… [many of them] are the gamers who go to a 7-Eleven, pay in cash, and get a pin code to buy virtual skins for the games,” noted Lee. “Because of that, we’ve been able to build up more than a million service points across Southeast Asia.”
The key differentiator of Razer’s prepaid service, Lee said, is that customers paying at Visa merchants don’t …Read More
Google and PayPal have been strategic partners for some time. The companies in 2017 announced that PayPal would become a payment method in Android Pay, the service that later rebranded as Google Pay. Last year, users who added PayPal as a payment method on Google Pay could then pay for services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Play and Google Store purchases via a PayPal option in Google Pay. Now, a similar integration is making its way to online merchants who accept Google Pay on their website or mobile app.
With this expanded integration, merchants can opt to enable PayPal as a payment method in their own Google Pay integration — something that’s easily done if Google Pay has already been implemented on their site. All that’s required is only a small code change to the list of allowed payment methods (see below).
At that point forward, any online shopper who wants to check out using Google Pay will have the option of selecting PayPal to make the purchase.
The benefit of this integration for consumers is that they won’t have to sign in to PayPal when they use it through Google Pay, which cuts down the number of steps to take at checkout. That, in turn, can increase conversions. They’ll also have access to PayPal’s Purchase Protection and Return Shipping benefits.
For online merchants who are also PayPal merchants, when a customer selects PayPal through Google Pay, the merchant receives the money in their PayPal Business Account within minutes.
PayPal’s embrace of its one-time competitors like Apple and Google actually began several years ago, and is still gaining ground as the …Read More