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Credit Card Cos: Who’s Doing What in Mobile Payments?: Tech News and Analysis « Visa is making a strategic investment in mobile payment provider Square, providing the start-up with an undisclosed sum of money as well as a new advisory board member.

Credit Card Cos: Who’s Doing What in Mobile Payments?: Tech News and Analysis «

It’s a nice boost for Square, which is on a roll as it tries to ramp up payments via a smartphone. But it also highlights the growing role of credit card companies as they try to prepare for the growing mobile payments boom. Visa Gives Square A Big Wet Kiss. Jack Dorsey's payment startup Square, just got a nice vote of confidence from Visa.

Visa Gives Square A Big Wet Kiss

In a blog post, Visa heaps praise on innovative payments startups and mention Square by name, saying it loves working with them. Starbucks Starts Accepting Mobile Payments Nationwide. Nearly 6,800 company-operated Starbucks stores in the U.S. will begin accepting mobile payments Wednesday.

Starbucks Starts Accepting Mobile Payments Nationwide

Customers using the Starbucks Card Mobile app on their iPhone, iPod touch or BlackBerry will now be able to use those devices as tender. The nationwide rollout marks the official launch of the Starbucks Card Mobile payment program, which has been piloted at Target stores and select San Francisco, Seattle and New York Starbucks locations. Starbucks Card Mobile [iTunes link] lets users add their Starbucks Cards, track rewards and reload cards as needed via PayPal or credit card.

To pay with their phone, app users simply select "touch to pay" and hold up the barcode on their mobile device screen to the 2-D scanner at the register. An Android application is also said to be in the works, but the company has yet to disclose a release date. Starbucks is using its own custom-built technology to enable the 2-D mobile barcode scans. Image courtesy of gumption, Flickr.

KreditFly launches mobile payments system with credit guarantees (exclusive) Online games have seen huge windfalls thanks to the free-to-play business model, where a user plays for free and then pays money for virtual goods.

KreditFly launches mobile payments system with credit guarantees (exclusive)

But getting more people to pay could make the business even bigger. That’s where mobile payments start-up KreditFly comes in. KreditFly is launching a mobile payments system that makes it much easier for gamers to get off the fence and pay for virtual items. And it carries little risk for merchants, who won’t get stuck with the tab so easily when users fail to pay. THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: Will Google's Mobile Payment System Replace Credit Cards?

The Google Investor is a daily report from SAI.

THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: Will Google's Mobile Payment System Replace Credit Cards?

Sign up here to receive it by email GOOG Up Strong In Rocky MarketThe markets are trading sideways amidst weak December retail sales data. Shares of GOOG, however are bucking the trend, up over 1% Upcoming catalysts include continued Android growth; regaining momentum in China; updated software, adoption and media partners for Google TV; and progress in other newer initiatives (location-based services and mapping, gaming, etc.). The stock trades at approximately 16x Enterprise Value / EBIT, inexpensive relative to historical trading levels and the broader Internet group. Bump’s Mobile Data Swapping API Now Open To Everyone. Last December, mobile data swapping startup Bump opened up its iPhone API in a small, private beta.

Bump’s Mobile Data Swapping API Now Open To Everyone

Today, they’re opening the floodgates to everyone. Bump 2.0 Is Live, Adds Social Networks, Wireless Photo Transfer. Bump, the innovative mobile app that lets you exchange contact information by bumping your phone together with someone else's, just announced the availability of version 2.0 in the iTunes app store.

Bump 2.0 Is Live, Adds Social Networks, Wireless Photo Transfer

The app is newly redesigned and has added some features that are simply awesome. The app uses your phone's location and accelerometer features to send a signal to the Bump server whenever the app is running and your phone shakes. If Bump detects that two users have their phones jostled in the same place, at the same time, the service presumes those two people want to exchange contact info. It's a great little system, and with the new version users can do even more. Users can now connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Bump has already proven itself the easiest way to replace business cards - and actually save peoples' info - between smartphone users. Bump 2.0 is an upgrade to the existing app, or can be downloaded via iTunes at this link.

Cellphone Payments Offer Alternative to Cash. Michael Falco for The New York Times Joe Mangrum, a sidewalk artist in Manhattan, with a device attached to his iPhone to scan credit cards and take donations.

Cellphone Payments Offer Alternative to Cash

Several of the companies have developed small credit card scanners that plug into a cellphone and for a small fee enable any individual or small business to turn a phone into a credit card processing terminal. PayPal’s cellphone app calls for only a simple bump of two cellphones to transfer money. has submitted a patent application for a cellphone payment system. Brian Kusler, 40, a software engineer, is already helping dollar bills join coins as collector’s items. After he polished off grilled lamb and zinfandel at a San Francisco restaurant recently, his dining companion paid the bill and asked him for his share. Zong Emerges: Facebook Deal And $15 Million In Funding. We’ve been tracking mobile payments provider Zong since 2008 – in a nutshell, it lets you pay for things, particularly virtual goods online, via direct billing to your mobile phone.

Zong Emerges: Facebook Deal And $15 Million In Funding

Despite heavy competition from well-backed boku, the service has emerged as a leader in alternative payments. Facebook likes them so much they made them the mobile payment provider for Facebook Credits. See our post Mobile Payments Getting Traction On Social Networks, But Fees Are Sky High from last year for a deeper dive on their business. Early this year the company was spun off from its European parent, Echovox, and Echovox founder David Marcus moved to the U.S. to run the fast growing Zong. Monnaie mobile : des services innovants portés par les usagers « MOBACTU / by @loallard. Certains considèrent le mBanking comme relevant d’une innovation disruptive, au sens où il aura permis un accès à des services bancaires à des populations rejetées par les institutions bancaires dans les pays en développement.

Monnaie mobile : des services innovants portés par les usagers « MOBACTU / by @loallard

M-PESA, le modèle à suivre Ainsi, depuis l’automne dernier, à Haïti est proposé par la fondation de l’opérateur Digicel, qui touche un quart de la population, un service de dépôt et de transfert d’argent Tcho Tcho Haiti à quelques 20 000 personnes pour l’instant. Un autre opérateur haïtien Voilà en partenariat avec l’agence d’aide internationale Mercy Corps, via un programme du gouvernement américain, a mis au point un compte en banque mobile allouant 40$ de crédit par mois afin d’acheter de la nourriture. Entre philanthropie et capitalisme, le rôle des fondations télécom A noter que ce sont souvent les fondations des opérateurs mobiles qui ouvrent de tels services. Des innovations portées par les usagers. PayPal Looks Beyond eBay to a Mobile Future. Facebook Arrives in Tanzania. “You know Facebook?” A 21-year-old Tanzanian accounting student named Noel asked me.

We were sitting on a couple of plastic chairs last night outside a tiny, concrete local store selling individually packaged shampoo packets, detergent and Cokes for about 10 to 30 cents a piece in a northern part of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It was getting late. The geckos and mosquitoes were starting to appear and a group of children chased the neighborhood goats down a nearby dirt road. Noel wanted to stay in touch after our lengthy conversation about the upcoming national elections. “Yes, of course.” Thirty minutes after I left, a friend request popped into my inbox. Slowly, it’s coming here. Even so, there are plenty of obstacles that Facebook has to overcome to become as pervasive as it is in other parts of the world. The cost of Internet access here is prohibitive at roughly 60 cents per hour at a local cafe.