PayPal

David Gelles

Indian PayPal users can once again use local banks to withdraw money from their accounts, resolving a hiccup that for weeks had prevented users in the world’s second most populous country from getting cash from their accounts.

The trouble began last month, when Indian regulators threw a wrench into PayPal’s business in the country as they investigated whether PayPal, the world’s largest online payments company, should be considered a remittances business.

As a result, PayPal stopped allowing users to transfer funds directly from one personal account to another, and also made it impossible for its customers in India to withdraw PayPal funds through a bank, effectively shutting down the only method for retrieving an account’s balance. Person-to-person transfers will likely be suspended for a few months as the company works with regulators to obtain new licenses that will allow it to legally handle remittances. Read more >>

David Gelles

A new alliance should make it a bit easier to get around the web without accumulating yet more usernames and passwords.

The Open Identity Exchange will enable users of PayPal, Google and Equifax to sign into certain US government websites using their credentials from those sites.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the first government website accepting these credentials. Once signed into the NIH website with, say, a PayPal ID, users can perform customized library searches, access training resources, register for conferences, and contribute to medical research wikis. Read more >>

David Gelles

Last week’s announcement by Facebook that it would use PayPal as its payments provider brought together two of the most potent forces on the internet – e-commerce and social networking.

Yet for all the promise each sector holds, the two have been slow to converge. Online shopping is still a generally solitary affair, while social networking has yet to place much emphasis on buying stuff. This may soon change.

Today the chief executive of Ebay, which owns PayPal and is the world’s largest online auctions site, offered new insights into how e-commerce and social networking might work in concert with one another, and what he sees as the next big opportunities for collaboration. Read more >>

David Gelles

Part of Amazon’s success is attributable to the ease it has brought to the payments experience. Shopping on Amazon.com is made simple by Amazon storing much of a customer’s checkout information and minimising clicks, and a few years ago Amazon rolled out Checkout, which lets users on other websites pay using their Amazon credits or payments information stored on Amazon. (Amazon doesn’t reveal Checkout has been successful.)

Now Amazon has released a Mobile Payments Service. The programme will let e-commerce sites integrate the Checkout experience into sites designed for mobile phones, presenting yet another option for developers who are eager to encourage more mobile-commerceRead more >>

David Gelles

Starbucks unveiled a first-of-its-kind app today that lets users pay for in-store purchases using their iPhone, a move that could pave the way for a new generation of e-commerce applications on Apple’s popular phone.

With the Starbucks Card Mobile App, users can sync their prepaid Starbucks Card with the app, check their balance and refill it using a credit card. At some stores, they can also use the app to pay for Venti coffees and Frappuccinos.

When users select the “payment trial” function on the app, a QR code appears on the iPhone screen. A barista then scans the iPhone, deducting the cost from the Starbucks Card balance, and completing the purchase.

The trial is being rolled out at 16 locations in Seattle and Silicon Valley, where there is high usage of both iPhones and Starbucks Cards. But expect the programme to go nationwide soon, and for other retailers to follow. Read more >>

David Gelles

PayPal said in March that it planned to double revenues in two years, growing from $2.4bn to $5bn by 2011. It was an audacious goal, but today PayPal gave some indication of how it hopes to achieve as much.

With the official introduction of its platform on Thursday, PayPal invited third-party developers to tap into the PayPal experience and weave it into their own applications and websites. Called Adaptive Payments, the platform should expand PayPal’s reach, bringing it to iPhone, Facebook and Twitter applications, and perhaps into the physical retail world. Read more >>

  • IBM took its offer to buy Sun Microsystems off the table when the onetime Silicon Valley powerhouse asked for more money, and said it wanted to talk with other potential buyers when IBM balked. People familiar with the negotiations said everything might still be worked out, since no other suitors are expected and the financial difference between the two sides isn’t vast.
  • The Associated Press is hoping to stanch what it claims is the rampant unauthorised republication of its content across the web. Websites – including Google News – will have to seek permission to use the work of the AP or its member newspapers, and may face legal action if they don’t comply.

 Read more >>

Chris Nuttall

There are signs the mobile payments market is really taking off at last with Nokia announcing a substantial investment in service provider Obopay today.

The amount, understood to be in the region of $70m, is being put in by Nokia itself rather than its venture arm and gives it a minority stake in the Silicon Valley company. Read more >>