The market for creating and running a payments company seems to be increasing as more and more businesses appear to be jumping into bed with the idea of crafting their own payment technologies.
It doesn't seem to matter where their company history lies either as even places like Starbucks fall into the space.
Regardless, their presence is disrupting the existing model and channels of payment that we've grown so accustomed to over time.
Here are five companies and technologies that, while still remaining largely dormant, could easily disrupt payments.
We're all aware by now just what Bitcoin is and how it can be used to help shape a truly digital economy – perhaps even an ideal for the future of humanity's expansion into space. But how is the virtual currency mixing it up in the real world? Through the help of BitInstant: a company that plans to introduce Bitcoin prepaid cards to help consumers spend the virtual currency at any merchant who accepts MasterCard.
Breadcrumb, by Groupon
Groupon, the folks best known for daily deals and newly announced restaurant table bookings and discounts, entered the payments space last year with an mPOS device. While it hasn't made any astounding waves so far, the rebranded Breadcrumb reader has set the company up for some potentially incredible payments and loyalty redemption schemes with both huge retailers and small businesses across the nation. If that's not enough to entice millions of users, then what is really?
While not a direct competitor to any current technology on the market – perhaps PayPal or Google Wallet – Dwolla aims to upset the balance of payments with a lightning-fast infrastructure that'll allow the transfer of money between customers and merchants as well as general P2P transfers. It promises to make payment transfers as quick as those of card, meaning no waiting around for things to clear online, you make a payment and a merchant gains it instantly and effortlessly. While it's currently US only at the moment, it has the potential to become something great.
Facebook as a whole isn't a disruptor to the payments industry, if anything it's a potential facilitator to customer purchases due to the fully integrated nature of the platform to websites and stores for you to purchase and share your purchases with others. However, the company did add an integrated payments model for mobile payments while in app for third-parties. Should retailers or developers (beyond free-to-play game developers) make the most of it, it could easily replace PayPal or other online payment acceptance services on retailer websites. After all, most online shoppers would be quite pleased if they only had to log in with a Facebook account to purchase their goods.
SpotPay from Fiserv, MagTek and WorldPay may have found a great way into the mPOS market thanks to a partnership with banks. Instead of having a third-party issuer, merchants can go straight to their bank and ask if they offer an mPOS service and they'll get given a SpotPay device. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it from a merchant's point of view as it offers the familiarity and security that inherently comes with your bank and bank account, something that – while perfectly safe – isn't inherently insured with third-party devices.
Are there any other key disruptors out there that have come to market or will come to market soon? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below with your thoughts.
You can also come along to Total Payments Europe in London this September to find out more about the future of payment technologies and how it could affect the customer and small businesses.