What happened this week in payments

Square launches Virtual Terminal to accept payments online

Square, a financial services and mobile payment company, is giving UK businesses a new way to accept payments. The launch of Virtual Terminals is a service that allows users to take payments directly on their computers.

Until now, sellers using Square in the UK have been able to take card payments by keying in the cards through the Point of Sale App on their smartphone or tablet, or by using the Square Reader. Virtual Terminal allows Square sellers to also accept payments directly on their computer using the Square dashboard.

Sarah Harvey, UK Lead for Square, said: “Virtual Terminal is something our sellers have been asking us for and has already proved hugely popular around the world. We are pleased to be bringing it to the UK’s thriving community of small and medium-sized businesses.”

A new smart money app is beta-testing in the UK

Yolt, the new money platform backed by ING, has launched its open beta today for iOS and Android. The app has been tested since October last year and offers users a new way of managing their money smartly and intuitively.

The app enables users to view their bank and credit cards in one place, set budgets and see what shops they’re spending the most with – giving them a real view of how much money they have until payday. The aim of the app is to challenge the status quo of money management, taking away the pain of managing finances, and allowing people to save time and enjoy life more by focusing on money management less.

Frank Jan Risseeuw, CEO, Yolt, comments: “In modern life, the phrase ‘time is money’ has never felt more apt. But fewer people have either the time or the desire to actually look after their money effectively. Instant gratification is the norm – people want convenience, speed, and customisation. Yolt understands that. We’re a mobile app, designed to change the way people think about their finances, and harness the power of open banking to make it easier for people to focus on the other things in life.”

Bitcoin price soars past $2,000 for the first time ever

The cryptocurrency was trading around $1,700 until it hit an all-time record high of $2,000 last week. The surge gained interest from various big media outlets, further sparking to its continual growth.

At the beginning of the year in January, Bitcoin was trading at an high of $1,003.25, and in May, it soared past $2,300, marketing a rise of 137% in the year so far.

Reports show that rival cryptocurrency Ethereum has also risen significantly, beginning the year at $8.24 on January 1st to hitting a $203 throughout the year.

Android Pay goes live in Canada

Canada is the latest country where Google has launched Android Pay. The mobile wallet feature will be supported by several big banks, as well as being available in a handful of chain retailers such as McDonalds.

Canadians will also be able to use an integrated Android Pay button in certain apps, such as Uber and LuluLemon.

“We’ll be rolling out support for top banks over the next several days, and this is just the beginning,” said Pali Bhat, Google’s vice president of product management for payments, wrote in a blog post. “We will continue to add even more features, banks and store locations in the coming months.”

Billion dollar start-up Stripe launches new data analytics tool

Stripe has launched Sigma, a new data analytics tool designed specifically for technology companies powered by Stripe.

Sigma is an SQL query tool that lets anyone quickly analyze and make business decisions on their most important information: financial, payments and order data. It’s fully integrated into users’ Stripe accounts and requires no integration or setup work.

“Good data analytics should be like a good email system: fast to get, easy to use, and readily available to anyone in the company,” said John Collison, President and co-founder of Stripe. “This is particularly true for revenue and financial information, which can inform a lot of strategic decisions. With Sigma, we’re giving businesses a zero-setup tool that can be customized for any number of purposes. Whether you work in finance, analytics, customer support or product management, Sigma gives you an easy way to make sense out of your data.”

Read last week’s news round-up here

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