The emergence of innovative software and apps is transforming the way payments are made and the global commerce ecosystem. This is particularly evident when it comes to mobile and electronic payments, which are expected to grow at an annual rate of 59 percent and 18 percent respectively through 2014. And with global e-commerce transactions expected to increase from 29 billion in 2013 to 34 billion in 2014, there is an increasing need for secure and transparent global payment technology that focuses on consumer convenience and fraud prevention. Below are 12 companies which are making a significant impact on global commerce with innovative technology:
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Stripe offers a simple way for anyone to accept online payments without needing to code a fully functional payment system. In a matter of minutes, Stripe’s easy-to-integrate plug and play solution makes it possible for any business to accept and manage online payments. From storing cards and processing transactions to making payments, Stripe offers everything needed to power online transactions. Leading companies including Squarespace, Zoho Books, Foursquare and Shopify, among others, use Stripe to power their marketplaces. The service, which recently launched in Europe, has raised over $40 million in funding and is estimated to be worth $500 million.
Canvas is an international digital wallet, which lets anyone store, buy, use and accept a digital currency known as bitcoin. After connecting one’s bank account to the digital wallet, bitcoins can be bought and sold instantly and securely without any hassle. Coinbase also provides free payment processing to online businesses and vendors looking to add bitcoin to their online stores. Currently, Coinbase powers about 16,000 businesses, enabling them to manage all their bitcoin transactions in one place. Coinbase is seen to play a significant role in legitimizing digital currencies like bitcoin. Coinbase has raised over $30 million in funding.
Square aims to make it easy to make payments to anyone from anywhere, using a host of features including the famous Square credit card reader for mobile devices. This card reader enables anyone with a smartphone to accept credit cards without hassle and with low transaction fees. In addition, Square offers a Square Wallet which allows consumers to pre-store credit card details for one step payments. It’s now possible to transfer money to anyone via email using Square’s newly launched Square Cash. The company, which was founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, recently closed a $200 million round of funding.
Venmo is an Android and iOS app which makes it easy to transfer payments to friends for anything from rent and utilities to drinks and even birthday gifts. All payments made through Venmo are secured using sophisticated data encryption to prevent unauthorized transactions. There are also no transfer fees for payments, except for those from credit cards, which garner a three percent fee. The app is making money exchanges between friends easier, and due to its promise, was acquired by Braintree for over $20 million.
Flint is a mobile payments application which makes it possible for merchants to process credit and debit cards using a smartphone camera. The app empowers businesses with tools they need to handle transactions effectively outside the traditional retail environment, including issuing invoices and sending customers receipts. Customers also have the option to pay merchants using Flint with their mobile device instead of via check or bank transfer. Another novel feature available to merchants is the option to offer their customers in-app coupons at no extra charge. While the service does offer competitive rates, it doesn’t accept AmEx and Discover. Flint has raised $8 million in funding.
Tipalti is an automated global mass payment platform for making electronic payments to vendors in 190 countries without inconvenience or unnecessary charges. The Tipalti SaaS platform makes it easy for affiliate and advertising networks, crowdfunding platforms and all kinds of e-commerce businesses to make mass payments. Unlike other payment systems, Tipalti takes care of everything from payee registration and funds distribution to ensuring all tax and anti-terrorist regulations are met. In addition, the platform includes fraud management tools to keep payments safe, and comprehensive analytics to track all payments. Tipalti has processed payments to the value of $1 billion and has raised just over $3 million in funding.
Zipmark allows business owners to connect their U.S.-based checking accounts directly to other checking accounts for quick payments free of high charges and long waits typical of wire transfers, credit/debit payments and checks. The recipient only is charged 1 percent transaction fee, with a $5 maximum. The money is guaranteed to be transferred within one day, eliminating longer waits of PayPal and old-school checks. Zipmark also enables users to utilize QR codes to pay for anything from rent to fees or subscriptions. They are based in New York and have raised $3.5 million in venture capital.
Loop Commerce offers an easy to integrate checkout widget for online stores that allows consumers to buy and send any product in the store as a gift. The platform is designed to simplify online gift shopping by offering a separate checkout flow for gifting that obtains data from the recipient — including size, shipping address, and preferred color — in order to maximize satisfaction and minimize size and taste errors. Loop Commerce has raised $13 million in funding and has the backing of top level executives from companies such as eBay, Amazon, PayPal and Netflix.
Shopify is an ecommerce platform which provides all the tools small, emerging businesses and retailers need to set up an online store with ease. The Shopify storefront comes complete with a payment processing solution for accepting credit and debit cards. Not only can Shopify be used to set up fully-functioning online stores, but the Shopify point-of-sale application helps unify online and offline stores ensuring that information about inventory and sales is shared. Currently, Shopify powers over 80,000 stores, up from 40,000 last year. The company recently raised $100 million, bringing its total funding to $122 million.
Coin is an electronic payment card which stores all of one’s credit and debit card info — so you don’t have to carry them — and enables you to make payments. The service is designed to reduce clutter and to provide a safer alternative to carrying multiple cards. Using the Coin app and a card-swipe dongle, credit cards can be loaded. Once the cards are loaded, it’s easy to switch between cards for seamless payments. Only cardholders can add a card to the Coin card and in this way fraudulent credit card use is prevented. Other useful features include a notification when the Coin card isn’t near one’s phone reminding the card owner not to leave it behind. The card is available for pre-order on the Coin website.
WePay started off as an online payment service which aimed to take the hassle out of making group payments for events such as bachelor parties and vacations. Since its initial launch it has expanded to include non-profit donations as well as payment processing for merchants and small online stores. The platform has helped about 25,000 charities raise funds and has also been used by 900 colleges for fundraising. Sites such as GoFundMe, HoneyFund and Fundly use the WePay platform to process crowdsourced funding. The platform is also the preferred choice of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Since being founded 2009, WePay has raised $20 million in funding.
BillGuard is a personal finance security app which relies on crowdsourced information to draw a consumer’s attention to erroneous and unauthorized credit card charges. Whenever a charge is flagged by BillGuard, the user is alerted. The service also scans users’ statements daily so as to alert them to suspicious charges. Not only does BillGuard highlight suspicious activity, but it helps get a customer’s money back. In 2011 BillGuard raised $10 million in funding, bringing its total funding to $13 million.
As global commerce continues to evolve, increasingly sophisticated payment solutions are needed, which means we’re likely to see more and more companies enter this space in 2014.