Up until this point, the whole NFC/Mobile payments craze have largely been focused on smartphones, since, well, you’re more likely to have a cellphone than a notebook on you when you’re shopping. But hey, what about e-shopping? Intel and MasterCard just announced that they’ve teamed up to make Ultrabook a little more “Ultra” by adding mobile payments to the support list for the ultraportable laptops. You’ll still need your cellphone, though.
Hackers are trying to take credit for bringing down MasterCard's website yesterday, a plausible claim given the recent hackathon that's been sweeping through cyberspace. However, the world's second largest consumer payment network blamed the temporary downtime on its telecommunications service provider, while insisting that no card user accounts are in jeopardy.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google has entered into an arrangement with Citigroup and MasterCard to enable mobile payments on Android phones. The technology, which is currently being tested, would make use of wireless near-field communication (NFC). Customers would be able to wave their device over a reader to pay for items.
RIAA and MPAA are pulling out all the stops to suck the life out of file sharing sites like Megaupload and Rapidshare. Initially, they pinned their hopes on the contentious Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that seeks to prevent credit card companies and payment processors from rendering their services to sites actively associated with infringing activities.
But with COICA effectively lying dead in the water ever since it was blocked by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the powerful trade organizations have turned their focus to goading payment processors, ISPs and, ad networks into abandoning sites that aid piracy.
In a statement sent to ZeroPaid, Megaupload stressed that it’s actually “a legitimate business operating within the boundaries of the law” that has never been sued for copyright infringement. The company also downplayed the financial value of its relationship with MasterCard, even suggesting that should the credit card company cease payment processing for the popular file sharing site, “they will have a problem not us.”
Megaupload made it very clear that it isn’t too pleased with MasterCard’s activist zeal: “Are payment processors trying to become the legislature of the new decade? Will it be them, rather than elected governments, who decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Will ballots be replaced by wallets, will people cast their votes by choosing a conservative or a liberal credit card? First WikiLeaks, then cyberlockers – what’s next, and where will it end? Will you no longer be able to settle your ISP bill by MasterCard, as your carrier of choice may profit from copyright infringement?”
The bean counters over at Mastercard tallied up all the receipts and determined that eCommerce sales for the entire holiday shopping season -- October 31 to December 24 -- outpaced last year's figures by 15.4 percent.
"Today eCommerce accounts for a much larger share of overall retail sales compared to a few years ago. And during this holiday season, it registered double digit growth for 6 out of 7 weeks," noted Michael McNamara, Vice President, for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. "In terms of sub-categories, apparel was the clear leader, helping increase the channel’s overall lift. In terms of share, online apparel sales during the holiday season accounted for 18.8 percent of total sales in that category, compared to 16.9 percent in 2009. As for some of the other sub-sectors, online electronics, not surprisingly, also recorded significant gains, while Jewelry, although still in positive territory, lagged behind."
Online shoppers bought $36.4 billion worth of goods this holiday shopping season, highlighted by 6 days that surpassed $1 billion in sales, compared with 3 days in 2009, according to Mastercard.