Money Transfer Industry Update - Target Wallet, Bitcoin, and Transferwise

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Marisa Fasciano
Content Specialist
Marisa is a communications consultant based in New York with a background in social research, diversity education, and nonprofit development.  She has lived and traveled abroad extensively… Read more

Target’s New Mobile Wallet Streamlines Checkout

Now Target shoppers can check out with a quick scan of their smartphones thanks to the retailer’s new mobile payments system.  Target Wallet integrates the Cartwheel savings program, which was already part of the store’s preexisting app, with the payment process. And soon it will allow users to apply Target GiftCards.  Target claims that the resulting one-step checkout process is four-times faster than other payment methods, such as chip-and-PIN cards.

According to Target’s chief information and digital officer, Mike McNamara, “Wallet in the Target app makes checkout easier and faster than ever.  Guests are going to love the convenience of having payment, Cartwheel offers, Weekly Ad coupons and GiftCards all in one place...” 

Wallet lets shoppers pay with their Target REDcard, which is available as either a debit card or a credit card and rewards cardholders with 5 percent back on purchases.  By encouraging the use of its proprietary card, Target hopes to reduce the fees it pays to other credit card providers and collect more consumer data. 

Steam Drops Bitcoin Support Citing High Fees and Volatility

The online game platform Steam, which is distributed by Valve Corporation, can no longer support Bitcoin for purchases because of the cryptocurrency’s high fees and volatility.  Fees for Steam customers paying with Bitcoin have shot up to as much as $20 per transaction, one hundred times more than when Steam first accepted Bitcoin last year.  (Valve cannot control the size of the fees.) Bitcoin’s value has experienced dramatic swings both up and down in recent months, sometimes jumping up by $1,000 in the course of a day or losing 25 percent of its value in a single week.

In a post on Steam, valve explained why it needed to pull the plug on Bitcoin.  “The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.”  Usually, the changes in price are addressed through a refund to the customer or an additional payment from the customer.  But the unpredictability of Bitcoin means that the amount of the refund or additional payment can be extreme and a financial shock to either the company or the customer.  

While sure of its decision for now, Valve is leaving the door open for a return to Bitcoin in the future should it become more stable.

Transferwise Earns #1 Spot Among UK’s Fastest-Growing Startups

The online equity investment platform SyndicateRoom recently released its list of the 100 UK businesses that achieved the fastest growth in value between 2014 and 2017.  Transferwise, the London-based money transfer wunderkind, beat out Deliveroo to claim the top spot.  In the past three years, Transferwise’s value has exploded by a multiple of 57. CEO Kristo Käärmann attributes this huge success in part to the support of world class investors.  “But really what drives us is making money move across borders easier, cheaper, faster for the millions of people who need to manage their money across two or more countries.”


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