Analysts on Apple: Looking to iPhone 6 upside

Wedge Partners and Pacific Crest weighed in on the rumored iPhone 6 this week, with Wedge also offering speculation on other possible products like the iWatch and a bigger iPad as well as strategies for services at Apple.

Overall, the research note from Wedge Partners' Brian Blair, as posted by Barron's, was upbeat, stating that "Apple's next array of products" provide an "opportunity" for investors. Apple shares have an upside this year of more than 20 percent, he said.

Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest was also optimistic, citing the iPhone 6.

"Apple is … Read more

Starbucks to allow for digital tips from iPhone

Coffee conglomerate Starbucks will push forward with its popular mobile payment program, which accounts for more than 11 percent of in-store transactions, by allowing customers in the US to add digital tips to their purchases.

The digital tipping feature will be included in the company's brand new Starbucks for iPhone application, arriving in Apple's App Store on March 19. A redesigned Android version with the tipping option is slated for release later this year.

The pending version of Starbucks for iPhone, though tailored for iOS 7, represents a modernized template for all of the company's digital services … Read more

MasterCard to boost credit card security with smartphones

With hacks, stolen credit card data, and identify fraud constantly on the rise, some credit card companies are looking into how to better beef up security.

MasterCard announced Tuesday that it has partnered with mobile technology company Syniverse to make it more difficult for unauthorized users to buy goods with nabbed credit cards. While working to heighten credit card security is nothing new, MasterCard's most recent plan is a bit different because it involves users' smartphone geolocation while they're traveling abroad.

The idea is that a users' credit card cannot be used unless it is within close range … Read more

Isis CEO: Foundation is here for mobile payments

BARCELONA, Spain -- When Michael Abbott took the job as chief executive of mobile payments venture Isis, his mother demanded that he make the service easy enough for her to use.

After giving it a go during last year's trials, she put her stamp of approval on the service, Abbott said during his keynote address during the Mobile World Congress trade show on Tuesday.

Indeed, Abbott believes the pieces are set for the broader adoption of mobile payments, or the ability to pay for goods and services with your phone.

"I believe a foundation is in place," … Read more

Galaxy S5 fingerprint sensor lets people shop with PayPal

Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S5 smartphone on Monday and it's full of bells and whistles, like a bigger display, improved camera, and built-in fingerprint sensor.

By no means is Samsung the first smartphone maker to debut fingerprint authentication, but it has done something different -- the Galaxy S5's sensor will also act as password protection for PayPal payments.

Samsung and PayPal announced Monday that they've partnered on the Galaxy S5 to let users pay for items password-free at all online and brick-and-mortar stores that accept PayPal. Users only need their fingerprint to buy goods.

This type … Read more

Amazon eyes payments biz with Kindle checkout system -- report

Brick-and-mortar retailers may soon have a good reason to partner with Amazon. The online giant reportedly plans to offer physical retailers a checkout system that would use Kindle tablets to process payments.

The system could be ready as soon as this summer, according to a report Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required). The system, which would initially be offered to small and midsize retailers, could involve either a combination of Kindle and credit card readers, or other services such as data analysis and Web site development.

The move would both strengthen Amazon's relationship with physical retailers and … Read more

Paypal executive leaves for mobile payments startup Clinkle

Clinkle has hired away an executive from digital payments giant PayPal, the startup announced Tuesday.

The fledging mobile payments company, which has yet to officially reveal how its product works, has hired Mike Liberatore, a vice president at PayPal heading up enterprise and North American financials, to be Clinkle's chief financial officer. He's leaving PayPal after nearly five years. Prior to his time at PayPal, he worked at the payments service's parent company eBay for four years.

"Clinkle is different in that our sole focus is to create a mobile wallet for day-to-day transactions," Liberatore … Read more

US retailer TigerDirect accepts Bitcoin payments, a significant US retailer of electronics products, announced Thursday it will accept payments made in the Bitcoin currency.

The move is a small but notable step in the gradual transformation of Bitcoin from an obscure digital currency into a mainstream payment mechanism. Bitcoin has been on a roller coaster ride, with its value surging on technological enthusiasm and speculative investing and then crashing, as when countries like China throw cold water on it.

Partnerships with mainstream companies -- even ones like that are focused on tech-savvy buyers -- helps add some legitimacy and make the coins … Read more

Online payment company Stripe raises $80M in financing

With an eye toward accelerating international expansion, online payments company Stripe has closed an $80 million round of financing that gives the startup a valuation of $1.75 billion.

The new round of financing, which included investment from venture-capital investors Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Founders Fund, brings the company's total funding to more than $130 million.

The 4-year-old payment processor plans to use the funding to beef up its infrastructure and expansion into overseas markets. The company launched into 10 markets during 2013 and announced Wednesday the addition of Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain … Read more

Twitter said to be teaming with Stripe for in-tweet payments

Twitter may soon be a platform retailers use for more than just advertising and marketing. If a report published today is accurate, retailers may soon be able to sell products and take payments directly in tweets.

According to the report by Recode on Thursday, Twitter may be teaming up with the online payments service Stripe to make it possible for retailers to accept credit cards directly through tweets.

"The deal, which is in the final stages but not yet complete," Recode wrote, "will be the surest sign that the social network is finally serious about making it … Read more