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Sprint, MasterCard, First Data and Citibank team up for Google Wallet mobile payment service

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Search engine giant Google announced the launch of Google Wallet, a mobile payment service that allows consumers to pay for goods via their smartphones. The application is currently being field-tested in San Francisco and New York, and will be available to consumers in the summer.

The new Google Wallet will initially work with a MasterCard from Citigroup and with a prepaid debit card issued by Google, and on one smartphone, the Google Nexus S 4G carried by Sprint Nextel. It will connect only to MasterCard PayPass terminals. There are more than 124,000 PayPass-enabled merchants nationally, according to Google, and more than 311,000 globally.

“MasterCard has pioneered mobile payments with our PayPass technology and we’re proud that it is at the heart of Google Wallet,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard.

First Data, a provider of electronic commerce and payment processing, is actively recruiting thousands of new merchants in the test areas and will soon expand those efforts to deploy more contactless merchant terminals across the country, Google said.

“The payments industry has known for some time that it was not a question of if, but when true mobile commerce would become a reality. We believe today is the day that mobile meets payments,” said Ed Labry, president, North America, First Data.

Google describes its mobile payment option as a "single-tap" solution, meaning shoppers should be able to pay with a single tap of their phone on a payment terminal, or a swipe past it. The company said it working with point of sale systems companies and top retail brands to create a new “SingleTap” shopping experience whereby consumers would not only be able to pay for an item using a credit card or gift card, but also redeem promotions and earn loyalty points — all with a single tap of their Google Wallet.

Google is working with VeriFone, Hypercom, Ingenico, VIVOTech and others to develop these next generation point-of-sale systems. Retailers participating in the new SingleTap experience include: American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, The Container Store, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, Noah’s Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, RadioShack, Subway, Toys “R” Us and Walgreens.

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Barneys.com introduces international shipping

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Barneys New York has announced that its e-commerce website, Barneys.com (www.Barneys.com), has introduced international shipping to 90 countries including Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Australia, and China.

According to Barneys, international customers will be able to make payments on Barneys.comin their preferred currency with cost-effective international shipping and handling services.

"Barneys has always been a destination for International tourists and it is a natural step to offer our web services to the rest of the world. Barneys has incredible global brand recognition, but we could only service here in the US. International shipping has fundamentally changed that reach," says Daniella Vitale, chief merchant and EVP of Barneys New York.

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OPERATIONS

Confidence up in April

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Consumers grew more confident in April amid job gains and slightly declining gas prices. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment increased to a three-month high of 74.3 from 69.8 in April.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to be unchanged from the preliminary figure. At the same time, income expectations remained at low levels.

"Sagging real incomes have made consumers more cautious spenders, with rising gas prices especially troublesome for younger and lower income households," Richard Curtin, director of the survey, said in a statement. “The data continue to indicate the maintenance of a moderate pace of consumer spending during the balance of 2011."

The Michigan survey’s current conditions gauge, which reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars, decreased to 81.9 from 82.5 the prior month.

Consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, of consumer spending rose to 69.5, the highest since February, from 61.6, the confidence report showed.

The survey’s gauge of consumer expectations jumped to 69.5 from April’s 61.6. It also came in above a predicted reading of 67.5.

The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions was 81.9, slipping from April’s 82.5 but topping forecasts of 80.2.

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