Category Archives: apps

Going OTT: Messaging Apps Roundup

We’ve taken a comprehensive look at the features of some of the most popular OTT apps worldwide, which will be followed by an article which takes a good look at who’s winning where, using data shared exclusively with Mobile Marketing by the analytics firm Onavo

Facebook Messenger

Platforms: iPhone, Android and BlackBerry  
Started: August 2011 after buying group messaging startup Beluga  

Facebook created the Messenger app so chats with friends were just one click away, rather than having to load up full-fat Facebook. But in practice, having the two running in tandem is proving unsuccessful. Especially as your Facebook messages were already just two clicks away. 

Today, just 19 per cent of Facebook’s iPhone users worldwide also have the Messenger app. Facebook shut down and integrated Beluga’s group messaging, location sharing and mapping functions into both apps, but group chats in particular are better signposted in standard Facebook. You can message friends of friends in both apps, but can’t yet, despite claims in its blurb about Messenger, message handset contacts via Facebook or send SMS messages using the Android and iOS handsets we tested.  

Users of either app can Bing search for pictures to send to friends, as well as adding photos from their phone, can take a picture and record audio. You can make ‘free calls’ – warning that data charges may apply – and provided your friend has linked Facebook with their handset. Which is by no means everyone. If this spin-off was intended to create a new revenue stream, namely around in-app stickers, which works well for other messaging services, then the plan has gone awry. Although paid-for stickers are yet to go live, a shopping basket on Facebook proper indicates where purchases will be made, which already contains some freebies to get people hooked. But this is feature that hasn’t yet made it to Messenger.  

KakaoTalk Messenger 

Platforms:  Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows OS, Bada 
Started: Launched by South Korean IT company Kakao in March 2010 

Although the company initially focused on South Asian markets, the app in now available ‘anywhere in the world’, with translations into English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Italian, French, German and Portuguese. It reached 100m users worldwide in July. 

Users can make free calls, including to groups and with ‘fun voice filters’, send messages to anyone else with the app, including celebrities, with users able to group chat to an ‘unlimited’ number of people. You can also add appointments and schedule reminders, share videos, photos and voice notes. 

The company has created a wide range of monetisation opportunities, including a sticker and themes store, where in-app purchases go up to $3, its own free games, which are linked to and downloadable from the relevant app store, with a host of in-app purchase options here too. KakaoTalk is certainly big in South Korea, with 95 per cent reach for iPhone users. It has nine per cent reach in Japan, three per cent in Hong Kong and two per cent in China. Outside of Asia, however, the app appears to have had little impact. 

LINE 

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, Nokia Asha, Windows, Windows 8 or Mac 
Started: Created by South Korean internet content provider NHN Corporation in July 2011 to help Japanese people communicate after the earthquake there  

LINE claimed 200m users in July this year, and along with 71 per cent penetration among iPhone message app users in Japan, is used by 46 per cent of those people in Hong Kong, along with 44 per cent in Spain. It also has a significant presence in Latin America. LINE supports free calls on iPhone and Android to app users. Other handset users can get LINE on their Windows, Windows 8 or Mac computers to access this feature. Users can have group chats with up to 100 participants.   

To get started in the LINE shop, you have to purchase the virtual currency, which starts at £1.49 for 100 and goes up to £32.99 for 3,400, plus 1,000 bonus coins for spending your cash on nothing. Coins can only be spent on the operating system they were bought on. It also uses banner ads in its apps to advertise new stickers that people can buy. 

Similarly to Kakao, LINE offers simple, free ‘match three’-style games to download in-app with paid-for bolt-ons and the opportunity to play with other users to earn rewards. It also has a number of other proprietary apps, including LINE Camera, LINE Card and LINE Brush. LINE is going beyond messaging to creating an in-app social network of its own with its Timeline feature. 

Skype 

Platforms: Windows 8, Windows and Windows tablets, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone, Android phones and tablets, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Kindle Fire, Skype-ready phones and TVs, Playstation Vita 
Started: 2003, bought by eBay in 2005 $2.5bn, before Microsoft finally bought the platform in 2011 for $8.5bn  

Skype offers free instant messaging, terrible emoticons and Skype-to-Skype video or voice calls in its ad-supported, free version, along with international calls at cheap rates. The premium, ad-free version, charged at £2.99 per month, offers group chat and unlimited calls to a region of your choice.  

Skype had a 34 per cent share of international calls made last year, up from 13 per cent in 2010, but is no doubt facing stiff competition. 

Snapchat 

Platforms: iOS and Android  
Started when: September 2011 at Stanford University by a group of students 

Snapchat is a photo and image sharing app, a residing place of the #selfie, where users also have the ability to add text and imagery to their masterpiece before sending to other app users, as well as groups of users.  The key USP of Snapchat, and potentially the reason it’s been adopted by so many young people, is that the images have a time-limit and then disappear from both the sender’s and receiver’s phone.  

Controversy has swirled about whether the images really disappear from existence after this, and the team explained last month: “If you’ve ever tried to recover lost data after accidentally deleting a drive, or maybe watched an episode of CSI, you might know that with the right forensic tools, it’s sometimes possible to retrieve data after it has been deleted.” Essentially confirming that any compromising images are not gone-gone. People have also been known to take a quick screen grab before the message self-destructs.  

Although the team was nearly laughed out of the classroom when they pitched it to classmates, it received $13.5m in funding back in February and a further $60m in July. The app doesn’t have a price tag for users or any ads yet, but does have an $800m valuation ‘pre-money’. The founders are working on using the platform for product teasers and flash sales. It had 8m US users back in May but is also doing very well in the UK and Canada.  

Viber 

Platforms: Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and a Linux version is in development 
Started: 2010 in Israel 

Viber has spent the last three years waging war directly with Skype and has made significant effort to make itself available across an equitable number of platforms. Although the company has not yet reached the same heights, its CEO revealed in May that it has passed 200m users. Viber enables voice calls, group messaging, doodles and recently localised its service into 16 languages and added desktop platforms. 

Neat USPs of Viber include the ability to share your big-fingered masterpieces on Facebook, as well as a handy quick reply function via a lockscreen takeover. Viber also enables users to transfer calls from its desktop to mobile apps if you are on your way out the door.  The company doesn’t currently generate revenues but will, like KakaoTalk and LINE, start to sell messaging stickers this year. The company has received $20m investment.  

Whatsapp 

Platforms: Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Series 40, Symbian and Windows Phone  
Started: 2009 by Yahoo veterans Brian Acton and Jan Koum in California 

Although more limited in functionality than some of its messaging competitors, currently offering instant and voice messaging, some loveable emoticons, audio, image and video sending, this is by far and away the most popular messaging app among iPhone users in the UK. The company’s CEO has always come out hard against ad-funded services and offers his app free or a year before charging $0.99. It reported more than 300m active users in August, with 325m photos shared each day.  

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/going-ott#GHzDhx755VYG4szu.99

Advertisements

Evernote Goes Free for 250m Telefónica Customers

Telefónica has signed a global deal with Evernote to give its iOS and Android subscribers free access to the productivity platform for a year, which usually costs $49, starting with customers in Brazil. 

In a deal brokered by the operator’s innovation arm, Telefónica Digital, the operator hopes to offer the app to 250m subscribers in more than 20 countries in the coming months. This is likely to include all of the markets where Telefónica operates, except for Germany, where Deutsche Telecom already sealed a deal with the productivity company. 

This is “one the first of many things Telefónica is doing to differentiate its service,” said Wayne Thorson, VP of global partnerships at Telefónica Digital, speaking to Mobile Marketing from California. A deal that “wouldn’t have happened” without the existence of such a body within Telefónica operating at the heart of the Valley. These kinds of partnerships are being created, he said, to take the operator “beyond connectivity and help innovate in different ways to move beyond the challenges of being an operator.”  

The smartphone penetration in Brazil was 36 per cent in January of this year, according to Nielsen, with the Evernote deal likely to be a sweetener for those yet to come on board. Likewise, a legion of hooked mobile productivity fans in this fast-growth market should be very attractive to Evernote. 

Telefónica has 76.2m mobile subscribers in Brazil, and although Thorson could not reveal exact figures for smartphone penetration, said the country had been chosen because adoption is “climbing a curve at a rate that no one has ever seen before. Decreasing prices of entry for smartphones, giving many people their only access to the internet, plus the rapidly growing middle class and economy, make it a perfect storm for smartphone penetration.” 

He said that the customer relationship with Vivo, Telefónica’s Brazil operation, is a lot deeper than those seen in EU, as fewer than 40 per cent of people have official financial relationships. “You mobile phone is your connection to the digital world here, which means mobile marketing via operators is used by a wide margin to get things done.” 

For Evernote, he said: “This deal allows people to try the very best version, the premium version, which will become very sticky, and introduces it to people who might not have trialled it on their own.”  Thorson called the company a “unicorn” of the digital world, “there’s no on like them” he added. 

“If you believe the future is the digital meeting the physical, this deal puts us into a place to not just benefit now, but lays the railroad tracks for the ecosystem of the future. We’re really playing chess by working with these guys.”


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/evernote-goes-free-250m-telef%C3%B3nica-customers#myQ8wgzTfDezzrM6.99

Analysis: Yahoo’s Q2 Results and Mayer’s First Year as CEO

Yahoo’s Q2 earnings call is something of a judgement on Marissa Mayer’s first 12 months in the job – as she took over as CEO almost exactly a year ago – but the mixed picture shows that much of the hard work is still to be done. 

GAAP revenue stood at $1.14bn (£750m), a seven per cent decrease on a year ago, but on a brighter note, profits increased by 46 per cent to $331m, largely as a result of Yahoo’s investment in Chinese eCommerce site, Alibaba. If you take revenues minus traffic acquisition costs (the money internet companies pay out to affiliates and other third parties who drive traffic to their sites), revenues are down just 1 per cent from $1.08bn to $1.07bn, and remain flat from the previous quarter. Yahoo’s display revenue was $472m, a 12 per cent decrease compared to a year ago, and search was down nine per cent to $418m. 


Reacting to the results, Karsten Weide, IDC’s program VP of digital media and entertainment, told Mobile Marketing: “Yahoo’s stock price has gone up by 70 per cent since Marissa Mayer took over, and that has made a lot of people happy. However, most of that growth was due the perceived value of Yahoo’s stake in Alibaba. Alibaba will soon go public, and people think it is going to send a lot of money Yahoo’s way, and theirs. 


“In terms of Yahoo’s core business, not much has happened that would justify this increase in stock price. Display advertising has been weak lately. For one, that’s because a lot of display advertising now goes mobile, and Yahoo is weak on the mobile platform. For another, a lot of advertising agencies now want to buy advertising automatically and in this new, so-called ‘programmatic trading’ segment, Yahoo is weak, while Google and Facebook are strong.” 


Acquisitions 


Yahoo spent a net $1bn in cash for acquisitions during the period, $970m of this on Tumblr. Mayer counts eight buyouts, including Astrid, GoPollGo, MileWise, Loki Studios, Tumblr, Playerscale, Ghostbird and Rondee, plus Summly, although this closed late in Q1 and was announced in the previous earnings call. Eight of these had some mobile element to them, everything from the Summly news aggregator to Astrid’s popular productivity apps and location-aware gaming from Loki Studios. 


“Generally, companies of their size are buying mobile start-ups – they need the talent, especially user interface and user experience, along with audience and ideas,” said Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. “Consumers’ time is increasingly spent on mobile devices – whether a phone or a tablet or other. Yahoo and others who depend on ad revenue need large, engaged audiences there – not only for growth, but also to maintain a revenue base.”  


While six of these ‘acqui-hire’ companies have closed and been rolled into Yahoo’s mobile teams out of NYC and California, including putting Summly centre stage in the new Yahoo app, Tumblr and cross-platform back-end gaming service Playerscale have remained intact, with Astrid, which had 4m users in September last year, to remain in operation for 90 days from 1 May. 


Yahoo believes that the combination of Tumblr and Yahoo will grow its audience to more than 1bn monthly visitors from 300m in Q1.  Although a great deal has been made of Yahoo’s aggressive acquisition strategy, totalling 12 for the first half of this year, Google has actually made almost 150 acquisitions in its 12-year history, compared to Yahoo’s 83 in 16 years. 


Marcos Sanchez, VP Global Corporate Communications at App Annie, is positive about the work being done to change Yahoo’s fortunes. “From all accounts, Mayer has been doing a great job of breathing life back in to Yahoo, from re-focusing, to improving company morale to revamping products with a definite mobile bent,” he said. 


“The mobile products have been streamlined and she’s put a focus on usability, which is likely to be a contributing factor to the apps at least not losing ground. From an acquisition standpoint, don’t forget, there are many reasons for an acquisition, and not just for a technology. Mayer has proven savvy even here, shuttering some, keeping a few alive, but maintaining teams that are focused on bringing yahoo back to its’ glory days.”


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/analysis-yahoos-q2-earnings-and-meyers-first-year-ceo#pGVPFJh7WI2b55Gf.99

Half of MailOnline’s UK Readers are Mobile

The Daily Mail has revealed that 19.9m people in the UK visit the MailOnline site from their mobile device every month, 46 per cent of its monthly web audience here. 

According to figures shared exclusively with Mobile Marketing, 12.1m of those use the mobile web on their smartphone, with a further 6.1m using a tablet. The MailOnline for iPhone is its most popular app, the company said, with 2.9m downloads to date, of which there are 641,000 monthly active users and 310,103 daily visitors. On average, 40 visits are made to the app, with sessions lasting 12 minutes and 50 pages viewed.


The Android app has seen 1.1m downloads, with 460,000 monthly users and 147,024 coming back daily. The iPad app has been downloaded 1.4m times. It has 174,000 montlhy users and 42,593 daily users. 


The Daily Mail Group has announced a new Sunday edition of its iPad app, called the Mail on Sunday Plus, which will form part of a weekly subscription package or be offered as a one-off purchase. It features re-formatted Sunday magazines You and Event plus more sport, interactive TV listings and 30 puzzles. A seven-day Mail Plus subscription will start at £9.99 per month. Google Play and Kindle users will also see their subscription costs brought in line with iOS users.


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/half-mailonline-uk-readers-are-mobile#loSytwzWJthm7g6w.99

Facebook – The Daily Telegraph of the Digital Age?

Born in 1988, I’m slap bang in the middle of Generation Y, or the Millennials. Or even Gen C. Which isn’t actually a generation, but more of a state of mind, according to Google. This 20 year period covers people born between 1977 to 1996, or alternatively 1982 to 2001, depending on who you ask. Simple. 

But the rate of technological change over the last 10 years has seen Myspace giving way to Facebook and then Twitter then Pinterest then – you get the picture.  I’m part of the begrudging, but enslaved Facebook faithful. I text and use Whatsapp. Email and Twitter are both indispensable. 


So can you really say that someone born in 1998 uses technology in the same way as me?  We decided to find out, so we interviewed two 14-year-olds, a boy and girl, to see how they are using the devices they own and share. Surely those with digital in their DNA will run rings around me, a mere digital native? 


Surprisingly, or not for a couple of teenagers, they were as excited about tech as they are about everything, which is rather little, but they clearly can’t live without it. 


Five messaging apps in one day 


Freya, disgruntled owner of a failing BlackBerry, as well as an iPod, hops between the two devices depending on the task at hand. That means BBMing and chatting with her friends and following funny accounts on Twitter when her main handset allows. She switches when she wants to use Instagram and Snapchat – for chatting to people without BBM, and the “funny pictures” that make it better than Whatsapp. All on a daily basis. Add to that Skype, Facetime and ooVoo – for those urgent group video chats – and you’d think they’d have run out of things to say.  


She uses a computer “if I have to”. And Facebook? “I deactivated my account. It’s boring.” I feel a twinge of sadness for my twisted old friend. So what would Ben have to say about a platform that has changed my ability to communicate as much as it has my concept of privacy? “I just left my profile. It’s boring,” he confirmed. Ouch. 


No TV, no computer, iPad gathers dust 


Ben’s a lucky iPhone 5 user, and also shares an iPad 2 with his brother, but he doesn’t use it. “I don’t watch TV. I don’t use a computer except at school for course work. Nah, I don’t have email. I tend to just use my phone. And that’s really just for apps.” Like Freya, he uses a combination of messaging services, iMessage, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter every day. When people don’t have iMessage, he texts people.  


Uninterested in the latest games consoles, he plays Clash of the Clans four times a week, where he sees ads for games in-app, but just ignores them. Freya identifies 4Pics1Word as a game that’s been doing the rounds at school, in the past she would have clicked on the “silly pop-up banners”, but not anymore, she says. Apart from that, neither consumes a great deal of content other than funny things their friends allegedly spew out all day long. Even wearable tech doesn’t really strike a chord with our teens. 


Battery life an inter-generation concern 


So what’s the best thing about their phone? “Being in touch with everybody, otherwise you’d just bored out of your head and have nothing to do,” Ben said. “And music I guess. When you’re travelling a long way.” He admits Maps is useful “but I don’t really use it,” he says. “I can talk to friends I don’t see often and it entertains me,” Freya adds. Both identify battery life as the killer of their mass communication lifestyle. 


Ben also says load times between apps are annoying, as well as the sign-up process when connecting to wi-fi. He suggests making it automatic. Freya, a lone Spotify Premium owner at school, thinks it would be good if more than one person could listen to the music service. But she complains it takes too long to get new music. 


Tech jobs?? 


And despite this heavy usage, both have little knowledge of the fact that they could make a career out of all this. Phones are banned in school, and will be confiscated, they say. When they do IT, Freya admits she “doesn’t really get it,” while Ben says “they don’t really talk about technology jobs at school.” So. Facebook is about to become an antique, at least in developed markets, facing similar problems in the future as the printed press does today. Email’s days could be numbered, and while there is no dominant messaging platform for this Chat Generation, the medium is certainly smartphones for the forseeable. 


Let’s hope it’s not too late to funnel this constant connectivity and conversation into something useful. Lol?


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here:  http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/facebook-%E2%80%93-daily-telegraph-digital-age#MmHiAA4isLQZlmjD.99

18 to 25-year-olds in the UK Send 225 Messages a Week

While SMS is still the most widely used messaging service both in the UK and the US, at 96 per cent and 92 per cent respectively, multiple messaging services are now used by 75 per cent of people across both countries.  

Users of BBM send the largest volume of messages in the UK, an average of 110 per week, according to the survey done by Acision. SMS is second highest, at 75 message per week, Whatsapp at 74, with iMessage and Facebook Messenger on 64 per week. 


Young adults in the UK, not surprisingly, send 22 per cent more than any other age group – 225 every week. SMS still rules in the US however, with 111 messages sent on this channel every week. Young people aged 12 to 18 send 150 texts on average every week here.


Most people message more than 24 people on average across all these platforms, with many seeing SMS as more appropriate for work and OTT for friends. Women also send more SMSs than men. Many of the 1,000 people asked in the US and UK say they prefer OTT because these apps have richer features, like confirmed deliver, speed and cost, which was particularly important in the UK.   


On the launch of the results, Glen Murray, SVP and GM of Acision in Europe and Russia, took these results as another warning to mobile operators to up their game. “Operators have to be able to monetise five or six different things to compete today,” he said.  


The research, perhaps necessarily, did not look at all of the OTT apps used in both countries, which have evolved to services like Snapchat, Skype and MessageMe. 


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/18-25-year-olds-uk-send-225-messages-week#zcDjEpvkFd14ovTf.99

Mission mPOSsible – Decoding Mobile Card Readers

Given the number of announcements about mPOS solutions this year alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that every market trader or corner shop owner is just a tap away from taking card payments on their phone. But the majority of some 4.8m small companies in the UK are yet to accept any kind of card payments, let alone mobile-enabled ones. 


According to a survey by Intuit of 1,000 micro-businesses, which have fewer than 10 employees, only 19 per cent currently accept card payments. But, while merchants are still getting their act together, many consumers are increasingly cashless. A study of British shoppers by Santander UK and iZettle revealed that 39 per cent avoid businesses that don’t accept card payments or require a minimum payment amount. Independent retailers, pubs and bars, market stalls, taxis, along with food and drink stands at events were all identified as potential losers. 

Here, we take a look at a range of newly launched and more established mPOS providers to reveal just how competitive the market now is. An industry-standard charge of 2.75 per cent per transaction seems to have been reached to make the offer simple for merchants. Free Apple and iOS app systems dominate, but what does this mean for emerging markets where smartphones haven’t taken hold?  

Many of the solutions don’t have a large customer base, with some reluctant to reveal their figures. Plus, some of the mPOS supporters detailed below reveal a tech proxy war in the payments space between more familiar companies, and even between different innovation hubs around the world.  But what if this doesn’t even take off? Will mPOS be superseded by contactless or peer-to-business payments before you can say swipe or sign?   

Intuit 
Intuit launched in the UK in March and is the only one of our mobile payments systems currently operating in both the US and UK, as well as Canada. It offers swipe across the pond or Chip & PIN systems to UK traders, which connect via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android app. Established in 1983, giving it a fair head start, the company also offers a range of online book-keeping services to its clients.  It was recently caught out lobbying the US government to the tune of $11.5m – more than Apple or Amazon – to ensure its tax solutions don’t get wiped out by free online accounting. 

Cost of reader: £49 or free in US (was £99) 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% on all transactions / 3.75% on manual / or a monthly plan of $13 a month (US-only) Supporters: Partners with Verizon in the US and now on sale in Staples online and in UK stores  

iZettle 
Sweden’s iZettle got off to a bumpy start when it launched in November 2012. Although it had a sales partnership with EE in the UK, the free headphone jack-connected swipe device left users unable to accept Visa payments. Nonetheless, the company says it had 100,000 customers by the end of the year. The Chip & PIN reader, which works via Bluetooth and an Android or iOS app, launched in February. It currently operates in the UK, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and now Mexico. 

Cost of reader: Was £49 now £99 plus VAT but offering £50 cashback to Santander Business Banking customers in Spain and the UK 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% per transaction but if you’re not using the card reader, the fee is £0.10 + 3.5% per transaction 
Supporters: Santander invested €5m in June this year   

Judo
Judo launched in the UK in May and operates here on the USP that sellers and merchants do not need a smartphone or a card reader to make or accept a mobile payment. It has 2,000 small business customers at present and says it will go global if its clients require it. There are a range of transaction limits outlined by the company, but these can be waived under certain circumstances. 

Cost of reader: No device but £50 to set up account 
Cost of transactions: 2.9% + 29p  Supporters: Privately-owned    

Jusp 
Jusp (short for Just Pay) just received $6m (£3.9m) in Series A funding to develop its European Chip & PIN solution that connects via the headphone jack a la Square. The Italian company was founded by two 25-year-olds in November 2011 and is heading for a Q3 2013 launch. It offers the lowest transaction fee of any solution out there – but only just!

Cost of reader: €39 (£33) 
Cost of transactions: 2.7% Supporters: Italian VCs   

Monitise 
The UK’s Monitise launched its mPOS white-labelling service in Europe, Canada and parts of Asia in May this year. The company has a variety of live models that are chosen by its customers and the cost of each deployment depends on a variety of factors, not least of which is the size of market and type of solution. Monitise recently partnered with Blackberry to launch the BBM Money peer-to-peer  payment service in Indonesia. O2 is currently offering a Monitise mPOS for £20 (plus VAT and 2.75 per cent per transaction) to Android and BlackBerry users. 

Fees: Monitise does not set the transactional or devices fees – its customers build their own models 
Supporters: Visa   

payleven 
payleven is on offer in Brazil, a fast-growth smartphone market, along with the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland. It would not disclose its usage figures, but went on sale in February 2013 with its Chip & PIN device that works via Bluetooth with an Android or iOS app. The German company launched in March last year and like Square in the US, has received the stamp of approval from Apple in the UK, where it is now on sale in retail stores.  

Cost of reader: £99 (was £49) 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% plus £20 credit for payments Supporters: Apple    

PayPal Here  
Although it will not disclose any usage figures, PayPal is among the legacy figures in this line up, and has accumulated 110m active online payments accounts since it launched in 1998. The free swipe/manual/Chip & PIN headphone jack reader and app system, PayPal Here, is ‘on its way’ to the UK this summer. It is already in use in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. The company has been accused in recent times of being slow and bureaucratic but it does have the most visibility among consumers. 

Cost of reader: Free reader 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% when you swipe a card / 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction when you type in a card number (3.6% in Japan plus 40 Yen, increasing to 5 per cent for use of Here) 
Supporters: Owned by Ebay. And the ‘PayPal Mafia’…   

Square 
Square was founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey in 2009 and was first-to-market with its headphone jack and app solution, which launched first in the US. It is now on offer in Canada and Japan but they haven’t (yet) reconfigured the payments platform for use in the EU. Square currently has 4m users and has a variety of loyalty offers, including the Square Wallet and gift cards. Square recently announced that it would not allow its product to be used by gun sellers. Which is nice. Both Square and PayPal are going head-to-head with operator NTT Docomo in Japan. 

Cost of reader: Free swipe reader 
Cost of transactions: Pay 2.75% per swipe for all major credit cards (3.25% in Japan) or a flat monthly $275  Supporters: Twitter, used in Starbucks and sold in Apple’s US stores   

SumUp 
SumUp is currently on offer in the most countries around the world: the UK, Belgium, France, Portugal, Russia, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. It would not comment on usage figures but launched in August 2012, giving it a fair head start over other European providers. It is currently only a chip and signature solution that attaches to the headphone jack, but a PIN reader is on the way. 

Cost of reader: Free 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% Supporters: Klaus Hommels (early Skype, Facebook), Groupon and AmEx