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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Mobile privacy hot topic in Washington

News

Industry Update

Washington getting serious about cyber privacy

PCI DSS effectiveness questioned

Bling Nation may rise again

The Green Sheet gets resourceful

Features

An interview with Trent Voigt

Ken Musante
Eureka Payments LLC

Research Rundown

Advisory board benefits

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Prepaid scores in stadiums internationally

David Parker
Polymath Consulting Ltd.

Paying bills with gift cards

Views

Data breaches renew privacy concerns

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Timely tips for MLSs

Bill Pirtle
MPCT Publishing Co.

Will POS control solve merchant attrition?

Jerry Cibley
United Bank Card Inc.

Fraud, the conversation starter

Nicholas Cucci
Network Merchants Inc.

Counterintuitive selling

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

Deciphering breach notification regulations

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Company Profile

eProcessing Network LLC

Moneris Solutions Inc.

New Products

A button so smart, it connects the world

Alternative Payment Smart Button
2000Charge Inc.

Network security for small merchants

SecurityMetrics Vision
SecurityMetrics Inc.

Inspiration

What a difference a birth date makes

Departments

10 Years ago in
The Green Sheet

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Miscellaneous

2011 Calendar of events

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

June 27, 2011  •  Issue 11:06:02

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Bling Nation may rise again

Bling Nation, the upstart mobile payment firm created to challenge the major credit card companies' hold on the payments industry's near field communication (NFC) market, suspended service in May 2011 pending a retooling of the company. Most of the sales team has reportedly left the company.

Bling Nation was started in 2008 by two Brazilians, Wences Casares and Meyer Malka, who founded Patagon, the largest online brokerage in Latin America. The company developed an integrated acquiring and processing platform for local and regional banks.

Bling Nation's objective was to get customers to allow payment stickers - in reality, NFC form factors - on the back of their cell phones to make contactless payments. After payment, a customer receives a phone message confirming the transaction and giving the new account balance. Bling Nation receives a percentage of processing costs and claims it saves merchants up to 50 percent in processing fees. Bling Nation payments can be processed by PayPal Inc. and through banks.

Bling Nation's sticker, dubbed "Bling tag," also allows consumers to carry out several functions on the Facebook and Foursquare social networking sites. Merchants can connect with customers through Facebook and Foursquare using Bling Nation technology.

Retooling

Bling Nation will neither confirm nor deny reports that it is reassessing its business. It talks about what it is doing in vague and general terms. When asked by The Green Sheet for clarification of its status, the company issued the following statement:

"Bling Nation has completed its initial deployment phase of its FanConnect and PayConnect products and is working hard to take all of the great learning and insights on the economics of the mobile, local and social areas that we've received from our merchants, consumers, banks and partners to build out the next generation of Bling Nation. The Bling Nation leadership team remains excited about this space and feels they have a winning combination that will dominate these areas in the long term."

PayConnect is the Bling Nation term for its NFC sticker technology. FanConnect is email based marketing software that allows merchants to create, send and track email advertising campaigns. Bling Nation reportedly encountered trouble after it introduced FanConnect in February 2011. Problems with the program reportedly arose when the company tried to force its merchants to accept the FanConnect service. Merchants balked.

Bling Nation ultimately generated some excitement from bankers but didn't win much acceptance from merchants or consumers. Industry watchers reported Bling Nation raised more than $33 million from investors prior to its suspension of activities, so the company is not likely to disappear, but some analysts believe the company may be rebranded.

Industry analysis

To get an industry perspective on Bling Nation's status The Green Sheet asked Mocapay Inc. President Doug Dwyre to comment. Mocapay markets a mobile payment platform that allows merchants to offer loyalty and gift card programs. Mocapay founder, Rod Stambaugh, serves on Bling Nation's board.

Looking at the FanConnect marketing strategy that many speculate caused Bling Nation's recent difficulties, Dwyre said, "I'm a big believer when it comes to those kinds of platforms that all constituents need to be included - the merchants, the consumers and the issuers. If you don't take these constituents into consideration, you will fall short somewhere. If you don't give anyone any reason to use [your product] you are going to fail."

Dwyre said he suspects Bling Nation, with $33 million in venture capital available, is ripe for a restart. "From the outside looking in that's what I'd do," he said. "I'd look at new technology. They have tried the sticker-based technology with a stand-beside point-of-sale versus integrated solution."

When asked how it is possible for a new company to compete against the major card brands or PayPal, Dwyre noted that the hurdle for entering the market as a card company is getting merchants and consumers to adapt. "PayPal, for instance, worked because it was well aligned because of the early partnership with eBay as an exchange network between buyer and seller," he said, adding that unless Bling Nation finds the right partnership, it's hard to see how the company will continue its old business model.

For additional news stories, please visit www.greensheet.com and click on "Read the Entire Story" in the center column below the latest news story excerpt. This will take you to the full text of that story, followed by all other news stories posted online.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Super G Capital LLC | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems