11 Unexpected Disruptors in Payments

(Image: ThinkStock)

Groupon Groupon

Groupon, a provider of daily merchant offers, just launched a mobile card reader with low pricing and fast payments. It keeps its prices low by relying on its existing sales force instead of working with independent sales organizations.

Facebook Facebook

When Facebook went public, its regulatory filings revealed that 15% of its revenue came from payments. It has money transmitter licenses in many states, and most recently is providing tools to make mobile payment acceptance easier. (Image: ShutterStock)

Fiserv Fiserv

Fiserv, a payments-industry insider, is also acting as a disruptor by selling its new SpotPay card reader through banks instead of working with independent sales organizations.

Nintendo Nintendo

Nintendo is readying its next Wii for release Nov. 18. The game console's controller has a built-in Near Field Communication chip, a common component for mobile wallets. And although Nintendo hasn't made the chip's purpose clear, it has developed a new loyalty system for digital games sales. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Starbucks Starbucks

As other mobile-payment systems have lagged or failed, Starbucks' system has grown. Its recent investment in Square shows the coffee company is committed to handling payments in new ways. (Image: Bloomberg News)

BitInstant BitInstant

Bitcoin is still a fringe currency, but a company called BitInstant plans to take the alternative currency mainstream with the introduction of a prepaid card that lets consumers spend bitcoins at any merchant that accepts MasterCard. (Image: ShutterStock)

Dwolla Dwolla

Dwolla's programming tools let banks use its FiSync system to make transactions as fast as a card payment but as cheaply as an automated clearing house transfer. (Image: ThinkStock)

Target Target

Target may not have painted a bulls-eye on the payments industry yet, but it has partnered with disruptors like Starbucks and shopkick, proving itself an ally to new entrants. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Home Depot Home Depot

Home Depot doesn't have its own payment product, but it provided PayPal with a testing ground for its cardless point of sale system. (Image: ShutterStock)

Square Square

Square may no longer seem unexpected, but the company was at first ridiculed by industry insiders for a product that seemed almost too simple to succeed. The company now handles $8 billion in payments on an annualized basis. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Microsoft Microsoft

All eyes may be on Apple, but Microsoft is taking the payments plunge with its new Windows 8 phones. (Image: ShutterStock)

These days it seems like everyone is a payments company, whether their primary business is selling coffee or coupons. Wherever they come from, they're challenging the very structure of this industry.