9 Secret Origins of E-Payments

(Image: ShutterStock)

Big Bank E-Transfers Big Bank E-Transfers

Pariter, a digital money-movement venture of Wells Fargo and Bank of America, launched in 2008 and was discontinued in 2011. But the spirit of collaboration lives on: the two banks and JPMorgan Chase later formed clearXchange. (Image: ShutterStock)

Decoupled Debit Decoupled Debit

Decoupled debit had a champion in Debitman, which rebranded as Tempo before shutting down in 2011, citing the effect of the Durbin amendment. But the decoupled debit model lives on in products such as the Shell Saver Card, which is now four years old, and National Payment Card Association, which wasn't destroyed by Durbin.

Fingerprint Payments Fingerprint Payments

Pay By Touch allowed consumers to make payments by swiping their finger on a biometric sensor. The company folded in 2008, but fingerprint-based payments live on in tests by Discover and in niche markets, such as tanning salons.

Biometric Check Cashing Biometric Check Cashing

Another effort tied to Solidus, the company behind Pay By Touch, Paycheck Secure used biometric readers to verify people hoping to cash payroll checks and was vigorously targeting customers back in 2006. It was purchased by Phoenix Check Casing Inc. at Solidus’ bankruptcy auction in 2008. (Image: ShutterStock)

The PayPal Circle of Life The PayPal Circle of Life

eBay and Wells Fargo's Billpoint put up a good fight, but the alternative payment method couldn't match PayPal's success, forcing eBay to buy PayPal in 2002. The tables were turned years later: in 2008, after PayPal's instant-credit effort Pay Later failed to usurp Bill Me Later, PayPal wound up buying its younger rival. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Mobile Wallet Mobile Wallet

Bling Nation, which used microchip stickers to make mobile payments, was founded in 2007 but went on hiatus in 2011 amid larger competition and the loss of bank partnerships. Some execs moved on to Lemon, which provides a software-based mobile wallet. (Pictured: Wences Casares, CEO of Lemon, former CEO of Bling Nation)

Mobile Point of Sale Mobile Point of Sale

Founded in 2010, Fig Card provided a USB device that plugged into a cash register and communicated with smartphone apps. It was purchased by PayPal in 2011, which was seen as a move against Square. PayPal's Here reader launched in 2012 and spawned a chip-and-PIN version last week. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Mobile P2P Mobile P2P

FonePays allowed people to pay each other using their mobile phones. It couldn’t get enough funding, and put its servers and applications up for auction in 2011. Today, person-to-person payment systems such as Fiserv's Popmoney can be accessed as one of many features of a bank's mobile app. (Image: ShutterStock)

Mobile Bar Codes Mobile Bar Codes

FaceCash allowed merchants to accept payments by scanning barcodes on mobile phones. It halted most operations in 2011 amid a dispute over California state regulations, and has since sued the state. Many other mobile-pay systems, such as the Starbucks app and LevelUp, involve bar codes in some way. (Image: ShutterStock)

Today’s modern payment systems have their genesis in a number of older ventures that plied everything from the Web to biometrics to enable digital commerce. Some are gone, and some have evolved unrecognizably into their current form. Here’s a look.

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