1. The banking sector is going through a period of profound change. Brett King has been talking about the death of banking products for more than 10 years and this week, in a Medium post, he laid out his argument for why this trend has been greatly under-exaggerated. Banking competitors are popping up in unlikely forms, “Uber the largest acquirer of small business bank accounts in the United States today, bigger than Wells, BofA and Chase combined,” King said. Banks around the world are already seeing their traditional models disrupted by mobile commerce, fintech startups innovating in the sector and even social media platforms with built-in functionality to pay bills or buy goods.
  2. The Christmas rush. Over the past few years online retailers have noticed a traffic peak on Christmas Day, usually after everyone has stuffed themselves silly with food. It is the season to shop with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day and New Year’s sales all falling around the festive period. The after-lunch peak of shoppers cashing in their gift cards, has opened up another shopping opportunity for online retailers to capitalize on. More here.
  3. Social media scheduling tool Buffer has acquired Respondly, a tool which helps companies manage support queries which come in over platforms like Twitter. The deal gives us insight into where Buffer is headed, positioning itself as a platform to manage all your social media activities.
  4. Safer in the cloud. Google is now funding security research to make its cloud storage platform safer than your own computer’s hard drive. With more of our data ending up online, security is the top issue technology companies are contending with. CIO has put together a list of the security trends it will be watching closely in 2016 here.
  5. Major banks and companies across the world are preparing to use Blockchain, the system that was developed to securely track bitcoin transactions, in their everyday payment activities as a way to stamp out fraud, corruption and improve transparency. This week the likes of Wells Fargo, Cisco, the London Stock Exchange Group and IBM met to start work on creating an open source distributed ledger which could be used by anyone to keep track of payments or anything of value. It could completely change the way business is done. More here.
  6. While we’re on payments, Apple has just teamed up with one of China’s largest credit card issuer, UnionPay, to launch Apple Pay in the region. China is a significant market for the mobile payments platform, which allows users to upload their card details and make payments by holding their mobile near a credit card reader. More here.

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