Author Archives: Cherian Abraham

HCE: We are not in Kansas anymore

LeavingKansas

Both Visa and MasterCard announced their support for HCE and their intent to release HCE specifications soon. I have been talking about HCE from late 2012 (partly due to my involvement with SimplyTapp) and you could read as to why HCE matter and what Android KitKat-HCE announcement meant for payments. But in light of the network certification announcements yesterday, this post is an attempt to provide some perspective on what the V/MA moves mean, how do their approaches differ in certifying payments using cloud hosted credentials, what should issuers expect from a device and terminal support perspective, why retailers should take note of the debate around HCE and ultimately – the role I expect Google to continue to play around HCE. All good stuff. Continue reading

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MCX Part II – Waiting to Exhale

Solipsism of Payments

For an ecosystem that has been described as unfair and out of balance, creating a prevailing atmosphere of mistrust, the payments industry should really look to the MacWorld Expo of 1997 for lessons to its future.

“We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.”

What Steve Jobs meant was that for Apple, this was not a zero-sum game. Apple dominated in the years since, by creating new markets, and devices that captured both minds and marketshare. Continue reading

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Seven clicks to None: Paypal’s changing raison d’etre

Logistics

On Friday, a story caught my eye. No, it was not the “rumored” Apple entry in to mobile payments. That is a post yet to be written. This was actually a story on the ReadWriteMix with David Marcus of PayPal. And the direction indicated by David Marcus for Paypal – even if it were simple, incremental improvements to the checkout process – portends important things for Paypal, and more so for its merchants – both online and offline. To me, it seemed like David Marcus was challenging Paypal to step out of its comfort zone and find its relevance in retail – once more. Continue reading

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Lessons from a breach

iceberg

In the days following the Target breach, both clarity and objectivity are in short supply. Everything that didn’t already exist became suddenly the cure-all – EMV being one. Retailers bristle, albeit in private – due to the asymmetry in blame they have come to share compared to banks – despite having equal ownership of the mess they have come to call payments. Issuers and Schemes scramble to find an empty deck chair on the Titanic, just to get a better view of the first of the lifeboats capsizing. Continue reading

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Host Card Emulation: NFC’s Tale of Redemption

KitKat

When I wrote about Host Card Emulation back in March, it provoked much debate around whether this capability will die on the cutting floor or be meaningfully integrated in to a future Android iteration. And now that it has, this post is an attempt to look forward, even though much of it is speculative. But I will provide some perspective from a number of conversations I had in the last week with Networks, Issuers, TSMs, Merchants, Platform Owners and EMV practitioners and provide some insight in to perceptions, impacts and the road ahead for NFC. And I will provide some context to why HCE matters to each of these players. Continue reading

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Square Cash is a Head Fake

What follows is a collection of my thoughts, tweets, emails on the launch of Square Cash. I welcome your thoughts below.

First up, it’s not just Square Cash. The whole P2P space is a head fake. But let’s focus on Square. Continue reading

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Smoke is rising from Apple’s conclave

conclave_smokesTL;DR Read within as to how Touch ID is made possible via ARM’s TrustZone/TEE, and why this matters in the context of the coming Apple’s identity framework. Also I explain why primary/co-processor combos are here to stay. I believe that eventually, Touch ID has a payments angle – but focusing on e-commerce before retail. Carriers will weep over a lost opportunity while through Touch ID, we have front row seats to Apple’s enterprise strategy, its payment strategy and beyond all – the future direction of its computing platform. Read on… Continue reading

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Isis : A JV at odds

isis-logo2edited-553x364Isis has had a slew of announcements – about an impending national rollout and further assertion by both Amex and Chase of their intent to continue their partnership. Surprisingly (or not) Capital One has stayed mum about its plans, and neither has Barclays or Discover shown any interest. And much ink has been spilled at how resolute (and isolationist) Isis has been – including here on this blog. So does the launch reflect a maturity in the JV to tackle a national rollout, or is it being forced to show its hands? Wait..I have more questions.. Continue reading

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Rejecting anonymity – Goodbye Costco!

CostcoFor the last decade, I have been a Costco customer – the sheer convenience of going to one trusted retailer for most of my house hold needs is unbeatable. The generous return policy (especially on consumer electronics) is just cherry on top. I can hardly think of another offline retailer who comes close in our household – in terms of loyalty. Continue reading

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$25M and a dash of naiveté

OnedoesnotfixMuch has been said and written about Clinkle, and it’s unfortunate that it will now forever be (fairly or unfairly) defined not by the merit of its idea or growth efforts, but by the $25m funding that it has received to help it “disrupt” payments. I wouldn’t venture to say that Payments has finally jumped the shark, I think the shark has been jumped so many times that it is now a paid regular and has health insurance. It’s not exactly a surprise that we found better success in emerging economies where both a lack of retail banking and a payment infrastructure has led to a thriving alternative banking and payments ecosystem. And we found apathy everywhere else. Continue reading

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