Author Archives: Cherian Abraham

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged ,

$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

Tagged , , , ,

“What” vs “How”

Today analytics helps us answer “What” as in “What am I spending on?” & “What’s my credit score”. Tomorrow, it will let us answer “How”. As in “How much should I save or spend” and “How do I improve my credit rating”. “How” is more interesting of a problem to solve than “What” when you have data.

Return of NFC: Curse of the Secure Element

Return of NFCThis post is in response to the recent Bankinter story of NFC payments at the point-of-sale without requiring SE – and the lack of any real detail around how it plans to achieve that goal. I am not privy to Bankinter’s plan to dis-intermediate the SE, but as I know a wee bit about how NFC works, I thought a post would help in clearing up any ambiguity as to how Card emulation and Host Card emulation differs, upsides, challenges – the whole lot. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smells like innovation

Traffic Light TreeBig news today, with Chase entering in to a 10 year expanded partnership with Visa to create a ‘differentiated experience’ for its merchants and consumers. I would warn anyone thinking “offers and deals” when they hear “differentiated experience” – because I believe we are running low on merchants who have a perennial interest in offering endless discounts to its clientele. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Fleeting moments of fierce clarity

forrest_gumpI blog. And I try to give it my best. Most of the times – I fail miserably. But this is not about the content, but the practice. I think everyone should break away from their Twitter habit and blog. Twitter and LinkedIn forces us down to sound bites, that any coherent thought beyond 140 characters need to be distilled to where we risk losing both nuance and perspective. Continue reading

Tagged ,

GoogleWallet & Citi – Dance with the one that brung ya…

GW_CitiAt midnight yesterday, Google sent me an email on how the new GoogleWallet update will now allow me to store my “Citi MasterCard” online. As other Google Wallet aficionados may recall (Bueller..? Bueller..?), Citi was the lone holdout in Google Wallet’s journey to the cloud and its race to conformity. Though to the untrained eye the Google Wallet app experience was mostly uniform irrespective of the card used to pay at the point-of-sale, behind the scenes, if the Citi MasterCard was used, Google had to do things one way versus another way for the rest of the brood. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

MCX – MerChants reduX

mcx-logo-leadMCX – MerChants reduX: Recently, I spent an hour chatting with friends of mine who launched a small business about what worked and what didn’t. When the topic veered off to card acceptance costs, the reaction was visceral – one of absolute loathe and the struggle to understand the myriad ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of what cards to accept, and how to accept them. In the end, they had swore off Amex cards because the acceptance cost was above their product margins. I told them about Square and how it could allow them to continue taking Amex and pay a lower rate. But that had me thinking about MCX and what it could mean for small businesses. The post that follows is a collection of thoughts around MCX, why it deserves respect, and yet how it is indeed mortal and bleeds like all others. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,