Author Archives: Cherian Abraham

$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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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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There and Back again – A customer journey with Paypal

I remember creating my Paypal account back in 2000 when an acquaintance of mine wanted to split the lunch tab with me, and sent me $20 via email a couple of days later. I remember hurriedly opting to cash out via check, having little trust in a newfangled payment startup. That $20 actually languished in said Paypal account (despite issuing a check that ended up never being cashed) for another couple of years before I actually did something with that money and my Paypal account. What follows is the rest of that journey. Continue reading

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Let’s talk about Fraud

I am in Vegas and I am fascinated by my room key. This is not the usual “insert in to the slot, wait for it turn green or hear it chime” key cards, these are “tap and hold to a door scanner till the door opens” RFID key card. It is befitting the event I am about to attend – Money2020 – the largest of its kind bringing together over 2000 mobile money afficionados, strategists and technologists from world over for a couple of days to talk about how payment modalities are shifting and the impact of these shifts to existing and emerging players. Away from all the excitement of product launches, I hope some will be talking about one of the major barriers for consumer adoption towards alternate payment modalities such as mobile – security and fraud. Continue reading

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Isis, It’s not you…It’s your business model.

It’s good to be back. Quick update, in case you missed it in three different places: I am now focusing on Mobile Payments and Banking as part of Experian’s Global Consulting Practice, which offers me myriad opportunities to see up close why banking and payments in particular remain spectacularly oblivious of the creeping threats of disruption. But today, I couldn’t have found a more better topic to wet my parched throat than the story of the comeback kid – Google Wallet. Continue reading

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