Author Archives: Cherian Abraham

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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Moving Beyond Lip Service – Mobile Wallets & Under/Unbanked –

Everyone and their uncle are tripping over themselves in a race to launch a mobile wallet or at least talk about an intent to produce one in time. Judging by the number of initiatives out there (or soon to be), it would seem that unbeknownst to me, there is a direct correlation between kickstarting adoption and the number of choices available to a consumer (higher the number of choices, quicker the adoption). If there is, then do point it out to me. Continue reading

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Wake up, Google!

The last few weeks/months, we have all seen a glut of news and opinion pieces mourning the decline of Google, as if it were already dead and buried. I offer a slightly different viewpoint below, and a more focused one, around its mobile commerce strategy. There, I believe Google is now at an inflection point, where the choices it make shall determine if it could successfully transition from online to mobile, or whether it will resemble Microsoft in its glory days, failing to understand or monetize on the opportunities that lay before it in the early days of internet. Continue reading

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Allow me to make you irrelevant

Seeing how Apple’s negotiating stance is with Cable and Content providers for Apple TV & how Google did the same w/ Issuing banks, which pretty much amounts to : “Allow us to take over your relationship with your customers” and “Let us repackage your offering” and finally “Sit still while we turn you in to a dumb pipe”, I gotta ask – Is this a case of Disruptors becoming dumber or Disruptees becoming smarter? I mean, everyone on the planet has read Clayton Christensen’s book by now. Who just sits there and waits to be made irrelevant anymore?

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Carriers: We are here to help!

MWC being in full swing, has brought a truck load of new product launches and partnerships(too many that they start blending with each other to form one amorphous blob). But what caught my eye was an announcement from Jason Donovan, an AT&T executive on how it is considering a way to let app developers pay the cost of the data traffic associated with its usage instead of passing on the burden to subscribers. AT&T believes that it will roll out this service sometime in 2013, and that there is already rising interest from companies that hope to rely on this the feature to incentivize customer adoption. I believe AT&T is right in that there are firms who believe this to be a good thing. And one among them would be Isis. Let me explain why, before delving in to why overall this has the potential to be a really crummy idea. Continue reading

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Vinod Khosla on Retail & Emerging Payments

It was Vinod Khosla’s Cliff notes on “What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial” that turned me on to Dr. Saras Sarasvathy’s brilliant paper and other works on effectual reasoning vs causal reasoning. Likewise, he is prescient in his post on Techcrunch about the areas in mobile and internet today that are silent performers. And alongside the well known areas and ideas such as Big Data, Data Reduction, Internet of things, I found the following section(s) that I have reproduced below: Continue reading

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Google Wallet Hacks – Why the sky is not falling


This bit of news landed on my feed today morning and left me much distraught. Every time there is the slightest murmur of a security issue around mobile wallets, the tech media and blogs – ever so informed, has to find the nearest tallest tower to shout it out from. It serves as a doubled edged sword in that it both leads to public humiliation at the town square for the brand in question, plus it further spreads FUD and instills a deep sense of mistrust towards that digitization of wallets and ends up being applied quite broadly which is quite unfair. Continue reading

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