Category Archives: Retail

The diminishing aura and utility of Coin

Coin

Much has been written of late, about Coin and its peers. Coin, Loop and others are worthy emerging players who have focused on innovating on the edges of the current payments framework – and consider convenience a more lucrative goal vs disrupting it altogether. Despite bank’s aversion to having their brands wrapped by a 3rd party – Coin and its peers have much consumer support. I have little to say about the product as-is – I think it’s a sexy widget, but for me – I am too cheap to pay for a plastic replacement when I carry around one already. However I believe they are intentionally evasive when it comes to their respective roles in an EMV landscape. Much of that follows focuses on Coin, but really – applies to Loop and others as well. Continue reading

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Apple in Payments: Bluetooth Edition

bluetooth

This is the Part II of my Apple in Payments take – and it’s early because of the leak last week around Apple’s MFi program. In the first half of my take, I had touched upon Apple’s program for 3rd party hardware attachment market as being significant and likely to be a key aspect of its payments approach. So below, I will cover more on the approach, how Bluetooth will be the standard of choice – not NFC, and how Apple plans to secure Bluetooth enough to be able to handle payments. Continue reading

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Apple in Payments – A Disruptor’s dilemma

signatureThis post is an attempt to look beyond what the presence or absence of any specific radio in iPhone6 may mean to Apple’s intent in Payments and instead – provide some color around three things that are part of this debate: a) Bring 800M credit cards on file in perspective b) Address the question of radios on the device – a topic that has a disproportionate share of the debate and finally c) Consideration of steps made by Apple to secure both iOS and its devices as waypoints in its payments journey. Oh wait, that last one is not part of the Apple payments debate today. I believe it should be. Read on to see why. Continue reading

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Tokens and Traditionalists

Stop-Hating_1066824Two recent comments led to this post. One is by David Marcus of Paypal who long held fast to his belief that NFC based payments had high barriers to entry – cost, complexity while offering very little upside. Paypal’s position on NFC (Not For Commerce) had always been a bit zealous – understandable as in a world of Secure Elements – Paypal (and many others) could not meaningfully participate. But Marcus’s recent post is an attempt to view NFC/HCE as one of the three trends that could transform the retail payment experience – is a pragmatic view to a complex and heterogeneous retail environment. Marcus speaks on how Paypal has come to adopt a cautiously optimistic view of NFC/HCE, now that there are no gatekeepers extracting a toll and because HCE (thanks to SimplyTapp) finally offers a level playing field in the Android ecosystem. Continue reading

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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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