Category Archives: Retail

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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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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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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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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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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