Category Archives: Disruption

Key debates in payments tokenization – Cost & Control

In Payments, Tokenization has surfaced two key points of debate for financial institutions. The first has to do with bank partnerships with technology providers like Apple, Google, Samsung et al – and how these partnerships need to be equalized around the topic of cost and control. Though the fear of disintermediation isn’t new, concerns about costs, data sharing and customer privacy has received a disproportionate share of this internal debate. Following is a brief perspective on how this is further shaped within banks and the downstream impact to those who intend to wrap them. Continue reading

Dumb pipes and Wide moats: Networks and Tokens

For Apple Pay, tokenization is the process by which card information is protected and subsequently shielded from the merchant and other parties in the transaction flow – till it reaches an entity equipped to reverse the translation and submit the authorization for bank approval. With AP – this role is entirely owned by the card schemes, even though the specification put forth by EMVCo places no such stipulations and allows third party “Token Service Providers” to exist. Apple is said to have welcomed “non-card scheme TSP’s” to operate within Apple Pay for a couple of reasons – the ability to support non-payment tokens as well as a hedge against putting all its eggs in one basket. For network TSPs like V and MA – tokenization represents a real advantage that dis-incentivizes disruption, while opening their rails to far more potential than just payments. 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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$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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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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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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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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