Category Archives: Carriers

Payments and Commerce Newsletter – September

This is a portion of my biweekly newsletter that I started earlier in 2015 to a small group of people that I communicate with often – a mix of Founders, Bank and Retail Execs, VCs, and others who find their work intersect with mobile and commerce. The last one to go out is pasted below, so you could see what it’s normally about: my posts, thoughts about other posts I have read, my take on interesting industry bits, and other perspectives. If anyone wants to be included in the distribution – email me at cherian(.)abraham(at)experian(.)com.

What it is -> A quick read and meant to be useful.
What it is not -> Not meant to make you buy stuff, not meant to use your email for other things. Continue reading

Apple Pay: First Observations And Closing Thoughts

If rumors hold true, Apple Pay will launch in a week. Five of my last six posts had covered Apple’s likely and actual strategy in payments & commerce, and the rich tapestry of control, convenience, user experience, security and applied cryptography that constitutes as the backdrop. What follows is a summation of my views – with a couple of observations from having seen the Apple Pay payment experience up close. About three years ago – I published a similar commentary on Google Wallet that for kicks, you can find here. I hope what follows is a balanced perspective, as I try to cut through some FUD, provide some commentary on the payment experience, and offer up some predictions that are worth the price you pay to read my blog. Continue reading

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The Bullet that you dodged: Apple Pay and CNP

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There has been a lot of focus on the Card Present rate rebate Apple has been able to extract from the Issuers, and continue to extract from banks lining up behind networks who are signing them up for Apple Pay. Networks are finally finding use for the “Issuer Provisioning Service” they hastily put together during the lost decade (the “Isis years”). Term sheets are blunt and non-negotiable, they don’t provide a lot of clarity other than demanding absolute acquiescence. There are traditional bankers sitting in wood paneled rooms wondering – “How on earth did we get here?” “Well Ed, you finally lost control of the form factor and now all you have is borrowed time, to play in someone else’s playground!”.

But beyond the CP win, apparently Apple almost got their way with CNP transactions as well – in finally affording parity to Card Present and Card Not Present transactions through Apple Pay. And if issuers hadn’t finally rejected it – I believe there would have been ripple effects beyond Apple Pay and even mobile payments – with far reaching repercussions for traditional players. Banks and Networks don’t fully understand what it is that they just dodged. Continue reading

Apple Pay – It’s complicated…

Took a while to crystallize some thoughts on Apple Pay, and having a sore throat meant it’s time to write instead of answering another call on the topic. All in all – the launch may have been exciting or uninspiring based on who you ask. But the truth is far more complicated – once you start to understand what this entails – such as the dynamics of the Apple – Issuer relationship, economics and a deeper look in to what Apple has sought to expose and keep out. As far as who is most impacted by today – I think we can say goodbye to the TSM’s forever. Even if they hope to convince to put SIM based Secure Elements on to iPhone6 and subsequent iterations, in my opinion – Apple would prefer a competing container to store payment credentials like it would want a third tit. The second one impacted is MCX. Third would be Discover/Paypal. Infact – if you paid notice to the press releases floated in the week before the Apple Pay launch (MCX CurrentC, Paypal API) – it would have been evident that these two had no role to play alongside in the oncoming Apple Pay launch. You wouldn’t risk the wrath of Apple if you were. Continue reading

For Apple, Payments is just the middle chapter

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Despite sharing much perspective over the last few years on NFC, HCE, Tokenization and rest – I had not been an ardent fan when it came to Apple and NFC – going back to iPhone5. Simply put – it was not a scenario that made sense if you were Apple, when in my view – success depended on re-alignment of business models that have skewed towards networks and issuers over decades. Evaluating what I knew then to be true – I arrived at the belief that traditional NFC payments will find no backers in Cupertino. And thus – in the first part of my two part Apple piece – I referenced to Apple’s likely (pragmatic) approach to NFC: 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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HCE: We are not in Kansas anymore

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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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Host Card Emulation: NFC’s Tale of Redemption

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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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Smoke is rising from Apple’s conclave

conclave_smokesTL;DR Read within as to how Touch ID is made possible via ARM’s TrustZone/TEE, and why this matters in the context of the coming Apple’s identity framework. Also I explain why primary/co-processor combos are here to stay. I believe that eventually, Touch ID has a payments angle – but focusing on e-commerce before retail. Carriers will weep over a lost opportunity while through Touch ID, we have front row seats to Apple’s enterprise strategy, its payment strategy and beyond all – the future direction of its computing platform. Read on… Continue reading

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Isis : A JV at odds

isis-logo2edited-553x364Isis has had a slew of announcements – about an impending national rollout and further assertion by both Amex and Chase of their intent to continue their partnership. Surprisingly (or not) Capital One has stayed mum about its plans, and neither has Barclays or Discover shown any interest. And much ink has been spilled at how resolute (and isolationist) Isis has been – including here on this blog. So does the launch reflect a maturity in the JV to tackle a national rollout, or is it being forced to show its hands? Wait..I have more questions.. Continue reading

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