Mike Dudas, an executive at Google Wallet, and Seth Priebatsch, founder and CEO of payments startup LevelUp, just tore into each other’s businesses on Twitter.It’s payback time in payments land! Transactional trash talk!
Dudas started the Twitter fight by expressing scepticism that a big fast-food chain would use a new piece of LevelUp hardware for scanning barcodes.
Priebatsch then taunted Dudas about Google Wallet’s slow adoption, joking about its “five” users. (In fact, Google says it has “tens of millions” of Google Wallet accounts, though it’s not clear how many use the mobile version.)
The conversation devolved from there. If you like insults involving interchange rates, you’ll love this back-and-forth.
The uncomfortable truth underlying these taunts: It’s really hard to make money in payments. In that, Google and LevelUp are not that different: They’re both offering payments as a way to hook customers in for other marketing services. And they’re both challenged by the fact that consumers are pretty happy paying with cash or swiping credit cards.
We’re just surprised that Square COO Keith Rabois, a pugnacious tweeter, hasn’t weighed in yet.
Here’s the thread that started the spat:
— Seth Priebatsch (@sethpriebatsch) September 6, 2012
@sethpriebatsch Nah, of course not. Just making point that Google Wallet is far broader than the NFC-based Android app that gets most press
— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) September 6, 2012
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