Welcome to our new Payments Insights newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital payments industry, produced by BI Intelligence. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every morning.
THE STORIES OF THE YEAR IN PAYMENTS: Mobile Payments Today has a very useful rundown of the top stories in payments during 2013. Here are some of them:
- Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse, says there was so much growth and activity in 2013 that we may have entered a “mobile payments bubble.”
- David Schropfer, mobile commerce head at The Luciano Group, says the story of the year was MCX’s choice of digital security specialist Gemalto to build its mobile wallet services for deployment across 75,000 retail locations. MCX is backed by major retailers such as Shell gas stations, Target stores, and Dunkin’ Brands doughnut shops. Schropfer believes MCX is going after MasterCard and Visa.
- David Birch, global ambassador at Consult Hyperion, believes the top story was Apple’s choice of Bluetooth Low Energy instead of NFC.
- Sam Maule, managing consultant at Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, says the story of the year was actually the low consumer acceptance of universal mobile wallets such as Square’s and PayPal’s.
- An interesting counterpoint to the above: Rakesh Agrawal, a consultant, says he’s impressed by “the rise of vertical-specific payments applications like Uber. They greatly reduce the friction in payments, to the point that people don’t even have to think about them.”
In other news …
Speaking Of Car Ride Apps —Let’s remember that car-ride and ride-share startups like Uber, Hailo, and Lyft are all contenders to play an increasingly large role in the mobile and digital payments space since they will collect users’ credit card or other payment information, as an insightful but now-dated article from Streeet Fight argued back in 2012. Uber also accepts PayPal as of November 2013. And car-ride apps might serve as clearinghouses for daily deals and location-based promotions.
RIDE-SHARING AS A BUSINESS: Ride-sharing startup Lyft rolled out some changes over Christmas: it’s expanding into more California suburbs, including Oakland, Pasadena, and Long Beach. Most importantly, it’s ending donation-based pricing. Now, riders will have to pay an agreed-to price for ride shares, in the same way Uber charges users for rides, and there will be surge-pricing too, according to PandoDaily. “It originally operated on donations because ridesharing for pay wasn’t legal. Lyft avoided problems by painting the service as a networking application with a voluntary tipping model. But since the California Public Utilities Commission legalized ridesharing in September, Lyft can drop the pretense in California and switch to a mandatory payment rate … In other states where ridesharing is not yet legal, the model will remain voluntary donations.” (PandoDaily)
NO MORE PROPRIETARY STANDARDS: Trade publication PYMNTS.com interviewed a few payments executives about their hopes and expectations for the payments industry in the New Year. Amir Wain, CEO of payments and commerce technology vendor i2c, made a plea for more consumer choice and more open standards in mobile payments: “There have been far too many players attempting to ‘win’ the mobile payments land grab by pursuing strategies based on proprietary standards. In my view, any scheme that attempts to lock consumers into a service or force their hands in anyway will ultimately fail. If we want to bring the benefits of mobile payments to the general public, it is time for the industry to come together to determine a path forward.” (PYMNTS.COM)
BitATM: Toronto-based Bitcoin debit card and payments system Coinkite has made one of its point-of-sale and account-management terminals available in Vancouver, Canada — on the premises of a Bitcoin and precious metals-buying outfit called Bitbulls. There’s a demonstration video of the terminal in action on this page.
EXPLAINER ON DOGECOIN, THE WEIRD INTERNET MEME THAT TURNED INTO A CRYPTO CURRENCY – “The Dogecoin community on Reddit is already huge, bigger than all other digital currency communities, except the Bitcoin one. What this means is that a community that has a taste for the absurd (people who are into weird internet memes) can have their own currency with real economic value in a short time. It seems like a symbol of things to come.” (Business Insider)
LESSONS LEARNED: Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner for 12 years, takes us through what we can take away from the Target data breach. (Gartner)
THE UK GETS WITH REMOTE CHECKING: UK authorities are looking at allowing smartphone-photographed checks to be deposited into customer accounts. The U.S. already allows this. (BBC)
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.