Welcome to our new Payments Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital payments industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
HOW MUCH OF PAYMENTS NEWS IS HYPE? PYMNTs makes a great point in an article on the payments space as a whole: Many of the biggest stories in payments are based on hearsay: PayPal is rumoured to have pitched Apple on a mobile payments partnership, Amazon is rumoured to be developing a mobile point-of-sale solution using the Kindle Fire, Amazon is rumoured to have acquired GoPago, and Apple might be getting into payments just because CEO Tim Cook said mobile payments were intriguing. Many initiatives are in a shadowy investment/development stage. We concur with PYMNTS but will keep trying to weed out hype and gossip, to find the substantive news. (PYMNTS)
THE U.S. POST OFFICE SHOULD COMPETE WITH BANKS: A provocative argument from Reuters blogger Felix Salmon that the troubled postal service should move more deeply into financial services, particularly for the surprisingly significant slice of the U.S. population that does not have access to bank and credit card accounts. (Reuters)
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HEARTLAND TO ISO — STOP GOUGING: Heartland Payment Systems has accused one of its Independent Sales Organisation partners of illegally inflating the interchange fees charged to merchants. (CNP)
QUOTE OF THE DAY — “The main obstacles for mobile payments are the operators.” — Oleg Firer, CEO of mobile payment company Net Element, who argues that wireless carriers don’t understand that they need to work more closely with banks. (The Corner)
MOBILE PAYMENTS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: The revenue potential in subsaharan Africa from electronic transactions is between $US7.7 to $US16 billion annually, according to McKinsey. That suggests a total electronic payment transaction volume somewhere between $US385 billion and $US800 billion annually. The estimate uses Kenya, where 70% of all transactions are electronic, as a model for the rest of the region. McKinsey assumes that the rest of the region will catch up to Kenya in terms of peer-to-peer payments. (McKinsey)
U.S. BANCORP GETS INTO MOBILE COMMERCE. In partnership with British mobile payments company Monetise, the bank is white-labelling a mobile commerce app, Peri, which it hopes will catch on with retailers, according to American Banker. The app will allow users to immediately purchase items from print catalogues or glossy magazines, based on image recognition technology. (American Banker)
A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM? Payments Insider covered this app some weeks ago, when U.S. Bank released a YouTube video showing how it might work. Now, it looks like it’s getting to do-or-die stage for Peri. We’ll see if any retailers adopt it. To us, it seems like a lot of bells and whistles for little benefit. How many consumers need the “added convenience” of easy, instant mobile ordering based on a print ad or catalogue, when a simple Google or Amazon search can probably pull up the same product?
CITI IS ADDING FEATURES TO ITS MOBILE APP: The retail bank recently announced the launch of its redesigned app in the U.S. One new feature allows users to check their balances, and deposit checks without logging in. The feature is in a limited beta stage and will be rolled out nationally later this year. (Payments News)
AN INTERNATIONAL FIELD GUIDE TO BITCOIN REGS: The U.S. Library of Congress has released a report on how different countries around the world regulate Bitcoin. Should be a great night-table book for Bitcoin aficionados. (Library Of Congress – PDF download)
DEVELOPERS SHOULD WARM UP TO ALTERNATIVE ANDROID APP STORES: In a guest post at VentureBeat, Rain Rannu of mobile payments company Fortumo argues that developers should look to alternative Android app stores in emerging markets — some of them tied to manufacturers and carriers — in order to better monetise their apps. While Google Play typically asks for a credit card in emerging markets, where many consumers don’t have one, these alternative Android stores offer local payments options like carrier billing, so that customers can easily pay for app downloads and in-app purchases through their cell phone bills. (VentureBeat)
KREBS ON TOUR: Security watchdog and blogger Brian Krebs will be the keynote speaker at the May 2014 Card Not Present Expo in Orlando, where he will speak about the recent threats to network and payments security. (CNP)
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