Buzz in the mobile device world this week, as the Apple Insider reports that Apple is testing iPhones embedded with an RFID chip. As regular readers of my research know, such a step would open the iPhone up to contactless POS interactions, including the ability to make payments at the point of sale. Read about it here
Earlier this month, MasterCard became the first payments brand to publish the amounts it fines merchants for PCI compliance violations. The move, while not radical in itself, is one more indication of efforts to add teeth to data compliance practices that violate the PCI data security standard.
On the regulatory front, another ominous sign for the financial services industry, with likely impact on e-Business strategists. President Obama today proposed a massive overhaul of the nation’s fiancial system, as an essential regulatory cornerstone for the future and to ensure that the factors underpinning the economic crisis are not repeated.
In my last blog post, I sketched out the e-Business ramifications of the pressures that were mounting on credit card fees and operational structure, both from the legislative/ regulatory front as well as from merchants, who had just launched a website dedicated to mobilizing consumers against the “unfair and hidden” credit card fee of interchange.
Early on in this blog, I predicted that 2009 would see an increase in the number and stridency of calls for reforms to the
U.S. credit card market, particularly in terms of types and amounts of acceptible fees. The Federal Reserve’s December 2008 card industry changes certainly made clear that this was happening. But now, the long-simmering brew appears to be spreading.
Since the collapse of Bear Stearns nearly a year ago--the first top-tier brick to crumble in the foundation of the modern US financial services industry --the changes that have hit financial services have been far-reaching and swift.
From Lehman to AIG down to institutions the size of little Integrity Bank (the Alpharatta, GA institution acquired by Regions Financial in Q3 08 after mortgage-related losses consumed its operations) few aspects of the banking and lending industries have been spared.
Micropayments are happening. Not everywhere, but in some promising areas.
The lessons of the iPod and iPhone apps store, Facebook Spare Change and Twitter's TwitPay all stand as notable innovations in a space littered with the remains of failed efforts to monetize "free" online content.
Yet on media sites, most low-value digital content remains free, even for mainstream media outlets. Two problems remain.
--First, how to process micro transactions cost effectively.
--Second, how to take something that has traditionally been free--like the Internet--and to add a price tag to it.
With that in mind, two recent encounters are worth note.
While all good things eventually come to an end, so too do endings lead to new beginnings.
It's in that spirit that I want to welcome regular readers to my new, role-based blog within Forrester. It's good to be back, and thanks to all of you who have reached out since the migration to the new platform.
The location of my blog may have changed, but the global financial crisis continues:
--Wall Street just finished its worst January ever;
--More than 100,000 job losses were announced last week alone;
--And the week to come is worth watching, with a variety of economic reports (including consumer spending, retail sales, housing and the January employment report) all in the wings.