Payments Push


Google makes a technology play to push payments out of the wallet while keeping the phone in the purse or pocket, while the pain at the POS looks to be Apple’s next big product. Still, mobile and faster payments face technological, cost, and awareness hurdles, as critical as they may be to the digital success of financial institutions. U.S. financial regulators weighed in this week by slapping the hands of a nonbank payments platform and processor, a trend I expect we will see more of this year.

The future will remain firmly with regulated banks, JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon, in effect, tells Bloomberg’s John Micklethwait. And a look at the Blockchain Watch points to a future that includes major bank adoption of the technology behind bitcoin.

Google experiments with a way to pay without taking out your phone

If swiping your card was too much of a hassle, a new Google feature will make paying for stuff a bit easier. Google is rolling out a pilot program, called Hands Free, in southern San Francisco Bay. According to TechCrunch, the challenge for Google with this tool will be twofold: getting point of sales services on board, and getting users to adopt it.

Will ApplePay be the company’s next mega-business?

Apple has enjoyed a lot of success with iPhones, iPads, and so on, but payments could be the company’s next big frontier. “Here I think lies a clue to Apple’s thinking: if ‘the legal online purchasing of music’ and ‘the getting of 3rd party apps onto a mobile phone’ were messy areas that the company waded into with past products, then the payments industry is, from the merchant’s point of view, a gigantic bag of hurt,” writes Ronnie Somerville for Street Fight magazine.

Mobile money inflexibility slows emerging financial markets

Merchant acceptance remains challenging in many countries and is non-existent in others due to lack of consumer awareness, cost, and technical and fiscal issues. In order to move toward a cashless society, it’s critical that those barriers be addressed so that merchants and retailers can accept customers’ digital payments, according to PaymentsSource.

Faster payments isn’t just a new strategy for banks—it’s a must

It’s time for financial institutions to start making changes to keep up with the shift toward realtime payments. “The key to financial institutions retaining their place at the center of customers’ financial lives is addressing the integrity of real-time transactions as they simultaneously make customers’ lives easier,” asserts

Lou Anne Alexander for PaymentsSource. Same-day and faster payments can provide many of the same benefits of card transactions, without using the card rails. “That’s revolutionary,” Transactis CEO Joe Proto told

CFPB hits Dwolla with $100k fine over data security practices

Nonbank FinTech firms may take notice as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said March 2 that it has taken action against Dwolla, an online payment platform company, reported. As a result, said the bureau, Dwolla must pay out $100,000 in penalties, train its employees on data security, and repair bugs in its web and mobile apps to fix its security initiatives.

Jamie Dimon on finance: ‘Who owns the future?’

John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief at Bloomberg Business, dropped by Jamie Dimon’s office for a wide-ranging interview with the JPMorgan Chase CEO, covering his career and the state of banking after the financial crisis. FinTech startups provide “nothing mystical,” he said. They effectively do the same things banks do but reduce pain points more quickly. They will not replace banks. The smarter FinTech startups are or will be courting financial institutions like Chase, which can provide more permanent capital to support their operations and help them survive a potential crisis.


Another top financial executive makes distributed ledger technology personal, as Sallie Krawcheck, a former top wealth management Wall Street exec, joined the board of the software startup Digital Asset Holdings, The New York Times reports. The startup develops software to speed up trade settlement, money transfer and other transactional activities using bitcoin. In the U.K., the Bank of England will consult on how to improve its 500 billion pounds per day payments system, and it’s considering blockchain technology to do it. Meanshile, “40 top banks just did an experiment of ‘unprecedented scale’ with the technology behind bitcoin,” Business Insider reports.