We have always had two different payment flows without realizing it: pull and push.
"Pull" flow is your in-store payment - merchant makes a request for payment, "pulls" payment credentials from customer and then forwards those credentials to the customer's bank to "pull" the payment (which takes days to filter through the clearance and
settlement system). ATMs are using the same flow too.
It is easy to see the disadvantages of "pull" flow: exposure of payment credentials, cost of multi-party structure and slow speed. EMV is introducing tokens as risk mitigation tool, but that doesn't address other problems of "pull".
"Push" flow is your utility bill. Merchant makes a request for payment, customer instructs the bank to make that payment. Merchant doesn't know (and doesn't care) how the payment is done. Slow, but cheap and cheerful.
Enter mobile phones and instant payments, say Paym. Merchant (online store, coffee shop, ATM) presents a request for payment - say, via QR code. Customer uses the payment app to scan that
QR code, checks transaction data and sends payment instructions to the bank. A few seconds later the funds hit the merchant's bank account (in case of ATM - its deployer). No acquirers, no card schemes... There are still some issues to address, but you get
Some further food for thought.
There are three easy ways for customer to receive a request for payment ("invoice", if you like) from merchant: QR code, BLE, NFC. Every smartphone can support QR. Every new smartphone can support BLE (and QR).
So can tablets and many PCs. That makes both QR and BLE interfaces suited for e-commerce...
Retail payment terminal based on "pull" NFC costs over £100. Retail "push" BLE beacon costs £10. (On the phone level, the cost of NFC is also up to ten times higher than BLE).
The latest EMV specs (if you are still keen on "pull") support both QR and BLE.
If you are a merchant (or a consumer, or a bank), that makes you think, doesn't it?.. Especially if you are based in the US, where mag stripe is on its way out and mobile payments are still struggling to blossom.
Blog updated: 30 May 2015 04:40:13