I have to question the ROI on Visa's investment into an Android application, although I suppose now it's do everything or die for them.
There have been some
questions asked as to whether banks should really be investing in NFC and effectively strengthening the card brands, albeit temporarily. I would tend to advise that they should not.
Cards are on the way out. Visa plans to drop them.
This is evidenced by their actions in trying to cover every mobile manufacturer with an application. Even the Google Android. It isn't exactly the phone I would think was likely to provide the best credit card customers. As with the iphone, after all the
hype, there are something like 2,999,000,000 other handsets in operation. Concentrating on the latest hyped handset looks like a desperate attempt to get spin.
Unless Visa plan to finance a global NFC roll-out, which would be corporate suicide, then they're going to have to ditch the cards and switch to the mobile.
If they're bothering to build applications for even the niche nerd market Android, then they're obviosly committed to a mobile Visa.
Where does this leave the NFC crowd?
Of course Visa may just be sinking slowly into the mire of having to be all things to all customers, maintaining legacy and building NFC card networks and developing an application for every new phone, while competitors move ahead with a lower cost ubiquitous
The costs involved in a global NFC network are staggering - at least tens of billions. Chip and PIN cost the UK in excess of £1.1 billion. The cost is never ending. The security nightmare is unsolvable without upgrading the whole system. I see it as a dinosaur
carrying a mass of very perishable baggage and the meteor is on it's way to extinguish them.
There will new mobile models all the time, where will that end? - Never.
It looks like a long hard road ahead for Visa.
We've been costing out a global mobile transaction network, truly global, everywhere that you can use a mobile phone. It won't matter what phone, brick, blackberry, nokia, sony, google android, or the ones which haven't even been thought of yet. We already
know it will carry millions of transactions per second. Every single merchant and every person will be able to use it.
$400 million tops.
I know where I'm investing my money.
It will be a whole new ball game.