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James Bond and Payments

With the latest instalment of James Bond; “Skyfall” out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, I started thinking about how the world of payments is like the world of James Bond.

Bond has to sort the good guys from the bad ones. In payments we must identify what new technologies and payment methods will become mainstream trends and which are simply a “flash in the pan” and will be short-lived. Mobile, QRCodes, tablets, contactless, social networking, etc. Will they still be here in 10 years or long gone? Should payment products support them or ignore them?

Often the Bond “baddies” work for larger organisations. Remember SPECTRE? They too can come and go. Gain in strength and numbers or wither away.

Banks, processors, PSPs, card schemes, MNOs. The PayPals and Googles of the world. Will they grow further and dominate or be side-lined as new corporations (and existing ones) gain prominence and market share? Who will be the customers for payment products in 5 or 10 years?

Looking at the James Bond franchise, each film spends a huge amount on marketing and promotion. Even a “flop” can still make hundreds of millions in revenue.

In payments, even the best ideas and technologies can fail unless they are marketed and gain sufficient popularity to have the critical mass needed to actually achieve success and be profitable.

Are the iPhone and iPad the best in their class? Maybe. Maybe not. You better believe that the marketing budget used to make you believe they are the coolest “must have” gadgets was huge.

Can we know what corporations plan with their marketing this year, never mind in 5 or 10 years?

James Bond does not know his next mission, which countries he must travel to, the challenges he must face. In payments, we too can only speculate about the future. We’ll make and re-make our plans and strategies as things change and change again. Often unexpectedly and in ways we could not predict.

Bond has been around for 50 years. The products we rely on and invest in to power our businesses may not have such longevity, but like Bond they must be flexible and ready for anything.

As must the organisations that buy, implement and operate them.

Everything will change. Be ready for the ride of your life.


Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 20 February, 2013, 08:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Nice one ha-ha so where do women fit in?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 21 February, 2013, 14:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The Walled Garden effect - where entry into the ecosystem is managed and controlled by an effective duopoly - this is the Cards arena of yester-year.  The controlling force of traditional members is changing drastically with the evolution and revolutions seen in technology - and in some cases legislation and policy.  In the future - what is today regarded as either a card based payment or an account based payment - the difference will be immaterial - it will just be a payment - from customer to customer.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith - Dynamic Partners - London 25 February, 2013, 11:23Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Where do women fit in? In the Bond Movies they have increasingly become tough partners working alongside Bond. In the case of 'M' even being the one calling the shots. In payments it has been reported that women spend more with their cards than men. I doubt in the future that this is likely to change. So women remain very important within payments and many of the "gadgets" we see being used today (Tablets, SmartPhones, etc.) are no more under the heading of "boys with toys" as women are using them just as much.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith - Dynamic Partners - London 25 February, 2013, 11:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I agree with your comment that moving forward the difference between card and account payments will mean little. More so with the emergence of mobile wallets. Things will become more customer-centric and less card and account centric.


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