By John Doyle • June 25th 2013
The Payexpo conference and exhibition held last week at the Excel in London was a busy affair. Three main streams a non-stop exhibition and several side events meant that you had to study the agenda carefully in order to see what you wanted to see; little
opportunity to attend less ‘on focus’ presentations to glean new ideas! Pity.
However, there was a theme of sorts and like the previous ATMIA conference Mobile Payments figured highly.
My personal highlights were:
Ian Sayers of Pingit from Barclays gave an excellent overview of Pingit since launch. The main innovation recently has been the opportunity for non-Barclays customers to use Pingit. All that is required is the opening of a ‘virtual account’ to use as an
intermediary between Barclays and your bank. Good way of getting more Barclays customers, and why not.
Pingit now has over 15,000 customers and still has downloads of over 500 a day. Pingit is now joined by Buyit, their retail Mobile App. Open to retailers who are customers of Barclays as they need to be registered in the application, the application aims
to replicate the Pingit success.
Ian was bullish about the growth of these kinds of applications and says Barclays is looking to offer more apps to its customers for targeted use.
Mark Beresford gave an excellent presentation about the effect that social media is having on commerce at large.
He proposed that social media is a multichannel aggregator, a portal through which to make purchases and manage finances. The social channel takes the job of ‘switching between payment platforms’ offering the consumer a customized shopping experience.
Especially in the area of loyalty vouchers and reward vouchers he predicted a significant increase in business as the social media impact continues to have an impact. He predicted that the next big market for mobile payments could be vending machines.
Why use cash when you can use your mobile. After the conference I visited Poland and was met by a Costa Coffee vending machine experience that allowed me to pay by my credit card – OK, maybe you knew, but it was a seamless experience!
Again, Mark joined that ‘crowd’ that are shouting ‘convergence by phone’; I was impressed by his commitment to innovation and he was a good speaker.
Mark stressed that cash is not dead, just being complemented.
Regulations and Standards
One of the panelists was heard to say that in their opinion (not mine) the banks are the ones holding back mobile payments as they don’t see it as a revenue earner in the same way that a Telco would. An interesting take.
Another of the panelists offered the opinion that regulators are maiing it more and more difficult for the mobile payments market to evolve.
It begged the question as to why VocaLink and BACS have never developed an app for the mobile market that allows consumer payments to be made via the bank directly to the settlement system that BACS provides.
Pascal Burg gave a very interesting overview of how pre-paid cards and loyalty programs have married in the travel industry.
He discussed some airlines ability to hold several wallets on the same card and to convert miles to money, offer vouchers, discounts and reward loyalty, as well as allowing the user to use it as a regular credit card.
For example, Qantas issues an emergency pre-paid card to its VIP passengers in the situation where their luggage is ‘lost’.
Pascal stressed that in a market where interaction with a customer that regularly uses their services airlines can manage their relationship with business travellers using the card as a marketing tool.
Ron was very precise in his message, ‘banks don’t like cash’.
He went on to say that over 55% of all transactions in the UK are via cash and that 85% of global transactions use cash. He said that his research showed that last year there were over 3 Trillion ATM visits which average as 50-60 per year per person in
This proposes a dichotomy for the banks, because the consumer is definitely wedded to cash. He predicted this will change as the younger generation become more active in the payments market and naturally move toward the phone as their payment mechanism
of choice, but not significantly.
Ron was definitely making the case that if the banks are serious about getting rid of cash, they need to be more innovative providing alternative solutions.
Steve Wood from MasterCard gave a very interesting overview of MasterCard’s plans in the mobile area and he predicted that every connected device will become a commercial device. He further said that the commercial world is moving away from tethered devices
to mobile, be it cards, phones, POS machines or other devices being developed.
What the consumer wants is a seamless way to use the best way to make payments and that manages your ‘commercial account’ with vouchers and the like.
Steve made the point that there are now more Internet devices than people, yet 80% (Payments Council Research) are unbanked!
He highlighted the proposition that in the future the Television will also enter the mobile market in a big way. Convergence is not an option he said, it is a necessity.
The mobile market is looking for new solutions that are convenient, convergent and add value to the consumer. Steve highlighted that although MasterCard’s core partnerships are with banks, there are many new entrants in the market that they cannot ignore.
MasterCard’s role, according to Steve, is to make payments seamless and if that means putting MasterCard on every mobile device then that’s what they should do.
Steve was clearly setting out the view that MasterCard must be at the forefront of innovation and ensure that they have a place at the mobile payments table so they can ‘influence’ the way the market develops.
At FSS we were struck by the clear agenda that exists to make a loyalty card marry with a credit card and that this is an under-developed market as far as the consumer.
There was talk of using pre-paid cards as Corporate Cards that marry identification, corporate purchasing (staff in supermarkets) combined with discounts, vouchers and rewards linked to performance.
I overheard 2 participants talking about closed groups such as Universities where you can link student data, pre-paid wallets, vouchers and discounts, purchases in student bars and restaurants.
It seems that everyone is looking at loyalty and pre-paid cards as an innovation for the future and combined with the potential offered by the phone as a non-contact device, the future looks rosy.