Coming soon – mobile money mayhem

Written by on November 13, 2014 in Opinion with 0 Comments

As if the payments puzzle wasn’t complicated enough, another twist has been revealed. Target has decided to hedge its bets with Apple Pay and CurrentC. In store, customers will be able to use CurrentC, the branded MCX offering being promoted by major retailers in the US. But when using Target’s apps for purchases, customers will be able to use Apple Pay.

While the noise you hear in the background is the noise of mobile money and payments solutions being launched, the major players continue to circle each other like boxers in the ring. Apple Pay is flirting with banks, but refusing to even have a quiet drink with telecoms operators. CurrentC is firmly in the MCX camp (obviously) and will not play with Apple, or anyone except their own. The ‘walled garden’ trap that nearly killed the mobile internet seems to be looming in the mobile money space. And it will affect customers and their trust and willingness to use what is surely the easiest way to pay and be rewarded ever invented.

When walled gardens were in the spotlight several years ago, operators were basically forced to take them down, as customers found little holes and weaknesses and went through them anyway. But outside walled gardens was the lure of the World Wide Web.

This is different because the only thing that is ‘beyond’ this walled garden is a payment that is due. And the problem with that is that the real attraction for all these players is the mobile money and payment experience, which is a) crucial and b) can breed loyalty and trust (and therefore extra revenues).

Ruin that by providing a bad, negative or difficult experience and the winners will be the good old fashioned credit card companies that shoppers have trusted for decades.

It would be a great (and expensive) shame if the mobile money landscape becomes an arena of bickering, jockeying heavy weights, who believe they are all indispensable to their industries. Customers will not play ball and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there will be serious casualties. Look at Kodak.

Let us hope that very closely behind this posturing skirmish is a plain of openness that will usher in customer trust and a seamless, easy and enjoyable experience for customers.

We can hope, right?

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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