New Bank Consortium Created Around Akoya

WSJ Thursday 2/20 – Fidelity Spinning out Akoya

Much more than a spin out.. 12-18 banks got together and purchased Akoya with FMR retaining some of the equity. The new entity will have a BOD and Advisory committee comprised of banks. 

Akoya is the “data middleman” between bank platforms and aggregates. For example, if JPMC or Bank of America had an existing OFX service, Akoya could wrap that bespoke integration, add tokenized credentials and be the common integration point for PLAID, Intuit or Yodlee.

Akoya, plays a critical role in eliminated screen scraping, and also in managing the complex operations of many 3rd parties (think Intuit Quickbooks). Technically they serve as the common integration, permissions, contract and operations hub. Additionally they manage consistent access agreements (with each requester) giving customers an audit trail of who is requesting their data. 

Akoya’s standardization of access does bring into question why a 3rd Party would integrate to Plaid vs. Akoya. While both are committed to standards (ie FDX, OFX, …), Akoya will hold the operational keys for both consumer and bank on all API access. This is a brilliant bank move..

Interesting that the Banks did not put this asset with either EWS or TCH..

Growth Vector #1 – Embedding Payments

Embedding of payments into new commerce and business flows will quickly drive $500BTPV gains over the next 5 yrs and replace eCommerce as the source of TPV growth. Cash, ACH, and other Networks (ex Swift) will lose, MVP, Adyen and others will gain.

Pardon Typos.. still in proof mode

Previous Blogs on Topic 

  1. Payments in the OS – Browser Tokens – May 2016
  2. Payment in the OS – mCom/eCom Converge – Dec 2014
  3. Apple Pay in Browser – Mar 2016
  4. eCom Thoughts – Sept 2015
Continue reading “Growth Vector #1 – Embedding Payments”

TCH – Real Time Payments

TCH’s RTP service is capable of much more than just P2P, particularly given its role in tokenization of all cards. I was rather surprised to hear 5 of 6 top banks would rather work with PayPal than Visa/MA on this.. (And this was a KEY reason I moved to buy Paypal stock 24 mo ago).

Its been 18 mo since my last TCH update. As a quick refresh, the reason everyone cares about the TCH project, is that TCH is the ONLY place that the top 6 bank CEOs get together to collaborate on payments. TCH operates CHIPS (the largest private ACH network in the world), settling around $1.5T of payments PER DAY (think stock market, B2B, V, MA… everything). Within the ACH scheme every member bank has a settlement account and a nightly Net Settlement process is run. 

Continue reading “TCH – Real Time Payments”

Payments 2020 – MVP Continued Domination?

What is the top performing industry group? MVP outperformed FAANG over last 4 yrs by 34 points.. will this trend continue?

I’m back to blogging after a 5 year hiatus… The CEO thing is rather all consuming. Glad to have an exit so I can get back to my fellow payment geeks. 

What to blog about first? Given we are in new decade I thought about writing some grand predictions.  But rather than look forward, we must spend a little time in the past, as the past 10 years have been JUST AMAZING in payments. I’m calling this blog series “payment growth vectors” where I hope to recap what has transpired in payments (history) to provide a trajectory for evaluation of the future course.  

Continue reading “Payments 2020 – MVP Continued Domination?”

Apple Card

Short blog on the Apple card and Apple’s history in bringing ApplePay to market

21 Jan 2020

iPhone showing Apple Card and stats.

I love my Apple Card.. both the physical card – with its wonderful “feel” – as well as the virtual card and how it is integrated into the Apple Pay Wallet. These payment jewels are all part of a Services Business growing at 20% CAGR that could be worth $650B by next year (MotleyFool).

Continue reading “Apple Card”

Adios Visa Checkout

17 January – Good news.. the right thing just happened.

branding nascar

This week we finally saw the “official death” of Visa Checkout and Mastercard’s “Masterpass”. Do you remember all those Superbowl commercials with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald? Per my April 2018 blog, this “branded button” approach makes no sense at all at a time where Visa/MA are positioned to play a much more critical position as the central token directory. This means we will no longer see the “NASCAR like Checkout” I referenced 5 yrs ago when JPMC launched the much ridiculed ChasePay. Visa’s top 5 brand will no longer have an appended “checkout” on it (which no one used or understood).

Continue reading “Adios Visa Checkout”

Plaid – Quick Take

My quick read on Visa’s acquisition of Plaid

I’m back to blogging after a successful exit last month. The Plaid acquisition is a great way for me to jump back in. Why read this? A key to understanding payments, banking and data is to balance historical knowledge with a network of people that know what is really happening behind the scenes. As the former head of two direct banks, former Senior Director of Oracle’s advanced technology solution’s practice and Yodlee’s first customer I have an informed perspective on the market for this one. 

Continue reading “Plaid – Quick Take”

Big Moves in Payments

21 March 2019

Happy First Day of Spring! I don’t know how many people still read this silly blog. I’m in a CEO time warp and just realized I haven’t written anything since NOVEMBER!! This will be a short blog with some random thoughts.

Big moves in Payments this quarter.

  1. Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Global Payments and others are at ALL TIME HIGHS today.
  2. Worldpay to be acquired by FIS for $43B
  3. First Data to be acquired by Fiserv for $22B (all stock)

Continue reading “Big Moves in Payments”

Payments and Rocket Science

My Forbes Article Last Week

What We Can Learn From Rocket Science About Closing The Sales-Marketing Loop

Payments plays a key role in trust, not only during the sale.. but also in providing transparency to merchants on marketing effectiveness. Sales is the ultimate report card on what happened.  Using this data in real time can double marketing effectiveness.

While Commerce Signals has taken me away from my Space Analyst stuff (see link), I’m very proud to know that my old team is landing Elon’s rockets (see Wiki).

Token update – TCH + 2 Big Banks and Paypal

I’ve been writing about this token stuff for over 5 yrs. Wow.. This is an update to my June 2013 blog – Tokens: any volunteers ,  SRC- W3C and Tokens and the Trojan Horse.

First my bias.. I may be naive.. but as I stated in Tokens and the Trojan Horse

Visa and Mastercard provide a level playing field for Issuers and Merchants (with few exceptions). Per my blog Payments Civil War, V/MA are a fantastic creation that have experienced profound success (and growth). As I outlined in the Changing Economics of Payments, the beauty of the V/MA model is that it creates incentives for millions of businesses to invest billions of dollars. For investors, the attraction of V/MA is that it is scale free.. with minimal effort required to add volume. While there are MANY more logical ways to deliver payments.. there are none with more profitable incentives for investment.

Tokens are an enormously powerful control point for the payment networks. 9 years ago the banks were working to “build a new Visa” within an initiative launched by The Clearing House. The idea was to create a new scheme that “wrapped” account numbers with another number (token) and avoid network routing (see wrapping). The networks smartly came down and issued clear guidance, if you wrap my card number with another number …. It is still a Mastercard/Visa.

TCH has been seeking a partner for tokenization since Paul Gallant led the 27 bank consortium 8 yrs ago.  Can you imagine the sales pitch (as I reviewed in the Trojan horse) “give me all of your customer information, I will lock it up.. and give you one of my keys for you to access it”. Google, Apple and Amazon have all smartly said no. What is the remaining “big” eCommerce Cards on File (COF) home? You guessed it PayPal.

While I’m not 100% sure about this.. it is the only group left AND two of these banks told me this week “Paypal is the only one that can move merchants effectively”. I was shocked … paypal can move merchants more than Google? They responded “Google has the best technology, but they just can’t sell merchant more than adwords”.. wow.

Thus my best guess is that 2 of the top banks are working with Paypal as the processor/gateway  to move “W3C” in the direction of the TCH tokenization service. The head of the W3C WG wrote me on twitter

Quite frankly my head is spinning. W3C is a browser standard.. how can Paypal get their TCH tokens in? I haven’t figured this out yet, but what I do know is that the complexity is enormous. We have 3 different token services

  • Visa VTS/MA MDES (Apple is primary customer)
  • Google (see Blog) – had no choice but to develop a new custom “standard” by which the encrypted FPAN flows to the merchant acquirer
  • TCH – Paypal + ??

And also multiple new eCom standards

To read what is happening you must therefore take a matrix view.  Obviously Google is moving with their own token service and W3C. Paypal seems to be moving with TCH and W3C.  Apple with network tokenization and ApplePay.

My head is spinning. I must say I did buy Paypal stock this week. I’m just floored that top tier issuers are innovating with Paypal.. focus, partnerships and execution are moving them into the bank friendly category.