Visa Payclick

Summary on Visa Payclick: “Partnering with banks” is very challenging…. do banks want Visa to deliver a “bank friendly” paypal competitor.. or would banks prefer to create something they can control? View Payclick today as an Australia “test market” of something Visa intends to grow, with an initial consumer focus on digital goods.

30 June 2010

Summary on Visa Payclick: “Partnering with banks” is very challenging…. do banks want Visa to deliver a “bank friendly” PayPal competitor.. or would banks prefer to create something they can control? View Payclick today as an Australia “test market” of something Visa intends to grow, with an initial consumer focus on digital goods.

Visa just launched Payclick (www.payclick.com.au) with plans to expand globally. I see this service competing more with Bango (see http://www.bango.com/) and payforit (www.payforit.com) than PayPal. There is no way for a consumer to withdraw funds placed in the wallet, or to be paid..  (it is not a wallet), it allows for the addition of current account funds through BPAY integration (note BPAY is a bank owned consortium in Australia providing common services like telephone and online bill payment). Allowing multiple funding instruments provides for a lower cost of funds, and BPAY penetration is over 80% in online customers. However the inability to credit the wallet, while  simplifying risk and fraud operational challenges, limits the consumer value proposition and the addressable market. Given these wallet restrictions, Visa has chosen an initial market focus on teens buying digital content… this narrow market focus may provide Visa the opportunity to “kick the tires” on the system before expanding it (geographically and demographically).

Re: Expansion.  I understand that Visa is “in flight” with expanding the AFT/OCT transaction set (See Patent) which is the heart of the Visa Money Transfer service. My global card contacts tell me that Visa is attempting to get issuers on board with credit push in an updated issuer agreement (see Visa Money Transfer Overview – Issuer presentation). The “incentive” for issuing bank to accept new agreement is a $0.50 revenue share. Banks are not biting on this (subject of another blog on Visa and card remittances).. hence my guess is that the Payclick service has “visions” for being bi-directional.. but not until issuers sign off on accepting OCT transactions.

We should not assess Payclick based solely upon current functionality, given Visa’s substantial investment here there must be plans for additional transaction types. The CYBS acquisition gives Visa assets to develop something much more comprehensive. For example, with the CYBS could serve as an acquirer for Payclick as a “light” tool for small merchants selling digital goods in mobile market places and app stores.  On the consumer side, Visa has a steep hill to climb in creating a value proposition which would drive consumers to store card information with Payclick (particularly given the competing payment methods above).

Risks I see for Visa in Payclick:

  • Initial target demographic is well served by both Bango, Paypal, iTunes Wallet, prepaid card (for my teen), payforit (UK), MNO billing, …
  • “Send only” functionality will not create critical mass in either consumers or merchants
  • Banks will not bite on OCT transaction set and service functionality will not be able to expand
  • Visa will loose focus after core innovation team departs
  • CYBS can acquire and service… but it will take serious marketing dollars to create a new consumer brand… as well as a solid value proposition.

Add these risks to Visa’s existing “dynamic” with  retailers (a group that is not favorably inclined toward assisting Visa nor any card network) in creating another payment type  (issues w/ interchange, compliance, fraud, payment system integrity, ..). Since Visa’s IPO,  Banks are no longer in control and also view Visa’s efforts through a new competitive lens. Banks also like the idea of having their own brand on payments. Thus, Visa is stuck managing a complex 4 party system with limited ability to create an innovative value proposition which all parties can agree on.

Visa is facing head on competition from “unshackled” teams like PayPal. In fact PayPal just launched mobile instant checkout today .

Feedback appreciated

Mobile Advertising Battle: Beyond the Internet

We may be seeing the beginning of a seismic change in advertising spend, and the way consumers are tracked and targeted. The “addressable market” for mobile advertising should not be viewed as a subset of online spend, both because of POS opportunities and the media richness (and now multi-tasking) of the iPhone. Apple’s strategy is brilliant, I would imagine them taking a regulatory position that all ad networks are welcome to work through their standard…. Apple is protecting customers’ privacy.

10 June 2010

Apple is brilliant!

Having just read today today’s WSJ Article- Google Blasts Apple on iAd Rules, a few random thoughts started to coalesce (which doesn’t happen as often as it used to) into a new ‘‘investment perspective’ on mobile advertising.

Yesterday Magna estimated that online advertising will climb 12.4% in 2010 to $61.0B and surpass $100B by 2013. For perspective, AFP reports that advertisers will spend $59.6B on TV ads and around $600M on mobile advertising (eMarkerter, $1.3B by 2013). The growth here is just astounding, there is little wonder for the transactions over the last 3 years:

  • MSFT aQuantive $6B (May 2007)
  • Google DoubleClick $3.2B (April 2007)
  • Google AdMob $650M (May 2010)
  • Apple Quattro Wireless (Jan 2010)

In my experiences as global buyer, online was by far the most cost effective way to acquire a customer (with SEM the most cost effective). From my perspective, Online Advertising brought a solution to the challenge faced by marketers for decades: data. Finally I could relate marketing spend to customer acquisition. Marketing went from throwing a blanket.. to a shotgun.. In 2005-2007 this shotgun was very hard to use.. particularly outside of the US. Although most agencies were well versed in spending through Ad Networks for display ads, few had any experience in SEM across search providers. Those Agencies that did still did not provide tools for my teams (buyers) to calculate CPA (determining which ads resulted in customer acquisition). Hence, large companies had to develop their own internal expertise or manage their spend directly with a chosen few suppliers (eg. GOOGLE). Internal marketing thus took on the form shown below.

The Ad industry recognizes that the ability to track a customer is key to measuring effectiveness, target ads and thereby key to greater marketing spend. There are a number of technical solutions which have developed over the last 3-4 years, tagging customers with cookies is all something we are familiar with.  Apple’s strategy in defining standard for “tracking” is challenging Google’s unique position as the “starting point” of a customer’s online activity. It moves the starting point to the iPhone device. This is a brilliant move by Apple given its 50M iPhones (and 30M iTouches), particularly when you look at the demographic of the owners and the media capabilities of this killer mobile appliance.

Apple’s plans to take ownership of the iPhone’s “Ad Ecosystem” will not end with these standards. In the online advertising model, the objective was an online acquisition. In the mobile ad model the objective is for either an acquisition online or at a physical point of sale (POS). The mobile device is in a unique position as a point of convergence between the virtual and physical world. In this model the iAD/mobile market expands from mobile advertising (as a sub category of online advertising) to generating store traffic at the POS. The challenge for a iAD at POS is similar to the “customer tracking” challenge described above.. how do I know the customer went to the store? Answers: coupons, payment, geolocation, …

Expect Apple and the MNOs to become very active in linking mobile advertising to these activities (ex Apple’s NFC patent, MNO prepaid consortium). The linking of card data to mobile advertising (consumer behavior and preferences) also provides a tremendous opportunity Banks/Issuers to monetize consumer information (see Googlization of Financial Services).

We may be seeing the beginning of a seismic change in advertising spend, and the way consumers are tracked and targeted. The “addressable market” for mobile advertising should not be viewed as a subset of online spend, both because of POS opportunities and the media richness (and now multi-tasking) of the iPhone. Apple’s strategy is brilliant, I would imagine them taking a regulatory position that all ad networks are welcome to work through their standard…. Apple is protecting customers’ privacy.

Related Content

April 2010 online ad spending report

Thoughts appreciated

Random Thoughts

Banks that help educate customers stand a very good chance of building better relationships, and increasing wallet share. Today I’m left with an “apply” button on my brokerage tab for Wachovia, Citi, Chase, Wells.. the average customer doesn’t want to apply for an account until they understand how this “product” will serve them and gain insight into how BankX’s services compete.

7 June 2010

Rumor Mill

Paypal’s new virtual terminal may be just in time. Rumor is Visa is planning a slew of new product announcements in next month.. from NFC, to mobile coupons to bringing down the barriers of card acceptance. Perhaps this is the primary driver for the CYBS acquisition, there must have been a dependency given the multiple paid.

Thought for the day: What  is “banking innovation”?

How many times per day do you really want to check your bank balance? From how many different devices? Is comparing yourself to others innovation?

From my perspective a “killer” customer value proposition (in any market) is making “up market” premium services available to the masses. How would you like to be treated like a client of a private bank? Your bills are paid, your lawn is mowed and your dog is walked… You have a relationship with the banker, he is invited to your children’s wedding. He actually knows your name when you walk into the office or call him on the phone…. and he also consistently delivers superior market returns to your portfolio.

As a bank customer.. does your bank know who you are? your history with them? What your goals are? Is it any wonder that bank customers are rate driven? There is no relationship (or trust) in the average mass market portfolio of a large national bank. Why do customers select a bank today? (sorry for stale data)

Banks know that Customer Satisfaction strongly equates to profitability, and retention. Customer focused innovation starts with focusing on what your customers need… I’m surprised at the lack of effort here…. What would my top area be?  That’s easy.. financial education. Banks that help educate customers stand a very good chance of building better relationships, and increasing wallet share. Today I’m left with an “apply” button on my brokerage tab for Wachovia, Citi, Chase, Wells.. the average customer doesn’t want to apply for an account until they understand how this “product” will serve them and gain insight into how BankX’s services compete.

Who will take on financial education 301? I don’t really want banking to be “fun” (aka Virgin).. I want it to be serious and thoughtful.. US retail banking is just plain backward when it comes to innovative products (Foreign currency accounts, structured products, international equities, …). Perhaps there is a “catch 22” with our collective financial literacy.. or lack thereof.

Examples

The banks above have obviously invested time thinking about this, however my guess is that few current customers know about (or use) any of these services.

What would a private banker do for a new relationship? He would probably try to find out my risk tolerance and develop a plan to better manage cash (ex sweep account) and investments with consideration for taxes and personal plans. Why are banks outsourcing this to a CFP?  Of course the answer is that banks are product focused (as opposed to customer focused), there is great margin in that 0.25% CD that grandma buys.. also a great source of liquidity which drives Tier 1 capital and my bond rating (cost of capital).  All of this seems to point to great opportunities for small banks, particularly those that cater to affluent (Aquestabank and their 1.2% CD).

It seems that the ABA and OCC are frowning on deposit competition right now, a heavy price for consumers.. take a look at rates in the UK this week (http://www.moneysupermarket.com/savings/) . The incentives for the large banks is to act as a “late follower”… after all until balance run off occurs there is little incentive to change.. US branches (and their sales teams) continue to excel in generating margin.. with consumers poorly equipped to evaluate options.

Make no mistake, the consumer market will change..  Will banks that depend on customer illiteracy for success will have adapting? US banks are very fortunate that the average consumer is not a British replica… where  consumer “rate hopping” is at an extreme … perhaps Mint, bank rate, and money supermarket will get more traction and bring greater transparency..

Thoughts appreciated.

US Senate tinkers w/ card rules and rates

The press seems to be focusing attention on the TBD rate setting and “swipe fees”, from my perspective they bigger long term impact to banks and the networks will be elimination of restrictions associated discounts on competing forms of payment. Specifically Mastercard rule 5.9.1 and Visa

http://on.wsj.com/coPzIH

US Senate Amendment Text

14 May 2010

The press seems to be focusing attention on the TBD rate setting and “swipe fees”, from my perspective the bigger long term impact to banks and networks will be elimination of restrictions associated with discounts (and steering) on competing forms of payment.

Amendment Text

“(b) Limitation on Anti-competitive Payment Card Network Restrictions.–

“(1) NO RESTRICTIONS ON OFFERING DISCOUNTS FOR USE OF A COMPETING PAYMENT CARD NETWORK.–A payment card network shall not, directly or through any agent, processor, or licensed member of the network, by contract, requirement, condition, penalty, or otherwise, inhibit the ability of any person to provide a discount or in-kind incentive for payment through the use of a card or device of another payment card network.

“(2) NO RESTRICTIONS ON OFFERING DISCOUNTS FOR USE OF A FORM OF PAYMENT.–A payment card network shall not, directly or through any agent, processor, or licensed member of the network, by contract, requirement, condition, penalty, or otherwise, inhibit the ability of any person to provide a discount or in-kind incentive for payment by the use of cash, check, debit card, or credit card.

In June 2003, Visa and Mastercard signed the settlement agreement which provided for steering.

D. Merchants shall also have the right to encourage or steer customers from Visa and MasterCard debit transactions to other forms of payment.

This ability to steer has been somewhat ambiguous, outside of cash. For Example, the Mastercard rules show

5.9.1 Discrimination
A Merchant must not engage in any acceptance practice that discriminates against or discourages the use of a Card in favor of any other acceptance brand.

5.9.2 Charges to Cardholders
A Merchant must not directly or indirectly require any Cardholder to pay a surcharge or any part of any Merchant discount or any contemporaneous finance charge in connection with a Transaction. A Merchant may provide a discount to its customers for cash payments.

and Visa Rules

5.2.D Discounts at Point of Sale
5.2.D.1 Advertised Price
Any purchase price advertised or otherwise disclosed by the Merchant must be the price associated with the use of a Visa Card or Visa Electron Card.
5.2.D.2 Discounts
5.2.D.2.a A Merchant may offer a discount as an inducement for a Cardholder to use a means of payment that the Merchant prefers, provided that the discount is:
• Clearly disclosed as a discount from the standard price and
• Non-discriminatory as between a Cardholder who pays with a Visa Card and a cardholder who pays with a “comparable card”

Will update this blog later, but the US Senate’s amendment will have substantial impact on merchant payment strategy. I see a strong future for new cards issued by  merchants that embed strong loyalty program.. outside of the Visa/MC network (?ACH?.. PayPal…) with a substantial rewards program to drive adoption. Perhaps ACH POP will take on new life..

Card networks and issuers should get active in the merchant funded rewards space.. before the merchants own it

http://www.paymentssource.com/news/merchant-funded-rewards-spark-card-issuers-interest-2637491-1.html

Visa Ooops – PR screw up on new Device Fidelity iPhone App

Device Fidelity is one of the premier MicroSD NFC players (other is Tyfone). Trying to beat Apple to market with their embedded NFC or enabling existing phones? My bet is that this one will have AT&Ts involvement. MicroSD is a great form factor for NFC, issue is who will pay the $15-20 for it and who will certify? AT&T has the best chance to make this successful and subsidize.. in order to bear this cost, AT&T must drive either transaction revenue (create a pre-paid card) or a new advertising service.

Looks like their PR came out a little ahead of time.
Device Fidelity is one of the premier MicroSD NFC players (other is Tyfone). Trying to beat Apple to market with their embedded NFC or enabling existing phones? My bet is that this one will have AT&Ts involvement.  MicroSD is a great form factor for NFC, issue is who will pay the $15-20 for it and who will certify? AT&T has the best chance to make this successful and subsidize.. in order to bear this cost, AT&T must drive either transaction revenue (create a pre-paid card) or a new advertising service.
More to come

Visa Acquires CyberSource for $2B

Cybersource will provide Visa with an enhanced portfolio of services which could address merchant needs, particularly in risk, compliance, payment/fraud operations. However the expansion of Visa into these services poses a substantial risk to its business model as it runs the risk of alienating acquiring banks and other processors. Currently, I would view that risk as small because of the tremendous issues associated with online (eCommerce) payment system integrity and fraud.

22 April 2010

CYBS/Visa Presentation

CYBS 2009 10K

126x earnings? $3M/employee  Why? Did  Carl Pascarella (former Visa CEO added to  CyberSource Board of Directors on March 5, 2009) intend to drive this when he joined the CYBS BOD?

Part of the job of any payment network is to ensure a balance between network efficacy, profitability, risk and “value” received by each participant. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect)

CyberSource bills itself as the “The World’s First eCommerce Payment Management Company” and initially focused on enabling “bricks and mortar” retailers expansion into the online channel. CYBS has evolved to provide global turn key services to any retailer selling goods online… from payment to distribution (ex. Digital software).

CYBS 1009 10K

Our customers range in size from small sole proprietorships to some of the world’s largest corporations and institutions. Our customer base includes leading companies such as Air France, Borders Group, British Airways, Christian Dior, Eastman Kodak, Home Depot, Louis Vuitton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks, and Yahoo!, among thousands of others. To properly serve this diverse set of needs, we divide our potential market into two customer profiles, enterprise and small business merchants, which require different solutions.

Enterprise merchants have high sales volumes and generally demand the greatest range of payment options and the most sophisticated risk and management tools. These customers often sell in multiple countries and require support for local currencies and local payment options. Enterprise merchants also frequently need to integrate payment processing with one or more internal business systems. We serve enterprise customers by providing solutions that address and simplify the breadth of these requirements.

Small business merchants generally seek simplicity and ease of use. We serve small business merchants by providing bundled services and integrations into popular online shopping cart software, while bringing to the small business market some of the advantages of our enterprise-level services, including important new payment options such as electronic checks, as well as high-reliability and quality customer support.

Retailers face huge hurdles in building teams capable of navigating the complex rules and regulations associated with processing payments from PCI, Sepa, CARD, Reg E, Reg Z, … etc.  The very existence of CYBS (and competitors below) show the market for value added services as a precondition to Visa’s goal of: EXPANDING THE NETWORK.

We face competition from merchant acquirers, independent sales organizations, and payment processors such as Chase Paymentech, First Data Corporation, and Royal Bank of Scotland. We also face competition from transaction service providers such as PayPal and Retail Decisions, as well as eCommerce providers such as Accertify, Inc., Digital River and GSI Commerce Inc. Furthermore, other companies, including financial services and credit companies may enter the market and provide competing services. Another source of competition comes from businesses that develop their own internal, custom-made systems. Such businesses typically make large initial investments to develop custom-made systems and therefore, may be less likely to adopt outside services or vendor-developed online commerce transaction processing software.

Cybersource will provide Visa with an enhanced portfolio of services which could address merchant needs, particularly in risk, compliance, payment/fraud operations. However the expansion of Visa into these services poses a substantial risk to its business model as it runs the risk of alienating acquiring banks and other processors. Currently, I would view that risk as small because of the tremendous issues associated with online (eCommerce/mCommerce) payment system integrity and fraud.

This is a bold move by Visa to drive network expansion, in mCommerce and eCommerce, and expanding value added services which cover ownership of payment risk and operations. The price does seem high if we view integration without synergies (CYBS will have to run at a 45% CAGR to be accretive in a 10 yr horizon). Therefore, Visa’s business case must be driven by new services which can be offered in the short term to all merchants and acquirers (ex Fraud data sharing, digital goods distribution, …).

Can Visa grow this business more effectively under the Visa brand? Absolutely, but expect other network participants (issuers, acquirers, processors) to pressure Visa into managing CYBS as a separate entity. It is important to note that there is no love loss between most merchants and Visa. To address this, Visa should lead with a road show on how it will deliver value. Example.. it will take on fraud loss responsibility, improve marketing and take on compliance risk.

Tangentially, I believe Visa will also likely add significant $$ to merchant marketing programs. Visa is investing heavily in a new mobile marketing/advertising engine... that will sit on the Visa switch. Their existing merchant agreements do not handle this kind of “marketing” services agreement so they needed a new contract vehicle. Given CYBS’s merchant footprint, they now have vehicle which can be leveraged to expand the advertising business in a turn key model which also tracks fraud and fulfillment.

Apple’s NFC Patent

Apple’s approach to controlling its ecosystem is not perfect, but is the right thing to do early stage as both technology and consumer behavior evolve (I remember my Apple IIe). Right now my bet on “mobile wallet” is with Apple precisely because of their ability to orchestrate such an extended ecosystem. This is going to be hot…

On my other blog http://wp.me/pG4GT-4O

Citi/Mastercard beats Visa/BAC to market

Will Citi/MasterCard beat AT&T/Visa to market with a US NFC sticker rollout?… Regardless of who is first out of the gate, I think it will be a win/win for both institutions as significant marketing money is necessary to get this moving. Citi has the upper hand w/ numerous NFC pilots, established card marketing and 55M card accounts. MasterCard will likely leverage the Blaze Mobile application.

8 April 2009

Great Article

http://www.nfctimes.com/news/citi-makes-its-first-move-mobile-payment

As a friend told me this week “if you put an NFC sticker on a bicycle.. is that mobile payment?” Sure a sticker on the back of a phone is not necessarily “Mobile payment” but NFC has taken so long.. who cares? Lets just get started!

Will Citi/MasterCard beat BAC/Visa to market with a US NFC sticker rollout?… Regardless of who is first out of the gate,  I think it will be a win/win for both institutions as significant marketing money is necessary to get this moving. Citi has the upper hand w/ numerous NFC pilots, established card marketing and 55M card accounts.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aWpzGE431k]

Although Citi is first out of the gate, Visa has put together a much more impressive array of services which will work for any card and any bank, with more thoughtful “integration” (See FirstData/Device Fidelity/Monitise).

“Let the NFC games begin”.

Note to NFC times:

This US initiative did not originate in Citi’s growth ventures, but rather with US Cards (likely led by mobile guru Kurt Weiss).

Mobile Money – Navigating in the Fog

Being an ex-Gartner guy I love to analyze the spin machine. What has been the return on the “mobile investment” made by established payment players (approx $500M in US/EU over last 2 years), or the $200M /yr that VCs (MobileMonday services estimate) have pumped in?

5 April 2010

Great recap of CTIA session: http://bit.ly/bmOFQS

Being an ex-Gartner guy I love to analyze the spin machine. What has been the return on the “mobile investment” made by established payment players (approx $500M in US/EU over last 2 years), or the $200M /yr that VCs (MobileMonday services estimate) have pumped in?

As an investor or P&L owner… a look at the hard numbers of teams focused in this space over last 2-3 years would not drive you to bet aggressively on mobile payments. For example, QCOM’s 2009 10-k shows a 4 year old Firethorn unit running at $34M expense generating $3M in revenue (page F-29). This is a “successful” team that had contracts w/ Wachovia, Citi, Chase, USBank, …

Obopay and Firethorn

Citi is out of Obopay

Mobile investment exceptions revolve around delivering short term value or supporting an existing value chain. Within the US, payment data would show that PayPal and the banks are the clear leaders here. Customer listening data shows that the average US consumer today does not view mobile as a separate channel, or a  separate product, but rather as a convenience which supports existing products and relationships. As my mobile head in HK said to me “what is so urgent that I must use my mobile and can’t wait to gain access to my computer”? There are times when all of us do have that urgency, but it is difficult to build a business case on irregular, sporadic use of mobile payment services. There are certainly “niche” needs, but few result in a profitable ‘stand alone’ business case (the banks are very adept at serving the market). It is far easier for banks (or existing players like paypal) to “extend” into the niche then for a new product to enter (the nature of network effects).

Bank of America, Wells, and Chase have solid plans for supporting “mobile payment”. Rather then creating a separate organization, they have treated it as an extension of the existing customer experience (online or on the phone). As the payment head of one of the majors told me 2 months ago “what payment problem can I not address today with one of my current products”? This same “extension” approach is taken by AT&T and PayPal as well, extending existing products and services into a mobile experience.

Within the US, as Obopay/MA, Firethorn, MPAYY and other mobile specialists struggle to keep 2,000 active users (I’m not missing any zeros) existing players are meeting their customers needs and making plans to expand services for a seamless “inter bank” experience.

Similarly, outside the US,  MNOs are extending their existing value chain by adding payment services. All of this seems to prove the axiom that “payments” is a challenging “stand alone” business (perhaps a separate blog on this?).

Beyond value chain extension, there are significant investment opportunities in infrastructure. Mastercard and Visa are very pragmatic here, investing in upgrading “rails”, rules, and “riders” which will drive increasing volume. An example of which we will see from Visa next month in a mobile marketing engine integrated with card use. “Payment innovation” history shows that adoption follows infrastructure 20 years after investment. Early adopters will be the consumers with the compelling need (or the trend setters).  For most US/EU businesses, being a “late follower” has limited downside as infrastructure is built and consumer behavior adapts, there is little risk in waiting.

Within emerging markets, common payment infrastructure is required in linking all nodes of the network: Bank, MNO, Agent, Consumer, Merchant… This is a much more exciting space as consumers evolve from a model where they must travel 2 hours to reach an agent to pay a bill in cash. It would seem that investment will be driven by MNOs as they have developed an economic model which has adapted to serve these markets. MNO efforts will be driven internally and by vendors that already serve them today (example Roamware/Macalla).

Comments appreciated.

Related Post http://finventures.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/investors-guide-to-mobilemoney/

Bumping payments? Paypal Bump

What I’m most impressed with is Paypal’s ability to extend itself in niches like this. Their open APIs and ability to extend “their rails” beyond internet merchants is 5-10 years ahead of what any other payment network can do.

26 March 2010 (updated April 13)

Excellent Video overview below (30 sec commercial)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suCe4-SWsHo]

I’m reading the CTIA press and see this come out, wondering how my iPhone communicates with another iPhone. The bump application listens to the iPhone accelerometer and when it reads a bump (when running) it sends time and event to the bump cloud. The bump cloud looks for 2 events and then requests that your bump user information be shared (from bump)

When you bump, if we find a match with a phone that felt the same bump, our servers ask each phone to send up the contact information each user chose to share, but nothing more. If and only if both users then confirm that the match is indeed correct will the contact information be sent down to the other person. None of your personal data is ever stored on our servers.

Very ingenious…. What I’m most impressed with is Paypal’s ability to extend itself in niches like this. Their open APIs, ability to manage risk and extend “payment rails” beyond internet merchants is 5-10 years ahead of what any other payment network can do. Beyond the technology side, it certainly helps that  Paypal’s user penetration within the iPhone’s customer base is “rather high”.

This application also highlights the opportunity for NFC in Apple’s platform. For those that aren’t familiar with my previous posts, industry G2 indicates that Visa and AT&T are going without Apple. Obviously a good strategy for AT&T as Apple already has significant leverage in the “relationship”. Of course, NFC P2P will require an intermediary to own “risk” of card acceptance and work through (payment network related) merchant and third party payment aggregator (TPPA)  issues.

From a regulatory perspective, it is fortunate that PayPal has already gone through the “heavy lifting” in obtaining money service licenses in the 50 states (see related post).

What other vendors/payment networks could compete here? A: CashEdge and Money Bookers. In the UK I could almost envision the video clip for a money bookers “Bump Bet”. In the US CashEdge is a 3rd party service provider with 60-70% of US retail deposit accounts in their footprint (BAC, Wachovia, Citi, …). CE has  a much more efficient (low cost) ACH network and is one of the few US companies with proven operational risk management in “remote” payments. CE should look into riding PayPal’s marketing wave and leverage bump technology to allow me to do everything PayPal does,  only directly from my bank account (at no cost). On the regulatory side, Cashedge runs as a bank service provider… in essence you are dealing with your bank to “push” funds (ACH debit) when you use POPMONEY.

Great job Paypal.