US Payments Environment – Something Big – 5 Part Series

Part 1 – Assessing the Environment and Setting the Focus  (part 2  – Power of Bank Networks)

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Must read FT article “How JPMC’s plan to kill credit cards split the bank”. The article discusses Jamie Dimon’s internal mandate to drive a new payment network. I was shocked with the level of internal org quotes here.  In my view, Jamie is the best bank CEOs in history (based on performance and talent coming out of JPMC). As a former banker, I know how hard it is to move the ship.  However, FT is wrong. Chase’s efforts ARE NOT about killing credit cards, but rather creating something much bigger.

This is a long blog..

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TCH Phase 1 – eCom Wallet

Phase 1 of TCH’s token efforts will be in SRC model. A bank branded “wallet” acting in the DCF role for TCH PIs . Go to market is through 4 eCom processing partners: PayPal, Stripe, Shopify and Square.  

Short blog – 80% confidence

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Phase 1 of TCH’s token efforts will be in SRC model. A bank branded “wallet” acting in the DCF role for TCH PIs . Just as VAC has enabled the elimination of physical hardware for acceptance, issuers see a plastic-less future for cards. They want to own the issuance of cards and want much more than a token, they want the entire “wallet”.

Go to market is either as:

  1. TCH as SRC System, or
  2. Visa as the SRC System for all TCH banks (V and MA) with TCH is a “unique role” managing all consumer data, registration, payment tokenization, …
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Apple – #1 Payment Innovator

As Apple is set to launch the iPhone 14 today, I was thinking about the significance of Apple Pay’s innovations are to V/MA and how they benefit merchants and consumers… and overall network effects

As Apple is set to launch the iPhone 14 today, I was thinking about the significance of ApplePay’s innovations to V/MA and how these innovations benefit the entire network of merchants and consumers. Making payments easy is hard… Apple is the lead “innovator” within the V/MA networks at the consumer touchpoint (with Google, Samsung, PayPal and others in the mix). Their “wallet” and branded integration into both POS AND mCom is unrivaled and represents 93% of all mobile wallet payments in the US (2021).

This 2021 Pulse Network Debit Whitepaper provides the best public view on performance (US Only), with TPV CAGR over 50%. Quite frankly, when it comes to mobile payments, it’s silly to talk about anything else by ApplePay in the US

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Near Term Impacts of Distributed Ledger Technology to Financial Services – Chain of Trust

While public blockchains provide disruptive improvements to transparency and speed, the operation of modern finance depends on a network of trusted participants. This trust network operates beyond a given transaction, as each participant has a stake in efficient market operation they perform many formal and informal roles in compliance and continuously assess the ability of counterparties to assume risk

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Continuation of last week’s blog on “binding” and minting of tokens

I’m currently immersed in DeFi, DAOs, Blockchain, …etc. Selected readings are at the end of this blog. Keeping Current in DeFi/DLT is almost impossible. I certainly invite comments and corrections to anything I’ve written below. While I have teams building services in this area, my perspective is biased. My purpose in writing is to stimulate discussion so don’t be shy in the comments, I welcome disagreement and discussion. 

Topic today: What impacts will the $50B invested in FinTech/DLT/Crypto have on existing financial services in next 5-10 yrs? What is the summary CEO/Investor View?

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Pay By Bank – Where does it work and why?

Pay by Bank (aka Push Payments) are tremendous efforts driven by local market bank groups. Their core success is in cash replacement (ex P2P) and where there is high consumer-merchant trust (ie bill pay/recurring payments). Data clearly show that Push Payments are NOT a threat to V/MA but part of a rising electronic payment “tide” that lifts all boats. 

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Friday I was a tad “let down” in the Sionic/TCH/MX release of Pay-by-Bank. Per my blog on Google/TCH launch and Google P2P I was anticipating something much bigger. To be clear I firmly believe that TCH is working on an “ApplePay Competitor”, which will entail TCH tokens inside of Google’s phone, but this will be 3-6 months out.  Per the blogs above, I see neither pay-by-bank nor TCH Tokens in Google Pay as a threat to V/MA. 

Today I thought I would drill down into “pay by bank”, the dynamics of why it works in some markets, and why I see little threat to V/MA in replacing core cards in eCom or at POS.

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Bank Opportunity – Binding

Given the importance of proprietary networks to bank profitability, I see banks operating as the obvious authority in binding digital identity (of assets, accounts, businesses, …etc) to the physical records of ownership. Banks largely do this today, but few externalize or standardize the services/records.

Big picture thoughts on a key service where banks will lead in the future

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Existing businesses spend significant energy on remaking things that work. Moore’s law has justified this investment in chipmaking, as has Tesla’s investments in batteries and manufacturing processes. These area of focus are where products performance is critical to the customer and incremental capability provides differentiation. But what about banking and payments?  What provides differentiation? Which investments are driving performance critical to the customer? or operational efficiencies? (see Changing Economics of Payments

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Google/TCH Launch – Banks Hire New Network CEO

Something is launching next week (rumor 8/23) with Google, TCH and at least 4 banks. The banks have just hired a new CEO to run it with a “network background”.

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September 7 BEFORE YOU READ. This blog is dated. 3 key updates

  1. The launch was a very small TCH RTP effort. Forbes Article on Launch of Pay by Bank using TCH. Google’s role seems to be limited to hosting servers in the Google Cloud. This was NOT the big announcement I thought was coming. It looks like the TCH tokens in Google Wallet will be a few more months away.
  2. TCH’s primary focus this year is an eCom wallet focused on the Secure Remote Commerce Model (see blog)
  3. Neither Apple nor Google are involved in any of these activities, yet Google is working to pilot both FedNow and TCH RTP to leverage their India UPI success.

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Something is launching next week (rumor 8/23 pilot) with Google, TCH and at least 4 banks. The banks have just hired a new CEO to run it with a “network background”. This is likely a new consortium, and we will see changes in where the assets of TCH, Akoya and Early Warning line up. This CEO will be tasked with creating a new network to “compete with ApplePay” as the premier mobile payment platform.

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Durbin 2 – Short Update

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What are the new Durbin’s legislative prospects? A: Not at all likely (<10% probability)

Top retailers spent this week meeting with Bank CEOs trying to convince them to support the new Durbin legislation. Their pitch was to enable bi-lateral deals, “new products” and avoid network rules (see blog). Banks did not seem to bite, as they remembered the lessons of Durbin 1:

  • Only largest merchants benefited from dual routing
  • Consumers lost in debit rewards (ie keep the change), increased bank account fees, and no merchant pass-through of savings
  • Acquirers/processors did not pass through fee reductions to most merchants
  • Networks recovered lost revenue through merchant fees
  • Large banks lost competitive advantage as smaller “exempt” banks under $10B operated under different rules
  • See WSJ article

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TCH Tokens in eCom SRC Model

TCH tokens will be in Apple/Google in next 6 months with Request for Payment as the primary scheme

Part 1 – Current US Routing Rules

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UPDATE – Nov 29 2022 – Note that I have conflated the relationship between SRC and 3DS 2.0. 3DS 2.0 is the authentication protocol used by SRC. 3DS 2.0 has been widely adopted as a mandatory replacement to 3DS 1.0. Part of the driver for adoption was the EU SCA mandate. SRC has NOT been widely adopted as it is a fairly broken consumer experience at the moment. 

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