Open Banking, Open Payments and Trust Networks

A blog to my bank friends. Sorry for typos.. feedback appreciated!

Thought for the day

Open systems garner greater participation, but margins are held either by orchestrator or proprietary components that offer unique performance or capabilities. Payments and Banking are trust networks, trust requires not only enforceable and auditable assessment of counterparty operations, but a shared business case for investment.  

Trust networks revolve around a shared and enforceable definition of roles, standards, counterparty identity, trust and risk. Trust network attributes and operating model drive scale and participant investment. In all cases, networks require participation of both consumer and merchant. A trust network of known participants operating within a defined set of operations and economics stands in stark contrast to the open, anonymous and distributed internet (see Transformation of Commercial Networks). 

Today we will take a look at Open Banking and Open Payments. If you are looking for the summary, here it is: 

  1. The “golden geese are safe”.  Data clearly shows network effects taking hold for Visa and Mastercard, as card issuance, acceptance and frequency of use all drive GDV growth in the mid 20s (see blog). As one top US bank CEO said of V/MA “there is no scheme we can define together that will result in improved economics… why on earth would we want to spend our time assessing one”? 
  2. Open is a terrible business model, but a fantastic technical one. Tip toe into any “open” effort as a form of intelligence gathering. Standardizing messages will enable merchants (and banks) to deliver new forms of payments within embedded processes and systems. 
  3. There can be no shared investment without a well defined and enforceable operating model
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Finicity, Plaid, Tokens and Network of Networks

Summary

  • Primary driver of finicity/Plaid deals is not open banking, but in support of the “network of networks” strategy.
  • The owner of the consumer directory, will rule payments. Tokens are the central battle field for trust networks (and payment network) consolidation as well as new services. 
  • MA lost out on the Plaid purchase, but is likely to end up far better off for it. 
  • The Visa/Plaid deal is likely to fall through as the retain consumer credentials for 5yr (claimed by class action).
  • V/MA will likely own the payment token directory 
    • Visa is leading – 1B tokens issued by Visa (acquisition of BellID/Rambus)
    • Mastercard Track  successfully leads the market in global B2B Least Cost Routing
  • V/MA have substantial hurdles in expanding the directory beyond payments
    • Few direct consumer or merchant relationships
    • Bank and Apple/Google leadership in Customer Identity/Trust
    • Trust is the core of bank risk management (and Bank margin)
    • Network effects decrease transaction costs for established services and increase value (acceptance). However they have the reverse effect on new services.
    • Value/Margin is migrating to the ends of the network and many new networks are forming. 
    • The energy to manage participation in multiple networks is dropping (with Mobile). Enabling specialized networks that cater more finely to precise needs of each node. 
    • V/MA will see substantial growth in core payment volume with continued network effects and the breakdown of Payment silos.
Continue reading “Finicity, Plaid, Tokens and Network of Networks”