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 . 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, …
Continue reading “TCH Phase 1 – eCom Wallet”

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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IMPORTANT – Update September 7 BEFORE YOU READ. This blog is dated. 3 key updates:

Why should you read this? The top ~25 banks have been working on this for over 10 yrs and now Google and Apple are involved.

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Google – Real Time P2P – Rumor

Free Blog – Google will announce real-time payments in Google Wallet pilot with JPMC and at least 2 other banks this month

Summary

UPDATE – I no longer beleive P2P is focus, but rather Request for Payment and merchant integration. Blog forthcoming today.

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I have no idea what this looks like, so congrats to Google for keeping this locked down. The following is my best “guess” on a pilot, based upon:

  1. What Google has launched internationally (Tez) and GPay through India’s UPI (highly recommended read here)
  2. Changes/Focus Bill Ready put in place before his departure as new CEO of Pinterest. Remember Bill was CEO of Braintree (the most significant acquisition PayPal ever made).  Braintree enabled payment APIs for online and mobile merchants (among other things). 
  3. Prior to Bill, Google’s support and advice for FedNow  (see article)
  4. Understanding of what Banks want to accomplish (ex TCH tokens in mobile phones). 
  5. My short time in Google during the creation and launch of Google Wallet. Particularly the exec team’s desire for a global P2P service.
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Durbin 2 – Impact on “Wrapping” Rules?

A highly technical “what if” scenario involving a long-sought after change by top US card issuers. What if Durbin credit routing bill were designed to eliminate network wrapping rules?

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A highly technical “what if” scenario involving a long-sought after change by top US card issuers. I’m fortunate to have the exec teams of just about every payment network, processor and FinTech read this blog. I have 3 main drivers for writing today:

  1. Start a community discussion
  2. Assess the potential for a much more strategic driver behind the proposed Durbin bill
  3. Most “change” in US payments is driven by 7-10 players: networks, top issuers, Google, Apple, … etc. These changes have an enormous impact on the FinTechs building around them. I’m hoping to help these small companies plan around these changes as the only advantage of a start is speed.

Note I DO NOT think this scenario is likely, but rather possible (30% probability). Historical context is key and the only reason I’m spending time on this today is that 27 bank CEOs have been discussing this for over 10 yrs.

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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.

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Another Bank Consortium? Paydiant

Banks have not put all of their eggs in the TCH basket. There is another Bank Consortium around payments which I have not discussed: Paydiant has been working with 27 odd banks around a “Push Payments” pilot for last 2 yrs.

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