Real Time Payments in US – Strategic Shifts

Short Blog. I’ll expand on this next month. 

As I’ve written about since September, and seen in yesterday’s press (WSJ), top US issuers are have created a new consortium with a first phase product centered on a white labeled SRC wallet. For investors, 100% of payment types in this wallet will be existing cards (no new retail payment network). Their partners are the key eCom gateways (Stripe, Square, Shopify, …etc). 

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Banks Launch “Wallet” (again)

Short Blog

Per the WSJ Article this AM, US banks have launched a new wallet (again). For frequent readers of my blog, very little new news. Also, I’m just wrapping up a 15-page part 4 “Innovation in Networks” that will be out very soon. 

Quick Summary

  • TCH Banks have been contemplating a mobile wallet and a new network for 13 yrs (I have over 20 blogs on topic, see overview here). 
  • Today we gain clarity that Banks gave up on their latest Authentify Wallet launch and jumped on board a “white label” SRC wallet led by Visa (See 23Jan2023 WSJ). I outlined this in my SRC blog (Sept 2022) and TCH RTP Update.  
  • Inital pitch for this wallet was not well received by big retailers at Money 2020. It entailed a liability shift if wallet was offered and all COF were tokenized (see blog)
  • The wallet is not owned by EWS, but a new payment network led by James Anderson. The ownership of this new network is the same at EWS (see blog ). Lets call this wallet EWS SRC to shorten the name. 
  • Competitor is Apple.. the banks want to own the mobile payment experience. Google is working with the TCH banks and is also working with FedNow (long blog coming on this one). It is likely that Apple is not involved in any of these activities, yet Google is working to pilot both FedNow and TCH RTP to leverage their India UPI success.
  • Now that the largest TCH banks have jumped on board SRC, the TCH RTP effort focus has shifted to commercial flows and bill payment.
  • i provided a detailed strategic discussion on the reasoning behind this move in Part 2 – The Power of Bank Networks.

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Merchants Tokenize – eCom Wallet Challenges

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. 

I’m at M2020 today and it has been a “back to normal” fantastic event. Let me put my “merchant hat” on for a story from their perspective.

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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

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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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

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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Google – Real Time P2P – Rumor

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?

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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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