MWC is going full speed in Barcelona and each day has its new payment solution, mobile wallet, magic integrator. I was particularly interested in hearing more from Isis, the Super PAC of US mobile networks (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless).
ISIS wallet solution starts with a list of cards, based on the real world wallet paradigm. This is based on a constraint of the real world. All your cards have to physically be present in your wallet and you choose them based on the provider (hence the leather wallet cards organization). This requires a particular thinking on the user side, reviewing cash level and benefit of each card vs the payment to be made.
Note: the feed is interesting, I could not find much details. It seems like people will be able to follow businesses for offers and information.
Google Wallet follows a rather similar scheme, with cards put upfront, and a swipeable Wallet. The history is the equivalent of the receipts mess in the wallet, though in a much organised way.
For me, this shows either in the best case a conservative fear of changing things for customers or in the worst case a difficulty to understand how much the mobile platform offers. Because the wallet looked like this for centuries does not mean it is supposed to look like this on a mobile.
It may be cliché but worth repeating:
A modern cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon.
I would add that: not only that but it has an incredible array of captors: camera, GPS,etc.. and access to information and computing power via internet connectivity.
Lets use Square Card Case as an example:
From the outside it looks just the same: Wallet (with skeuomorphism – thanks @aden_76 for the word), Slots, Card. Except they are not Credit Card, they are Store Cards…. As I have said before Card Case is built around the Buying Experience, not the Payment Experience so it makes sense they highlight merchants and products.
“But wait, there are tons of merchants, how would they fit on my phone screen?” Why would they need to all be on your screen? The merchants’ cards can dynamically adjust based on location, time during the day (restaurants put forward during lunch time), past buying experience. Sponsored merchants could be given a preferred space in the wallet.
This is one possibility, but there are others. As Brett King pointed out in Mobile Banking vs. The Mobile Wallet
Whether it is simply the fact that I can see my balance before and after I make a payment (not possible with plastic, cheques or cash) or whether you can start to advise me day-to-day on how to utilize my money better – the opportunity for mobile is not the wallet, and not mobile banking. It is re-imagining the utility of banking from a mobile perspective.
The technology offer us the opportunity to help people in doing what they currently almost without thinking try to do (badly). What is my balance, what are the advantages of each card, what should I pay with? Not only a big part of this logic is better computed by a machine than by a person, but a well designed UI can inform and help in this decision.
Instead of showing cards the mobile wallet could show payment options cost and opportunities.
I am hopeful we will see more and more of the latter, designed by people who have no preconception on how it should look like.
I had the luck to be invited again to Finovate 2012 as a blogger, the leading conference for financial services startups and innovation. The mix of participants is always interesting, from startups claiming banks are dinosaurs on stage to core system providers demonstrating tablet interface using Arial 10 fonts and stylus on an HP table (not kidding). You see my bias.
But one of the most interesting piece of news I got was in a conversation with Kabbage. I have written before on Kabbage and its use of outside source of information for underwriting purpose. With Ebay / Amazon / Etsy score and information, it was conceptually easy to understand how this data could be a direct link into the financial performance // risk of loan.
But it takes things to a next level when Kabbage announced me that they will partner with UPS to access delivery data to better underwrite their loan. This has been publicly released since then:
Banks, payment networks,… potentially sit on top of valuable data, in the aggregated data exhausts of their clients (payments, allocations, assets etc..). But banks, financial services startups also need to consider there are other sets of data out there, generated by their users diretly or indirectly that can be leverage to disrupt their activities. These data exhausts may contain useful signal for underwriting, marketing, intelligent banking, etc..
These source of datas may be as close as trying to leverage prepaid card data spending patterns to see if they could add information to someone’s credit score or as far (for now) as understanding what role reputation and social media activities could play (with services like Peerindex or Klout / Anthemis is an investor in Peerindex). Business reputation could also be leveraged, with reputation score on platforms like Yelp being used to verify the quality of a business to allow him to accept various payment methods.
But, as seen with Kabbage, we may have to expend our view further. The best way to do it would be to start from the customers’ multiple data exhausts, with no preconceived view on how useful they may be. If someone’s ability to manage a farm on Farmville is a possible indicator of their capacity to manage their money, why not use it?
More startups working on integrating other data exhausts in financial services:
Lenddo: Lending integrating social scoring:
What is Lenddo?
Lenddo is a scoring engine that analyzes your online social footprint (sometimes called a social graph) and provides a score that can be used to access financial services such as personal loans.
Movenbank: Mobile Only Banking integrating a credibility score
What is CRED™?
CRED™ is a measure of your credibility as a friend, colleague and customer, and it is a vital part of our reboot of banking. It will equalize the playing field between your value to Movenbank and our value to you and will help you understand the context of your day-to-day financial decisions as you make them.
CRED is what will really change banking for people moving forward. Gone will be the days of mysterious credit scores, rejections by the ‘credit department’ and all those hoops that banks and credit companies make you jump through to prove yourself before they’ll let you be their customer.
CRED puts you in the driver seat and gives you control over your financial future in a way that has never before been possible.