While Square is mostly in the media spotlight, Verifone and other competitors (to find) are quickly filling this new place. Their business models is slightly different (merchant account or not) but the basis is the same. It will soon be much easy to accept card payment anywhere with any whom. A great news for small business and split restaurant bills 😉
RFID tag, dedicated cards, mobile apps: several solutions are currently being pushed to transform your mobile into a payment device. The goal is the same: allow you to make transactions and sometimes receive them anywhere for a lower cost that a regular card.
Micropayment is somewhat of a passé business model for content on the internet (no it’s not going to save the New York Times 😉 ) so it’s particularly interesting to see a new twist on an old concept.
With Flattr you pay a monthly flat rate that will be redistributed on the content creator you liked during your monthly use. What’s interesting is that for a creator, he can either receive smaller payments if he is part of a large number of creator you like or larger if he is part of a smaller. Intuitively, I think it will provide an interesting field for both niche players and popular people.
Techcrunch is reporting that Klublax, A Mint like Personal Finance website in the UK has gone into administration. Here is the official mail:
Dear Kublax Customer
It is with great regret that we announce the closure of our service as we have been forced to take the business into administration. Over the course of the last 6 months we have been trying hard to raise funding which would have allowed us to launch our enhanced new product and develop our offering further. Unfortunately we now have to admit defeat.
We are sorry that we have not been able to repay your trust in Kublax and particularly disappointed not to be able to launch the new enhanced version of the service which was being shaped to a very large extent by your Feedback on the current service.
Kublax’s partner, Yodlee, will be deleting all user data, including online banking details from its servers. Once deleted no further information will be gathered and stored for Kublax customers. Your transactional data will also be completely erased from our servers by close of business on Friday 19th February. We will not pass your data on to any third parties.
If you wish to contact Sridhar or I you can reach us at the following email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks again for your support and we hope that Kublax was able to help you make slightly better sense of your finances over the last year or so.
Tom and Sridhar
Sean Park at Park Paradigm is providing some insights (as an early stage investor) on what may have been the cause of this demise. As for any startups product & execution is key and Klublax may have failed on convincing investors of their capacity on that part, as implied by Fred Destin in a tweet:
Banks have seen a decrease of their customers’ engagement. The role of bank branches has diminished with the introduction of intelligent ATMs and Internet portals. And while they have increased their positioning in terms of mobile and internet banking, cross selling may become more difficult in this new environment.
With the increasing use of services such as Mint.com, banks will also see a decrease in interactions between their customers and their Internet and mobile platforms. Why use several Web sites when you can see all of your assets on a single graph and track down in details all your banking fees? When it even warns you of credit card payments to be made? For example, Mint.com tells you every time your bank takes fees on your account. Where they once were lost in statements in the past, they are now clearly brought to your attention.
Additionally, banks will face tougher competition through the comparison engines offered by these new platforms. Why consider an offer by your main bank when the “Ways to Save” page on Mint shows you offers from 10 banks (and calculates the costs and saving involved)? Customers might lose their connection with their banks and switch between products more easily because they will be empowered to compare them based on their needs. On one side, it could reduce the costs for of customer care for banks, as they would need to invest less money per customers on their Web sites, call centers and branches. For some population of users, clear gain will be made. But banks will also face tougher competition on pricing and find cross selling much more difficult to perform. Client loyalty will also be negatively affected.
Banks should look at all what’s happening to mainstream media to see their future
Information is now a product of mass consumption
Whether it is considered a good thing or not, it is a fact that the media industry is undergoing one of the most important transformation since its creation. New technologies and their associated behavioral changes have completely changed the way media and information are consumed. One of the key changes is that content has been freed from its media support. Through RSS, Twitter or blogs, an article can now be found and read outside of the newspaper format, as well as its affiliated Web format. New actors have found niches, either by aggregating the maximum number of news information (roughly the model followed by Web sites such as the Huffington Post), “curating” it (roughly the model followed by Web sites such as The Daily Beast) or letting users define their own sources (Google Reader for example). Users have found a new way to consume and compare information. Continue reading Impact of free data on bank’s model (Part 1)→