Today, I read a few headlines that make me sit up and take note.
First, the news that China’s just bursting over a billion mobile users. Yes, China is a big economy with 1.3 billion citizens. A billion mobile users is big news as it means that almost all Chinese citizens now have access to wireless infrastructures, with India following fast behind (880 million mobile users and 1.17 billion citizens.
Second is the news of the 25 billionth download of an app from the Apple iTunes store and yes, it’s a Chinese chappie who’s downloaded the 25 billionth app.
Apps were launched just three and a half years ago, and now each person on the planet has an average of four apps downloaded in such a short time.
Billions of apps.
Third, the news that Zynga’s mobile user traffic grew five-fold in 2011.
In the company’s latest call, CEO Marc Pincus says that they now have “15 million daily active users in 2011. That’s up from 13 million in December. That’s an addition of 2 million users in the past month, and an addition of over 5 million users over the course of the quarter. In the third quarter, Zynga had 9.9 million daily active users for its mobile games.”
Things move fast in the new real-time world of the mobile internet.
Bringing it to payments and banking, I found my next bits of news with Square releasing another piece of their puzzle.
This one’s an important one as it’s targeted at the heartland of one of my old businesses: NCR.
NCR stands for National Cash Registers.
Today, it’s No Cash Registers, just an iPad with a Square app.
According to USA Today, Square “has helped merchants process sales for $4 billion worth of goods — double what it announced late last year. More than 1 million people are able to accept credit cards with Square. Their average purchase is $75. The original Square card reader, a small white plastic device for accepting payments, has more than 1 million users nationwide and works on Apple and Android devices.”
Then there’s the news of Barclaycard launching a crowdsourced credit card.
In a sign of the times, and a lead for the future, Barclaycard’s American division has launched the Ring MasterCard.
The Ring MasterCard is run by a virtual cardmember community, where cardmembers have visibility into the card's financial profit and loss statements as well as an online framework that gives them the ability to influence decisions about how the card is managed and serviced.
There’s a give back program, that will allow the community to share in the profit generated from its collective decisions.
Using social media, the community will also provide a forum where cardmembers can exchange ideas, share knowledge and provide direct feedback to Barclaycard US to help determine future features of the product.
According to Paul Wilmore, Managing Director-Consumer Markets, Barclaycard US:
“We want to change the way people think about credit cards and their credit card company by putting the power back in the hands of customers ... through simple and transparent terms, we want to pull back the curtain that has traditionally separated banks from their customers and give our community a say in weighing economic tradeoffs that can create a better cardmember experience.”
Things change fast in the world of mobile internet, real-time payments.
Next step: a crowdsourced bank I can download as a mobile app.
Oh, found one.