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I'm a big fan of We are Social who publish a yearly in-depth review of the onward march of the mobile social internet. The reason is that you can see how things are changing. For example, in their 2012 stats, mobile subscriptions are highly active across the world ...
I know I write about Apple Pay quite often, but was surprised to hear that one of my colleagues recently purchased an iMac in the Apple Store using his Apple Watch and Apple Pay. Yes, he’s an Apple guy, but really? A £1,000 purchase with a fingerprint? I thought, as do most, that you could only make small transactions using contactless payments. In the UK under £20 (£30 from September 1) and in the USA under $25.
I recently had one of those moments. Those moments are when you realise how the world has changed. Fundamentally. I have them every now and again, and this one occurred at the train station. As I arrived at the ticket office, a young man was looking helpless. He turned to me and said: “I’m really sorry, my phone’s battery has run out of juice and I need to call my mum for a lift. Can I borrow your phone?”
It’s an innocent enough request and I immediately reached into my pocket to hand over my smartphone. Then hesitated. My phone? You want to borrow my phone?
I talk about M-PESA and mobile financial inclusion a lot. It’s high on the agenda of many governments and charities, most notably the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who claim that the world’s poorest nations will see an uplift in their wealth faster than any other nations over the next fifteen years thanks to mobile money.
A lot of this is based upon the success of M-PESA in Kenya. Launched in 2007, M-PESA boasts significant statistics of success such as:
Reflecting on another conversation at last week’s conference, there were lots of discussions about why the mobile wallet wars were lost. No one’s won the mobile wallet war yet, not even Apple, but it is there to be won. In fact I wondered why it took a firm like Apple to take up the mantra and aim for this crown – not forgetting WeChat, Alipay and others – and realised it’s because no one has yet worked out what a mobile wallet is for.
For example, PYMNTS.com came up with some interesting stats the other day. The website did two surveys of iPhone 6 users – 400 people in November 2014 and 1,000 in March 2015 – in partnership with InfoScout. The findings are intriguing.
At last week’s Payments International conference, Dave Birch and I engaged in a fun Oxford style debate entitled: This House Believes That Banks Are Failing To Grasp The Mobile Opportunity. Unfortunately Dave got to propose the motion – we both said afterwards we could have argued either way – and, purely because a lot of bankers were in the room, he lost the motion. I opposed it and, purely for the record, thought I’d share my notes, for what they are.
So Apple Pay finally launched in the USA on October 20 and there’s been mixed reviews. Some people couldn’t make payments, whilst some found they were double-charged. However, these are just teething issues and the overwhelming reports are positive. Even former Apple CEO and Financial Services Club keynote speaker John Sculley:
I spent some time reviewing the latest news on M-PESA yesterday.
M-PESA is now seven years old, and has transformed the African landscape. Since its launch in 2007, over 18 million of the 43 million people who live in Kenya have opened an M-PESA account and access to the mobile network operator is 40 times easier than accessing a bank (there are 40 M-PESA agents for every bank branch).
I noted the disconnect between the bank community and the technology community sometime ago in my Red Pill moment, and as the year passes it becomes more and more obvious to me that we are going through a sea change in finance.
Almost every day, I encounter a new start-up who wants to change some part of the banking system.
Almost every day, I see news of a successful new business model in P2P lending, crowdfunding, front-end aggregation, PFM, mobile payments and more.
Almost every day, someone tells me how bitcoin is going to destroy the old banking system by working its way around that system.
Then I go to my banking conferences, and the people in suits – 1,000’s of Mr. Smiths here, as someone tweeted at SIBOS this year – spend all of their time talking about technicalities.
For some time, I’ve banged on about banks must redesign for a digital core. It’s no longer a world that can live in a batch overnight update, when real-time everything is here.
This has been shown again and again by outages, and all of the incumbent banks are struggling to move from old world to new. In particular, this world is illustrated by the channel debate. As I keep saying, the use of the word channel is a last century hangover, that describes ‘adding to the branch-based core’.
Channel is from the old world, where we built a bank for the physical distribution of paper in a localised network. Now, we are transforming to the digital distribution of data in a globalised world, we have to redesign that core. Channels are replaced by access points, and the totality underlying these access points is a single, consistent, real-time digital core.
That is the huge challenge for banks: how to move from old core to new core, and how to move from a physical infrastructure to one that is digitalised.
Talking of how fast things change, here are a few Friday facts to make you smile (or feel ill).
The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) run regular surveys on our digital lifestyles.
This year the impact of smartphone and tablet computing hits the radar and shows how things have changed fast.
For example, this year’s survey finds that that the average UK adult now spends more time using media or communications (8 hours 41 minutes) than they do sleeping (8 hours 21 minutes - the UK average).
I got this report from Monitise a month ago, but only just got around to writing about it. It's stats about mobile money and, if anyone knows me well, they'll know that I like stats. So here are some numbers:
1,008 million people use Facebook mobile every month
341 million people only use Facebook mobile
50 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store
$10 billion is the income Apple generated from apps in 2013
500 million tweets are sent every day
540 million people use Google+
$108 (UK) $96 (US) is how much Google makes out of every adult (15+) in 2013
Source: Facebook, Business Insider, Twitter, Google, Apple, UN
Another presentation that surprised me in Oslo came from Tor Jacobsen, CEO of TSM Nordic.
It surprised me as I had no idea about TSM, a mobile wallet provider owned by Telenor and DNB – Norway’s biggest mobile network operator (MNO) and biggest bank – and will launch in the Norwegian market later this year under the brand name ValYou.
This video provides a brief overview of how it’s being promoted:
This is my penultimate review of 2013, as we head towards the shutdown season, so here goes
2013 was the year of meditation.
Banks had the chance to think, reflect, plan and look ahead.
After five years of manic panic, hysteria, anger, fear, angst and doubt, 2013 was the first year we could actually have a breather and consider what’s gone before and what is planned ahead.
This was reflected by the feel-good buzz at SIBOS Dubai, along with the fact that we didn’t have any disastrous headlines this year.
No LIBOR (well there was an FX issue); no major money laundering or major fines of a bank (well, apart from JP Morgan), but that was for last year’s issue); no issues of poor bank management or controls (well, apart from the Crystal Methodist); and a much more stable market generally.
The reason for the breather is that we just went through what I would call the year in-between.