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I’ve been thinking about the new providers of bank services a lot lately. The guys who are innovating using mobile. The Breeze’s of this world from StanChart, the mBank’s, the Simple’s and more. One thing that is common to all is the turnaround of thinking. All of them work with a different view of the customer. All of them believe that other banks get things wrong, and need to change.
It is a fundamentally different business model to every other bank and one that sets them apart.
What is it?
What is this elusive thing that is hard for so many others to achieve?
I know there are so many jokes about SEPA that it's hard to come up with a new one but, with the title of this blog, I had to try. Others include je ne SEPA for the French and the euro for the Greeks. But the march towards harmonisation is continuing at pace, with the SEPA deadlines for corporates about to hit in just over two months.
In order to see what's going on, friend of the Club Edith Rigler has written a timely piece about the whole challenge of the end-dates. Well worth a read:
Do you SEPA? Simply European, or perhaps American as well?
As retailers integrate more of the financial transaction
into their trade processes, the more we live in a world where payments become
The ability to walk into a coffee shop and get that
cappuccino without scrambling for the change or haling a taxi and getting from
A to B without worrying about the cash, is a world where it is consuming that
is the key, not payments.
It is the reason why Apple iTunes turns over big business
and why an Amazon can build a oneclick de facto internet purchase standard.
A world where PayPal can be plugged into any checkout process,
but a world that will soon move beyond this.
Open an industry publication these days and you will find
articles, reports and comments lamenting the "SEPA end-date" of
February 2014. In just a few months' time massive changes will take place in
the payments industry in Europe, impacting banks, corporates, clearing houses
and consumers. The Single Euro Payments Area project (SEPA for short) will have
reached its end-date. What does all this mean?
It’s getting crowded out there in the mobile payments space.
After years of inactivity, everyone’s woken up to the opportunities
out there, not the least PayPal.
PayPal did nothing in mobile through the 2000s, and I
worried they were missing a huge opportunity to grow their business. In fact, being close to the UK PayPal team,
it was a shock when they pretty much closed their mobile focus in 2008.
I was listening to a futurist talking about our planet, its
growth, its overpopulation, the challenge of feeding the planet, sustainability
and more, and in the middle of all of this he said that the future would have
There have been some extraordinary activities of late, what with Barclays throwing money transmitters off their network and gaining the wrath of Mo Farah.
HSBC has taken similar action, but went one step beyond and annoyed all the diplomatic embassies based here in London by shutting any they view as suspect accounts based upon five criteria: international connectivity, economic development, profitability, cost efficiency and liquidity.
It is only going to get worse as these actions are all attributable to the behaviours of the US authorities last year, fining Standard Chartered in a move to make headlines and throwing the book at HSBC for being in cahoots with drug lords and terrorists.
This led to me blogging a piece earlier last month that gained some significant reactions, including a dialogue with Mike Laven, CEO of Currency Cloud, that clarified some aspects of what is really going on here.
I’m on holiday in Africa to get
away from it all, but just to show that banking is a global business, there’s an
ongoing banking crisis relating to Africa.
I’ve been tracking the issue –
that Barclays is in the process of closing the accounts of
a number of Authorised Payments Institutions, in the light of recently
tightened policies around AML and KYC - for a while, and indeed wrote about remittances
So it was no great surprise to hear on the BBC Today programme that one
diasporate, the Somalis, is particularly badly hit.
We all know the story of Square, or we should by now, but times are getting interesting for them.
Not only challenged by PayPal, whose recent launch of PayPal Here brings proximity payments to the world, they are also being challenged by suppliers like NCR, who are also getting in on the act with dongles and decent merchant accounting apps under the brand of Silver.
Over here, Square has spawned a whole raft of lookalikeees including iZettle, mPowa and more, but the models are different.
I got a copy of a fascinating survey by ING yesterday on
mobile social banking. The survey asked 12,000 people in 12 countries in Europe about banking in the digital age, and here’s their summary of the main conclusions:
1. More than a third – or 37% – of consumers already use mobile banking. The Netherlands
is the most developed mobile banking spot, based upon the measure that takes
internet penetration into account. Turkey is the mobile banking hotspot, with
the largest share of internet users who use mobile banking.