Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why Payments Are Hard, Even For Apple And Google

The bottom line is that it is much harder to compete in payments using the same path PayPal took 10 years ago. Creating yet another network based on existing methods is a “me too” strategy that doesn’t provide real incentive for merchants to switch beyond the very specific uses Google and Apple provide today (and, based on the response to Apple’s 30% take rate, even that is not promised). The only one who might have a chance with this kind of approach at the payments pie is Amazon who, too, has not dealt with third parties at a major scale. This is not real disruption. What is, then? I’m betting on two trends—payroll (becoming the wallet, getting people to keep their money with you) and short term credit (built from the ground up to be a robust system). This warrants a whole different discussion. Right now, however, it seems that Google and Apple are not going down those paths or presenting an alternative; and until they do so I believe they won’t be serious players in core payments.

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