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Payments update: we are all in the transaction processing business now

The growth in the use of new technologies varies hugely, but always the key is the end user’s experience and ease of use. These three examples show how payment systems are being absorbed into the transaction processing business.

New dawn for QR codes?

It has been a slow burn for QR codes: 

  • In January 2013:
    • the US electronic payments association NACHA's Council for Electronic Billing and Payment (CEBP) issued final guidelines for the use of Quick Response (QR) - see below - codes in consumer bill payment.
    • Specifically, the QR encoding for Consumer Bill Pay Guidelines identify voluntary standards for using QR codes in both biller direct and consolidator/aggregator billing and payment models. It contains recommendations regarding QR code size, data to be included in the QR code and layout of the data represented in the QR code, among others. The goal of the guideines is to establish a single QR code format that can be printed on a paper bill and scanned by the consumer's mobile phone using a biller, mobile banking or generic QR code reader. In this way, billers and service providers can enable QR encoding in a standardized format, providing certainty for biller and banking clients and ensuring a consistent experience for consumers.
  • August 2013:
    • Severn Trent Water in the UK became the first utility to offer their non Direct Debit customers the option to pay their bills using Barclays Pingit. The app is free to use and is a simple and secure way to pay bills wherever and whenever, so long as customers have their bill, a mobile phone or tablet and a UK bank account. Customers simply scan the QR code that is on their bill via the Barclays Pingit app to make a payment.
    • This new service is part of a series of new technology launches from Severn Trent Water to make it easier for customers to deal with them. 
  • December 2015:
    • Walmart Mobile commerce solution used QR codes to take payment from their mobile wallet backed by a credit card
  • August 2017:
    • Youtap launched a QR code solution and smartphone apps for mobile money services in Africa and Asia. It enables customer-initiated or merchant-initiated QR code payments for smartphones and smart point-of-sale devices, and conforms to the BharatQR industry standard developed by Bharat, Mastercard and Visa. 

QR codes have huge potential and there are ‘true believers’ who even suggest making your own personal QR code. (See QR Code Marketing Library for how to fully exploit QR codes.)

WhatsApp to introduce peer-to-peer payments for their 1.3 bn users

WhatsApp have just announced that it is preparing to introduce payments in their messaging app, allowing users to transfer money to another with a message. This is a big deal due to the number of users, particularly when Whatsapp introduce payments to third parties. This will happen as their owner, Facebook, needs the income that a new payments platform could bring.

TransferWise ramps up the competition to the banks

TransferWise is used by one million people & businesses across 60+ countries and have been adding new services almost monthly. 

In May 2017 they added a Borderless Account Service offering:

  • Instant local bank account details in: GBP account - account no. and sort code; EUR - SWIFT/BIC and IBAN: USD - Routing (ABA) and Account Number 
  • Hold and manage money in 15+ currencies for future payments: British Pound, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Danish Krone, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Hungarian Forint, Japanese Yen, Norwegian Krone, US Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, Polish Zloty, Swedish Krona, Singapore Dollar
  • Switch between currencies & make payments at the ‘best possible’ rate.

In June 2017:

  • they added Apple Pay to the list of options for users to move money around the world.

In July 2017:

  • They enabled Canadian businesses to use the Borderless account to open accounts to pay and get paid as if they were a local business in that country, hold and manage balances in 27 currencies – saving money on unnecessary conversions.

CTMfile take: The differences between payment systems and all sorts of transaction based systems, e.g. Whatsapp, is dissolving. We’re all in the transaction processing business now.

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