[Dave Birch] I was at Ian Harris’ Gresham College lecture on commercial ethics, and whether teleological approaches can be reconciled with deonological processes in a procurement process, when I saw him use a word that had never occurred to me before in a payments context but I desperately needed. Ian was talking about the scale of decisions and used the simple categorisation of micro, meso, macro. Aha! Now it all makes sense. A payment of less than $1 is a micropayment, a payment of less than $10 is a mesopayment and a payment of over $10 is a macropayment and a payment of over $10,000 is a megapayment. Does my new classification scheme work?

Could someone offer a full service across all of these types of payment on the web? It has proved difficult so far: the telcos have done OK with micropayments (but a variety of bank and non-bank schemes have failed to get traction), PayPal has done well in mesopayments and credit cards are still used for macropayments. I’d happily use mine for megapayments as well but when you buy a car or something the merchant doesn’t want to hand over a couple of percent to middlemen, so they prefer a bank transfer. With FPS up and running in the UK, you’d expect to see it take megapayment share, although there must be some concerns about consumer protection (once the money’s gone, it’s gone). There’s consolidation across other boundaries already.

That simple equation spells trouble for Banks. How long will banks’ watch the likes of PayPal (with Bill Me Later) and Grameen (bankabillion with Obopay) taking away fundamental parts of banking.

[From PayPal + Bill Me Later = disruption for banks’ « The Bankwatch]

Let’s put the two together. The combination of pushed e-billing with FPS to settle looks rather appealing. Instead of sending the school $700 to pay for my son’s trip to Germany, they push me a bill for $700 that I pay via FPS from my web banking. Everyone’s happy: I don’t have to go find my cheque book, my son doesn’t forget to hand in the cheque so the school calls me to ask for it two days before the trip and I don’t have to give my bank account details and signature out to no-on in particular.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]<

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