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I’m convinced there’s going to be a re-localisation of payments. Regional, national, local, community, hyper-local? Who knows, but the universal, the international and the general solutions will need to deliver genuine added-value to compete with newcomers that focus.

In my “Mystic Dave” predictions for 2015 I talked again about the trend away from global solutions and to what I rather clumsily called the “re-localisation” of payment schemes. Looking at the trends in payment technology, I felt that it was becoming easier and easier for players to design and develop their own payment systems, not in competition with the global players but to solve “local” problems. (I use the quotes here to indicate that I do not necessarily mean local in the geographic sense).

I think the trend toward multiple three-party systems instead of a small number of four-party systems means that we may see a return to payment systems that are owned and operated by retailers, brands and perhaps even local communities.

[From Live Five for Fifteen]

I noticed an interesting example of this when I happened to be reading through some comments on a piece about Apple Pay and mobile payments. This provides a useful case study to illustrate my point.

Cumberland Farms, a 600 store gasoline/convenience chain implemented a mobile pay at the pump app back in early 2013. We have sold a staggering 160 million gallons of gasoline to our customers since launch. To do this, we blew up the traditional payment model and implemented low cost, highly secure ACH for payment and pass the savings to our customers via price roll back at the pump.

[From Disqus – Why Apple Pay Is Fizzling and What It Means for the Future of Mobile Payments – PYMNTS.com]

We are going to see more and more of this over the coming year as retailers and other service providers take hold of the new payment technologies to build systems that are geared to their specific requirements, their specific offering and their specific customers. This, in turn, means that since they will no longer need the existing players, the existing players have to find a way to make them want to use them.

This means some serious strategic decisions for banks. To create a vastly simplified dichotomy for the purposes of discussion, let me focus on one of those decisions. Do you stick with universal scheme solutions, or do you develop something for your local market and it make it easy for the merchants to choose it? Do you stick with the existing architecture or do you create a new (push-centred) architecture? Do you provide a product for consumers or a platform for stakeholders? And so on.

Poland is an interesting market to those of us interested in payments and right now the banks there are opting to create a new product for the local markets built on a new architecture that is founded on mobile.

Blik uses an open standard developed by Polish Payment Standard (PSP), a company formed by Alior Bank, Bank Millennium, Bank Zachodni WBK, ING, mBank and PKO Bank Polski, and is based on technology originally developed by PKO for its Iko mobile payments service.

[From Polish banks join up for launch of Blik mobile payments service – BayPay Members Blogs]

I commented on the PKO service before (and I used it as an example a couple of years ago to help some of our customers explore the landscape) and I wrote at the time that “this is big”. I also wrote an honest reflection reflection from the industry perspective, musing…

I can’t help but wonder, therefore, what Visa and MasterCard think about the Poland’s leading retail bank launching a new national, non-card, direct-to-account retail payment scheme.

[From It was a 3-party party in Barcelona]

Mobile phones, digital identity, immediate settlement, regulation and so on are all making it easier for the regional, national, local, community and hyper-local alternatives to compete with the international players. Personally, I’m very curious about the more local possibilities at the moment. As the entry barriers fall, so it becomes easier to create new payment systems, new money, new kinds of money, we might be on the verge of some experimentation that takes us into new areas.


If a Bristol app, then why not Bristol Digital Money, or a Bristol E-Pound, or whatever. It might be a pain in the arse to try and get merchants in Bristol to add cash drawers for Bristol Pounds or upgrade their terminals to accept Bristol Cards and Bristol E-Pounds, but getting them to update their apps so that Bristol E-Pounds are a payment option might not be such a big deal. More on this soon.

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