Monday, 29 February 2016

The Future of Money is Liquid Robots

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[Money] may become as David Birch has suggested synonymous with identity itself. The value of such personalized forms of currency- which is really just a measure of individual power- will be in a state of constant flux.

From The Future of Money is Liquid Robots

This does not seem an unreasonable prediction.

With everyone liked to some form of artificial intelligence prices will be in a constant state of permanent and rarely seen negotiation between bots.

From The Future of Money is Liquid Robots

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Mobile App Reviews: Venmo Kills Off API for New Developers

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[Venmo] noted that it just doesn’t have the resources to support the API anymore, as it’s too busy working on its new peer-to-peer platform and its in-app payment service

From Mobile App Reviews: Venmo Kills Off API for New Developers

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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Some Crypto Quibbles with Threadneedle Street | cryptonomics

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The market for media of exchange will gravitate towards those systems with the lowest transaction costs, and in the case of proof-of-work digital currencies, that means those protocols that forever subsidise hashing costs with the coin’s seigniorage

From Some Crypto Quibbles with Threadneedle Street | cryptonomics

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Some Crypto Quibbles with Threadneedle Street | cryptonomics

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A network made up of a few large mining nodes is basically a centralised system with none of the benefits centralisation might bring.

From Some Crypto Quibbles with Threadneedle Street | cryptonomics

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Saturday, 27 February 2016

PSD2, why the confusion? Oh, that’s why! | Killian Clifford | LinkedIn

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This job has been largely been left to the European Banking Authority (EBA) who have been mandated to define the necessary guidelines and regulatory technical standards (aka RTS – although they won’t be defining anything ‘technical’ as technologists might understand that term) which are subject to their own timelines.

From PSD2, why the confusion? Oh, that’s why! | Killian Clifford | LinkedIn

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How 'black money' saved the Indian economy - BBC News

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Let's say you like the look of a house that is for sale. You judge it is worth - for argument’s sake - 100 rupees. The chances are the seller will tell you he will only take, say, 50 rupees as a formal payment and demand the rest in cash… It means the seller can avoid a hefty capital gains tax bill. Buyers benefit too because the lower the declared value of the property, the lower the property tax they will be obliged to pay.

From How 'black money' saved the Indian economy - BBC News

This means that Indians tend to have much smaller mortgages compared to the real value of their properties than elsewhere in the world and hence the system is more resilient against shocks to the system. Of course, the system concentrates wealth with rich people who can afford to pay cash, but the point made in the article holds.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Standard approach

OK, so fair enough, I was a little disappointed. The Open Banking Working Group published its Open Banking Standard.

The Open Banking Working Group, which undertook a review last year at the request of the Treasury, is calling for information on banks’ products and customers to be more easily accessed by digital services, including comparison sites.

From Banks urged to share data so customers can shop around - FT.com

Right underneath the heading "Open Banking Standard", the document says that its goal "in publishing this Framework today is to enable the accelerated building of an Open Banking Standard in the UK". Wait, what? We went from a “standard” to “a framework to accelerate the building of a standard"? This is why I was disappointed, to say the least. I thought the document might set out some actual APIs so that that both banks, fintechs, regulators and entrepreneurs could plan new products and services but the truth is  it reflects the political realities of the pending complex “settlement” between banks, the regulators and others. It’s a holding document.

Here’s what I mean. Many people thought the document was going to say something along these lines…

The EBA DCSI three-part framework for PSD2 XS2A looks good so we’ll use that. The EBA can set the mandatory payment APIs. We will define a minimum set of non-mandatory payment APIs specific to the UK (to use, for example, PayM). We will also define a minimum set of non-mandatory non-payment APIs (i.e., the Treasury standards for Open Banking) specific to the UK but in consultation with relevant European bodies.

Now, I am particularly interested in the non-mandatory non-payment APIs, including those for Open Banking, because that’s where I think that the banks have an opportunity to become an essential platform. I was expecting to see a list of proposed APIs along the lines of…

DCSI_NMNP_UK_Adult ( Service Provider, Customer ) returns { YES, NO, INVALID_PROVIDER, INVALID_ACCOUNTHOLDER }

I'm not that interested in open data (e.g., ATM locations). What I'm interested in is customer transaction data, especially as it supports the more transactional APIs envisaged under PSD2. It would be crazy for banks to have to implement multiple infrastructures, so it's logical to create an infrastructure for access to customer transaction data that can also be used for transactions. To use an obvious example, working out how to get the Service_Provider token and the Customer token is actually pretty complicated. If we can figure out how to do it (evolving the security standards as we go, in line with SCA) so that customers can access their own transaction data to start with (and, of course, to grant that permission to third-parties) then we can have an enabling platform in place for PSD2 that ought to turbocharge the fintech sector, as well as the banks (as I wrote earlier this week, banks will be users of these APIs as well as providers of them).

Anyway, let’s move on, since the Standard did contain any APIs or even a framework for APIs, we can’t use it to start planning services right now. Let’s instead focus on the positives and look at what the document did. What it did set out was a four part framework, comprising

  1. A data model (so that everyone knows what "account", "amount", "account holder" etc means);
  2. An API standard.
  3. A security standard.
  4. A governance model.

None of these currently exist, so they need to be created. If we focus on the APIs, the document does note that thanks to the requirements of the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), many of the APIs will need to be built anyway. Hence co-ordinating the APIs in this way will actually save the industry time and money and obviously we all agree with this. But it looks as if we’re going to have to wait before we start prototyping and testing any actual apps for this stuff.

Of particular interest to me (and to many of our clients, I imagine) is the relationship between token provision and strong customer authentication (SCA). What are the flows going to be? So the document didn't really get interesting for me until page 48, where Figure 7c.1 sets out the authorisation flow: third-party requests access to data, customers authenticates with bank (under provisions of SCA, presumably), customer is returned to third-party provider. Sounds easy, doesn't it? It isn't. As the Standard explains, there a significant risks around this. I can paraphrase them easily as:

  1. Grandma sees a page from Age Concern asking for access to her bank account;
  2. Grandma grants access to Eastern European fraudsters or, worse still, investment bankers;
  3. Eastern European fraudsters or investment bankers loot Grandma's account.

How does Grandma or, for that matter, anyone else know that who they are granting access to and what they are granting access for actually corresponds to what is on their computer screen? Well, as Figure 7c.3 indicates, they can't. Hence requests for access can only come from organisations that have been registered previously with someone, in some way. I guess they are thinking about registering with an Open Banking Authority or something like? I might also point out that where the document talks about Grandma giving “informed consent” I automatically shiver. Having been involved in a couple of previous projects for the European Commission to try to explore what “informed consent” actually means and how the general public might be supported in giving it, I can tell you that it is a minefield (I can imagine the lawsuits might make Payment Protection mis-selling look like a walk in the park.)

I agree very strongly with the document about contextual limitations. The tokens granted to third-parties should be circumscribed. They should be for a fixed time, for a fixed purpose, for a fixed provider. So if I give Saga permission to look at my bank account, that permission should be for (say) 7 days maximum, read-only and only for transaction data.

There is some technical detail in the Standard. It says that APIs should use JSON/REST, for example.

However, there are a number of leading API platform providers and no universally accepted RESTful API design methodology, which will lead to a scramble by the proponents of RAML, SWAGGER and Apiary.io to be the provider (and language) of choice for creation of common open APIs and developer sandbox.

From Celent Banking Blog » The UK open banking API framework – more questions than answers?

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The data accessed via an open API may be closed, shared or open data.

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Permission to access data will only be granted on the basis of informed customer consent,

The document calls for the launch of, in a year's time, of a

tightly scoped Open Banking API, enabling select, read-access, open data use cases

Now, let me stress that I was not party to any of the discussions, and I am not breaking any confidences by saying this, but I imagine the discussions about what data the banks consider "proprietary" and what data the banks consider "open" must have been rather convoluted.

Visa initiative fuels API-fication of payments

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The API-fication of payments will continue to gather momentum, and has the potential to lead to a significant increase in new payment services and functionalities

From Visa initiative fuels API-fication of payments

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Bram Cohen's answer to Bram Cohen: What is the state of Bitcoin in 2016? - Quora

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Bitcoin is more expensive and inconvenient than regular banking is, and far more expensive and inconvenient than regular banking could be if it starts supporting smart transactions on public ledgers without bothering with the baggage of mining.

From Bram Cohen's answer to Bram Cohen: What is the state of Bitcoin in 2016? - Quora

The robust (and accurate) remark from Bram Cohen (the chap who invented BitTorrent).

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Airbnb renter fooled neighbor, refused to leave - Business Insider

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Another neighbor and co-owner of the building, Sandeep Hingorani, lives in the top-floor studio — and for the past 10 months he has also rented Huang's unit, despite her not wanting him to live there.

The problems started when an Airbnb user, "Jim Tako," asked to rent Huang's apartment.

From Airbnb renter fooled neighbor, refused to leave - Business Insider

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UK's porn age checks set 'dangerous' precedent (Wired UK)

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A consultation from the Department for Culture Media and Sport said "commercial providers" of porn should have verification controls to stop under 18s viewing the content. Companies that don't comply may face fines from a new porn regulator, or have their websites shut down.

From UK's porn age checks set 'dangerous' precedent (Wired UK)

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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Onfido: Figuring out who perfect strangers are

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Whether that’s listing a spare room on Airbnb, driving for a few hours a week on Uber, completing a few DIY jobs on TaskRabbit or cleaning someone’s flat via Hassle.

And as a customer of these services you’re required to trust that the individual you let into your house is as trustworthy as the stranger driving your car.

From Onfido: Figuring out who perfect strangers are

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Onfido run this data through an instant checking system, pulling the numbers and writing straight off your passport to check it is genuine and not stolen, and then cross-referencing this data with other databases.

From Onfido: Figuring out who perfect strangers are

Ah. But this isn’t quite the same thing. If you are my Uber driver, there are lots of things I want to know about you, but who you are isn’t one of them. I want to know you a have clean driving licence, that the car is insured, that you don’t play loud music and annoy people with it. All sorts of things. Who you really are?  Whatever. That’s none of my business anyway. One thing I really do want to know is that you are actually the driver with the five star reviews that you say you are, whether I know your real name or not.

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Trust is about much more than money; it’s about human relationships, obligations, experiences, and about anticipating what other people will do.

From In third parties we (mis)trust? » Banking Technology

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Friday, 19 February 2016

There is no excuse for not taking cards

So we went to the pub. For lunch. Seven of us. Say £20 per head. £100+ quid. Say £50 quid gross for the pub. Colleague goes to order food and drinks and pay at the bar. Apologetic barmaid comes over to explain that their “card machine” is down, so she can only accept cash. Under normal circumstances I would have simply walked out, feeling it wholly inappropriate to reward such a poorly managed establishment and, as a functioning actor in a capitalist economy, done my duty to depress their lunchtime takings.

Here’s what we wanted to say:

This is absurd. This is 2016 not 1916. Your card machine is down? Well, so what! Are you seriously telling me that mein host has no mobile phone number capable of registering for PingIt or PayM? That none of the staff or the pub itself have a PayPal account that I can send the money to? That neither the owners nor managers not contingency planners thought to tuck an iZettle behind the bar to use when the clunky and expensive GPRS terminal fails for one reason or another? This is a joke. Either the person responsible for the finances of this dive should be sued by the shareholders for negligence or I suspect your card machine isn’t broken at all, you’re just keeping the cash off the books to save on the paperwork. Either way, I’ve been thrown out of better places than this, so I’m taking my business elsewhere. Good day to you.

Of course, being English, what we actually said was:

oh sorry, don’t worry about it, we’ll go and get some cash

A helpful barfly explained that there was a free ATM only a couple of minutes walk away, so a scouting party was sent out to forage for cash while we waited back in the comfort of the lounge.

iZettle at Bakery

There is absolutely no excuse for not taking electronic payments, even for those eking out a living in the margins of the crumbling ruins of post-Brown Britain.

Sumup

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Are Payment Card Contracts Unfair? | Bentham's Gaze

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Customers also use the same PIN on several cards to reduce the burden of remembering PINs

From Are Payment Card Contracts Unfair? | Bentham's Gaze

This is exactly what I do. I have one PIN for all of my credit cards and one PIN for all of my debit/prepaid cards.

The Great EMV Fake-Out: No Chip For You! — Krebs on Security

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My own decidedly unscientific survey involved a shopping spree one recent morning to no fewer than seven different retail locations, which revealed exactly seven different chip-capable payment terminals instructing customers to “Please Swipe Card.”

From The Great EMV Fake-Out: No Chip For You! — Krebs on Security

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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Are central banks artefacts of the Industrial Revolution, like canal networks or newspapers, or are they indispensable? To be honest, I tend to the more revolutionary perspective. National currency and central banks were of their time. We didn’t used to have them and we won’t have them in the future. But in the short term, should these relics of a bygone monetary embrace digital cash? Here’s why I’m asking, as summarised nicely in the Deutsche Bank Research note on “Instant Revolution of Payments”. They say:

When looking at the potential long-term effects of payment market evolution, a new question arises: which money will we pay with? Today, we mostly pay with commercial bank money. Nevertheless if the prevailing type of payment service providers were to change in the future, this would have an impact on the type of money transferred. Current EU regulation recognises bank deposits and electronic money for non-cash payment services. Given the wide range of potential instant payment services, bank deposits as the main form of money could lose importance if non-bank providers gain a dominant position in the retail payments market.

You can see the broad outline of the debate forming. Should central banks issue their own digital money? Should they allow commercial banks to continue to do it? Or should they sit back and let a thousand flowers bloom as Facebook, Amazon, Verifone and Apple issue digital money? There is a decline in the use of physical cash. If the Bank of England does not replace physical cash with its own electronic equivalent then it is in effect supervising the slow motion privatisation of the nation’s currency.

Let’s examine a case for central banks to stay involved. The new Positive Money report on Digital Cash recommends that central banks should issue digital cash for six main reasons: it widens the range of options for monetary policy, it can make the financial system safer, it can encourage innovation in the payment system, it can recapture a portion of seigniorage, it can help to develop alternative finance businesses and it can improve financial inclusion.

(They use the term digital cash to refer to electronic central bank money, whereas I would prefer the term digital currency to distinguish it from other forms of digital cash.)

At the heart of the Positive Money argument is the idea that digital currency should be the province of specialist payment service providers rather than banks, whereas banks are primarily lenders and should be focused on that. How would banks compete with these? Until now banks have had an effective monopoly on payment services. Consequently, banks have had very little competition for the provision of basic payment accounts. In my opinion, it’s a business they might not want to be in at all, frankly, and they could focus on their core banking businesses instead, leaving payments to the specialist providers.

What would there business model be? Should digital currency be remunerated? Should these specialist providers be paid? The Positive Money people feel strongly that it should not, which means that other players in the digital currency supply chain would need to find their own ways of raising revenue. I doubt this would ever come from fees so it would be more to do with the information around payments and flows, but that’s not really what I wanted to talk about here.

But why have these specialist providers at all? Why not just get the Bank of England to do it? The report notes digital that digital currency does not mean cryptocurrency or require the distributed ledger. As I wrote recently, the Bank of England could provide accounts for all citizens, along with payment cards and Internet access and so on.

imagine something like M-PESA but run by the Bank of England. Everyone has an account and you can transfer money from one account to another by a mobile phone app (that uses the secure TEE in modern mobile phones) or by logging in with two factor authentication to any one of a number of service providers that use the Bank of England API to access the accounts or by phoning a voice recognition and authentication service.

From Britcoin or Brit-PESA? | Consult Hyperion

However the Bank of England, the report says, is likely to see this as something of a burden. Personally I’m not sure about that line of thinking. I’m not sure it would be that much of a burden because if everyone had such an account, that you wouldn’t need payment cards or checks or giro payments or anything else, because all payments would be transferred between these accounts through transactions that would be initiated in most cases by a mobile app or through a call centre. The Positive Money guys prefer the idea of digital cash account providers, which would essentially be something like Electronic Money Institutions (ELMIs) are now but with a 100% reserve in central bank money.

(In the report they also talk about the concept of helicopter drops of digital cash to citizens via these accounts, as an alternative to “traditional” quantitive easing., but that’s a topic for another day.)

Anyway, on to the key point. 

Why might central banks choose to issue digital currency?

The six main reasons that are presented in the report are:

  1. Overcoming the zero lower bound on interest rates. Enabling new instruments of monetary policy such as that helicopter money.
  2. Promoting innovation in payment system. I’ve written a couple of times before, both when looking at the options for central-bank digital cash and also when reflecting on our experiences with population scale schemes such as M-PESA in Kenya, that providing a good API on top of the system and allowing innovators to build new products and services on top is transformational and, to my mind, much more likely to lead to real innovation, making the payment system serve the wider economy more efficiently and more effectively.
  3. Increasing financial stability by providing a risk-free alternative to bank accounts. Increasing financial stability by reducing the concentration of liquidity risk and credit risk. Non-bank financial institutions, in particular, would benefit from being able to hold funds in central bank money rather than the form of uninsured bank account. The implications of having to competing currencies might be uninteresting in usual times, just as the competition between cash and bank money is uninteresting in usual times, but it will be important to understand the implication in times of crisis to make sure that the system would not collapse. This is because the existence of digital cash might well exacerbate bank runs as people, for whatever reasons, retreat from other forms of liquidity to risk-free central bank money. The existence of risk-free digital currency in the UK could plausibly lead to an inflow of funds from foreign banks into sterling digital cash and that could push up exchange rates.
  4. Recapturing a portion of seigniorage. In the UK, the interest earned on physical currency peaked at £2.4 billion just before the financial crisis. I see this as a kind of stealth tax although although I suppose it might be fairly argued that it’s a pretty reasonable stealth tax as it falls largely on drug dealers and money-launderers. In the current year seigniorage will be in the region of only 500 million or so. Cash in circulation in the UK currently stands at around £67 billion (and it’s increasing about £15 million per month) of the total amount of cash in circulation at any one time around £10 billion is sitting in bank tills and in ATMs (in the UK about £15 billion is withdrawn from cash machines every month). This suggests that the other £42 billion is circulating hand-to-hand outside the banking system (in the Bank of England classifications this money is either being hoarded, stashed or exported). The banks cash flow to £10 billion can be taken as the best estimate for the population’s preference for cash over above immediate spending needs. All things considered I think that the seigniorage argument is not terribly persuasive one way or the other. It is plausible that the Bank of England might roughly double its seigniorage revenue if most people switch most of their spending from bank accounts to digital cash.
  5. Alternative finance. Separating the creation of money from bank loans might mean a reduction in lending which would have implications for the economy. There are implications for banks in the supply of credit.
  6. Increasing financial inclusion. I don’t want to get into the complexities of the relationship between financial and social inclusion, and the implications for other regulatory frameworks such as KYC and AML, but I see financial inclusion through ready access to low-value digital currency accounts as one of the main reasons for wanting to do it. Remember people who are trapped in a cash economy on the margins are the people who suffer most.

So What?

 

Well, I thought the report was very interesting  and thought provoking, so I am very happy to say that Ben Dyson from Positive Money will be giving a talk based on the report at this year’s 19th annual Consult Hyperion Tomorrow’s Transactions Forum in London on 20th-21st April 2016. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our sponsors, this year the ticket for the event are only £295 + VAT. As always, the Forum will be limited to 100 places, so book your place now!

Crooks put their own bank details on stolen school fee letters to steal 1000s of pounds | Daily Mail Online

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Parents who did not know the letters had been tampered with then paid the school fees into the crooks' bank accounts without realising.

From Crooks put their own bank details on stolen school fee letters to steal 1000s of pounds | Daily Mail Online

Thursday, 11 February 2016

They're not smart and they're not contracts

I know, I know, they're not smart and they're not contracts. But in the well-known Birch-Pannifer-Parulava model for thinking about shared ledgers from a business perspective (a model that continues to be refined, even as I type), we've stuck with the term "contract" on our 4C layer, more for marketing reasons that anything else (clients like the "4C" model and find it easy to remember).

 Birch-Pannifer-Parulava Four Layer Model

So I’m happy to continue to use the word contract But it does bother people, and I think we need to discuss it.

I think folks know this and that’s why there’s been a subtle effort lately to avoid “contract” and “smart contract” in favor of more use-specific labels like “Distributed Application” or “DAO.”

From Upacking the term ‘Smart Contract’ — Medium

From Upacking the term ‘Smart Contract’ — Medium

I did have an effort to introduce the new term LAPPS (i.e., Ledger APPlicationS) so as to have a simple and natural term, but it doesn't seem have gained much traction. I suppose the whole "smart contract" thing has just become too embedded. But I agree with the author, and others, that it's time to pick up the cudgels and fight a rearguard action before it is too late.

This is probably a good idea. Calling something that is really just an application a ‘contract’ or ‘smart contract’ sends signals you may not want to send. You don’t, for example, want users of your Hello World app to think they’re [entering a legal contract]

From Upacking the term ‘Smart Contract’ — Medium

So. LAPPS it is for the time being.

EBA Clearing and SIA team up for pan-European payments infrastructure - IBS Intelligence

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EBA Clearing and SIA have signed a letter of intent for the delivery of a pan-European infrastructure for instant payments by Q4 2017.

From EBA Clearing and SIA team up for pan-European payments infrastructure - IBS Intelligence

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Fintech firms want to open accounts at the Bank of England - Telegraph

The the U.K.’s Faster Payments Service (FPS) has been very successful. The ability to send money from one account to another account instantly is actually quite transformational, but I still think that the full impact has yet to be felt. As we move into 2018 and the world of the newly-published Open Banking Standard, PSD2 and APIs then we will see instant payments built in to the applications that support our everyday lives. This morning when I caught the bus to work the cost of the bus ticket was charged to one of my credit cards, which meant that the bus company had to store my card information and that I had to remember the three digit code on the back of the card to complete the purchase. In the future, I will tell the bus company I want a ticket and put my thumb on the home button of my iPhone and that will be that. The money will be sent from my bank account to the bus company’s bank account with no delays, intermediaries or additional friction. As I said before, there will be a push for push.

Since it is such a big deal, it is of course important who has access to the instant payments networks. The government is very keen to see more competition in the retail payments space and for this reason it wants to facilitate access to core payment systems, such as FPS. The opening up of access has already started. You might remember that last year, access was opened up to a new kind of aggregated access layer under the “New Access Model”.

The New Access Model, first published in December 2014, sets out proposals to enable technology vendors to offer technical access to Payment Service Providers (PSPs) by adding to their existing accounting platform technology, or providing a managed solution to either a single or multiple PSPs.

From New access market for Faster Payments gains traction | Faster Payments

This new model gave technology companies with experience in payments the ability to create systems to connect directly to FPS and then offer this connection to other players. These new offerings, including VocaLink’s PayPort service, are a terrific step forward and they make it very easy for new entrants to get up and running. Earlier this, in fact, PayPort made access for new entrants even easier through their partnership with Raphael’s Bank.

As a member of the Faster Payments Scheme, Raphaels Bank will be able to provide other payment service providers with access to the UK’s core payments infrastructure through VocaLink’s PayPort service.

From VocaLink Connect - VocaLink partners with Raphaels Bank on Faster Payments

So now, new entrants who sign for agency access with Raphaels can use PayPort to launch their services. But access may well be opened up even further. There are plenty of non-bank players out there who want to have access to the infrastructure and this week the UK’s Emerging Payments Association presented a report to arguing that, under the appropriate licence conditions, non-banks should be allowed access to instant payments infrastructure through the use of a new kind of limited pre-funded settlement account at the Bank of England. In essence, a Facebook or a Google would be allowed accounts that they would load up with a few million quid in the morning and then use throughout the day. Under this kind of option you would be able to send money from your bank account to a friend on Facebook messenger in a jiffy. Facebook and other tech players could use PayPort to connect to FPS, giving them integration and all the services they need at the drop of hat.

Tech firms are in talks with the Bank of England to secure settlement accounts, a privilege only currently on offer the banks. The accounts would help give the finance technology (fintech) firms access to the payments system, the infrastructure which currently underlies much of Britain’s financial services industry.

From Fintech firms want to open accounts at the Bank of England - Telegraph

Why am I highlighting this? Well, the interpersonal services that deliver instant payments at the moment (such as PayM, which has more than three million registered users) are just a toe in the water! Imagine what some of these new tech players will be to do with those services when they integrate them with social media, mobile apps, retail platforms, public services and other organisations and businesses. I’m looking forward to some real innovation in this space and opening up access under the right conditions will energise the whole sector.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Leaders and followers

Well, once again, Kazakhstan shows leadership in the secure retail transactions field with the launch of an HCE app for contactless mobile payments.

Customers of Kazkommertsbank (KKB) in Kazakhstan can now make host card emulation (HCE) based NFC mobile payments using a new service launched in partnership with Visa.

From Kazakhstan gets HCE payments • NFC World+

They have always been in the forefront of these developments. In fact, as I wrote a decade ago…

So here is a picture for Borat to take with him next time he visits America. It’s an EMV terminal.

From Cultural learnings of Kazakhstan for make benefit glorious nation of America.

The reason I bring this up here is more about the technology than the location. We’re very interested in the potential for HCE in the mass market, not only for payments but also for ticketing, loyalty and other applications. But I just wanted to remind everyone, again, that while the association with NFC is forefront in industry thinking, the very first HCE transaction that I saw with my own eyes deep in the skunkworks at CHYP End, many years ago, was nothing to do with NFC. And one of our fun skunkworks projects last year was running HCE over Bluetooth to complete EMV “card present” transactions.

Amsterdam HCE

Banks urged to share data so customers can shop around - FT.com

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The Open Banking Working Group, which undertook a review last year at the request of the Treasury, is calling for information on banks’ products and customers to be more easily accessed by digital services, including comparison sites.

From Banks urged to share data so customers can shop around - FT.com

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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Bitcoin, Online Payments and the Scourge of PayPal - BayPay Members Blogs

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There was, however, one crucial component missing in our virtual office: a decent tool for online payments. And we had to do a lot of online payment processing; paying staff and accepting payments from our sponsors being the two most important. The closest we got to a viable tool was PayPal, but we quickly learned to avoid it.

PayPal's fees for international payments were (and still are) exorbitant. What we ended up using was the international banking system, SWIFT. It was full of red tape, the bank's online software was buggy, and often we found that one or more intermediary banks had taken a chunk of money during the process.

In short, the banking system was opaque and frustrating… but even then it was better than PayPal.

[From

Bitcoin, Online Payments and the Scourge of PayPal - BayPay Members Blogs

]

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

EU to probe €500 notes’ links to terrorism - FT.com

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The EU Commission on Tuesday will pledge to investigate the suspiciously high number of the notes in circulation in the eurozone as part of a plan to choke-off financing for terrorists in the wake of November’s attacks in Paris.

From EU to probe €500 notes’ links to terrorism - FT.com

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