Sunday, December 2, 2012
What's so interesting about the payments industry?
The payments industry is a big, sometimes ungainly, critical, and in places not altogether on the up-and-up part of the business landscape. It's hardly straightforward. And change is coming to it.
Some incumbents are under pressure from upstarts wielding mobile handsets, cloud-based CPU cycles, and Hadoop-managed baskets full of data. Other incumbents are trying to keep the table tilted in their favor. Still others are looking for shelter or have already been caught by a revenue winter.
While the industry's pace traditionally has been slow moving, the new tech has, like carbon to the Greenland ice cap, loosened old connections and weakened other bonds. Big pieces are sliding and the situation is more fluid (apologies).
While Silicon Valley start-up ergs are chasing payments business, there are good sized incumbents (banks and card networks), good sized new entrants who want in on the action (mobile operators). EVeryone is bounded by complex federal and state regulations driven by attorneys general with often very different points of view. Hardly Start-up Kindergarten.