NACHA Payments Confab Brings Mobile Warning: Onsite Coverage
ORLANDO, Fla. — Eat or be eaten.
That was the essence of the blunt message delivered by Lanny Byers, managing director at Consult Hyperion, a digital money consulting firm, at the Payments 2014 NACHA conference on Monday at the Orlando World Center Marriott.
Byers’ point: the mobilization of money is creating significant change that has attracted nonbank players such as Google and PayPal.
Many dozens of panels competed for attendance by the 2300 attendees at the event. The Payments Strategies track – with a large focus on mobile – played out before large crowds.
That is for good reason. “The mobile phone changes everything,” said Byers. “It is glued to our hands.”
Opportunities are plentiful, said Byers, as growing numbers of consumers begin to use mobile phones to make purchases.
He pointed to Google Wallet as a potentially significant disruptor. What is interesting about Google Wallet, explained Byers, is that it recognizes that the transaction is not about the payment per se. “It’s about loyalty, rewards, and the shopping experience,” he said.
Particularly worrisome to bankers, noted Byers, is that a Google Wallet purchase might be funded by a checking or share draft account, “but the financial institution will have no visibility into the transaction.”
That means Google will own the customer and transaction data, meaning it can deliver more suitable offers and rewards to that consumer because it knows what the consumer in fact has been buying.
“Google is using this information to steal your customers,” Byers said.
Much remains to be resolved, admitted Byers. Will NFC prevail? Bar codes? Something else? Nobody knows, indecision reigns, but the one fact is that mobile payments are growing in number at a very fast rate.
Already there are mobile wallet successes – Byers pointed to the Starbucks mobile app as a clear example. Others will come into focus soon, he suggested.
That means it is time for financial institution to take action, Byers said.
“Sticking your head in the sand is not an option,” the payments consultant said. “Change is everywhere.”