German tap-to-pay telco allies don't need no stinkin' banks
Slapdash slapcash plan requires all new bonk-banker kit
The German arms of Telefonica and Vodafone, along with Deutsche Telekom, have signed an agreement to take their virtual mpass payment platform physical, without the help of the banks.
The letter of intent, signed by all three companies, states that the mpass system will be set up as a jointly-owned-but-independent company handling payments made by customers of any of the network operators, and without having to pass on a cut to the existing payment processors.
That is in contrast to the rest of the world where mobile operators have been busy conceding the mobile-payments business to the existing providers (Visa, Mastercard and their ilk).
In the USA ISIS was set up to provide a similar mechanism, but has now scaled back plans to welcome in the existing players, while the UK operators have been busy creating a standardised advertising platform so that they can make money from NFC without having to worry about slicing the mobile-payment cake too thinly.
But German operators reckon they can do it, even if it means distributing new point-of-sale equipment to shops and, as NFC Times points out, delaying previously-scheduled launches of independent offerings:
"[Q]ueues at the supermarket will soon be a thing of the past," says Deutsche Telekom's ebullient Director of Marketing, espousing the benefits of pay-by-tap.
Mpass already operates in Germany, allowing payments authorised by SMS, and was even available (briefly) in the UK a decade or so ago, but despite its longevity it hasn't proved very popular. Getting new terminals into every shop in the country will increase the visibility of the brand, but it is the cost of doing just that which has put off operators in so many other countries. ®
Yeah right ^2
" "[Q]ueues at the supermarket will soon be a thing of the past," says Deutsche Telekom's ebullient Director of Marketing, espousing the benefits of pay-by-tap."
I'm due to pick up Mrs. Inventor of the Marmite Laser tonight, after her stint trolleybashing.
I sincerely doubt I'll see any change from the norm: People happy to queue for a manned checkout till whilst self-service checkouts stand idle.
Hate bloody self service checkouts: Slow, baulky, irritating and they don't smile.
Fees would be lower with Visa / MC??
I guess the system the Germans are planning (details are scarce) are that customers get their shopping bills added to their phone bills, and the telecom will then pass on the money (minus a processing fee) to the vendor. With Visa / MC, the vendor pays a cut to their bank for the processing, a cut to the credit card company, and sometimes a cut to the POS provider (some banks do not provide the POS equipment themselves and have a 3rd-party provider do it.) It stacks up to quite a chunk of change.
No reason why the telcos can't keep their ongoing costs to the vendors lower than credit card costs. Their main startup cost is the cost of terminals, they already have infrastructure in place which they can adapt. The reason banks / credit card companies can take such a cut is that they have a monopoly on retail payment processing. Having some competition in retail payment processing between traditional banks / CCs and telcos will bring down transaction costs, and, over the longer term, retail prices.
Most of the checkout folk at my local supermarket seem to be a quite personable bunch of (non arts/humanities) students and older womenfolk, most of whom seem capable of smiling and generally being pleasant and they appear to be meaning it.
Now I've said that, I'm sure to have the one checkout staffed by Mrs Rotweiller whose disposition is akin to the Emperor Dalek in a particularly psychotic frame of mind, but without the nice cuddly bits