Archive for January, 2011

Starbucks Mobile Payments and…the NRA?

Starting today, my wallet will forever stay in my pocket at Starbucks.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop buying Starbucks coffee; it means that I can finally feed my caffeine addiction using only my SmartPhone.

When Starbucks Coffee announced yesterday that over 6,800 of its locations would accept mobile payments, there was a significant amount of buzz in the press.   This morning, I used this service for the first time.

My first unfortunate impression was that the philosophy behind Starbucks mobile payment was reminiscent of the philosophy of the National Rifle Association (NRA).   This requires some explanation, obviously, so here it is: Continue reading

Will Mobile Payments Become a Format War?

Mobile Payment products either use the current payment system, or challenge the current payment system.

It is called a “Format War.”  Two or more companies with different products compete for your attention.  Of course, as a consumer, you get to choose the product you want.  If you don’t like it, certainly you are free to switch to another product. However, since companies know this, they can make it incredibly cumbersome for you to do so.

Mobile Payments could be heading toward a format war, and the first casualty could be consumer privacy.  On one side are all of the mobile wallet and mobile payment products that are based on the existing payments system in use around the world today.  On the other side are alternatives to the existing payment system, which could bypass the processors or schemes that are the backbone of the payment system. Continue reading

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