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2017’s Payment Buzzwords in October…and Other Insanity

Mark, what’s the deal with all of this insanity?
You forgot Christmas in July with Prime Day.

Actually, I removed that from my memory, due to another slightly frustrating Prime Day shopping experience.
Just look around—you can also point to a drop in NLF ratings. The problem is…wait for it…over-saturation! The logic that “more” or “earlier” is better seems to have hit its tipping point. Kudos to The Mall of America for fighting back and closing on Thanksgiving. We’ve talked about this before—how many options is too many options?

Yep, too much choice can be a bad thing. Is there any (choice) slowdown in sight?
I think we’re going to see the pendulum swinging back to a happy medium—pop-up Halloween stores will begin arriving at the start of fall, perhaps, as opposed to the height of summer.  

Let’s talk about the correlation between (too many) choices and mobile.
It seems like there’s an explosion of options—at any different time, you could have 10+ options for paying at the check-out. Think back to when we emptied our pockets at Money20/20 Copenhagen.

Ah, yes, the dreaded shawarma incident…another item I had removed from my memory.
There’s a point where the consumer hits the “paralysis moment,” where they (will) just default to their ingrained habits, in this case, where they will default to cash or coin…or to plastic.

So let’s dovetail into 2017 and into what to expect…and we won’t bore our readers with presidential predictions and subsequent fallout.
This idea of explosion of choices and new market entrants—we’re going to see consolidation as a result of increased M&A. There are so many good options, but too many—we’ll see natural pair-offs as a result…and this will lead to a better customer experience.

How?
By taking all of the niche products that were disparate and bringing them together into one or a couple of holistic offerings. Think about all of the disparate single points and single use offerings for mobile—there’s yet to be a true holy grail offering.

Holy Grail? As in The Knights Who Say “Ni! (apologies, got sidetracked). Will that (offering) be a reality…ever?
We may have found the key to unlock that mystery.

And that key is?
Open APIs, baby! Buzzword #1. We’re starting to see in the industry a willingness to partner that we’ve not seen at current levels…ever. It’s not necessarily APIs or Open APIs being new; it’s about the willingness of partnering.

So is ‘partner’ buzzword #2? Or is it overused buzzword #1?
The latter.

So what’s buzzword #2?
Ecosystem.

Oooh, sooo sassy! Why ecosystem?
You have a situation where you have governments, incumbents (vendors), fintech start-ups and FIs—they’re coming together. It’s no longer one group versus another—it’s now about them getting together to solve consumer problems—developing full ecosystems and putting the customer at the center.

Like Kumbaya or like Cheetos and Chicken Fries (full disclosure, I’ve never eaten a Chicken Fry, let alone a Cheetos Chicken Fry)
I think it’s more like Kumbaya.

Well either way, this partnership…I mean ecosystem…this ecosystem kinda makes me feel that, to quote Bob Marley, everything’s gonna be alright, especially considering the aforementioned insanity going on all around us.
To be fair, this goes back to the question of adapt or die. That’s a trite statement however, as banks are not only still needed, but (can) have a seat at the table alongside the governments, vendors and upstarts. Unlike the taxi industry’s willingness to sit at the table and talk about fixing its offering, the banks are taking this opportunity to partner and work toward delivering a great experience that customers are expecting.

So we didn’t really talk about insanity (and for some reason, I always envision Susan Powter when I write the word “insanity”). You attended the recent Sibos conference. Anything insane happen in Geneva or did sensibilities reign supreme?
Sensibility is a relative term. I will say you could smell change in the air and despite the snow in the mountains overlooking us, no one was proclaiming “winter is coming.” Let’s see what is in the air in Vegas in a few weeks…

And with that, here’s to more forthcoming buzzwords…and to less insane clowns (and to less Insane Clown Posse). 

Vice President of Public Relations

Dan is a veteran of tech companies large and small and leads global PR efforts for ACI. Among his responsibilities is working to educate external audiences (press, analysts, influencers) on just how cool ACI is. Dan is not a payments expert, but knows more than the average layperson to be slightly dangerous. He's bullish on mobile and bearish on wearables.

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