Tuesday, October 10, 2017




So, I have an interesting BitCoin story. Back in April of 2014 when the craze was just starting, of course, I had to try it out. So, I opened up a CoinBase account and bought $100 worth. I spent $20 at Overstock.com just to see how the user experience was, which was fine and then basically tuned out and forgot about it. Recently the frenzy caught my attention so I went and checked on my account. The remaining $80 had turned into between $600 and $700 depending on which way the wind blew on any given day. So, I spent another $50, again at Overstock, which went smoothly. Just checked today and after having spent $70 of my original $100, I have a balance of $690. Not bad!! Maybe I should have invested my entire 401k? NOT! As I felt from the beginning and continue to feel the volatility and the lack of regulatory protections are going to keep this in the corners of the payments world for many years to come. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Speculation reaches a fever pitch

The entire industry is waiting with extraordinary anticipation regarding Apple's entry into the "mobile" payments realm. Whatever it is, it is likely to be less than anticipated but hopefully meaningful and constructive as a rising tide should lift all boats. Unlike Apple's late entry into the MP3 world, the world of payments is extremely fragmented with incredible inertia to overcome.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

NFC vs. Mag Stripe

Who cares? Did you ever go to a Mag Stripe conference? Why are there so many conferences now focused on NFC? Stupid question! Because it is the latest bandwagon and therefore conference organizers jump on it. What really matters? It isn't the technology. It is the simple fact that the mobile phone is adding more and more value to our lives and regardless of the technical bridge used, it is obvious that using our phones as a proxy for our payment credentials has great promise. Freeing consumers from having to carry around a lot of cash or providing (hopefully) responsible consumers with a credit facility is what matters. This matters to both consumers and merchants. So, lets all stop worrying about which technology is going to win and give the consumers and merchants what they want. Bar codes, mag stripes, NFC, OTA are all going to co-exist for a very long time. Damn, I was at a resort recently and they still used an old knuckle buster to capture my credit card info. p.s. They had advanced to the carbonless version of the sales draft!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I am in the midst of reading a new (& well written) whitepaper on Mobile Payments from the Smart Card Alliance.

I came across this defition of transaction sizes; " Transaction Size
Transaction size affects the choice of mobile payment technology and approach. Mobile payments typically fit into one of two transaction size categories. Micropayments (less than $10-$25) are typical for paying for ring tones, music, parking, transit, coffee, and items in convenience stores. Macropayments (over $25) are typical for all other transactions, such as person-to-person domestic and international remittances, charitable donations, Web site purchases, bill payment and retail POS."

I see things here a little differently. I have always thought of micropayments as $1-$2 in size, minipayments as $3-$7 and normal or as they say macropayments as $8+.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Try it, you'll like it (or maybe not)....

I read press releases everyday about what are pitched as the latest and greatest innovations in payments. But, then, I go behind the "lines" and sign up (if necessary), and actually try the product or service. You need to do that too, before rendering an opinion.

I have (or had if they have gone four paws to the sky) the following accounts; Serve & the predecessor Revolution Money , Obopay, BlingNation, PayPal, Square, Mazooma, Kwedit, Rixty, Starbucks, PaybyTouch, Mobibucks, ClipperCard(BART NFC), Safeway echeck, Google Check-out, itunes, BillmeLater, Click n'Buy, Verified by Visa, Amazon PayPhrase, TwitPay, etc., way too many to name (but I tried).

There is one thing to keep in mind, though, when you do this. In a prior phase of my career, it was important for me to have a credit card from every brand and every major bank since I was calling on all of them and it was awkward to take someone from Visa out to lunch and pay with an Amex card. Once when applying for a mortgage, everything was excellent in my application but the one hit I took was having too many accounts. :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

First NFC Payment Completed!!!

Wow! I actually found a merchant to use my NFC enabled Discover Card to pay for a recent purchase. It was at Mickey D's. (BTW - I have been showing off my Discover NFC decal which I have applied to the back of my iPhone to everyone!)