Mary Meeker, wall street analyst turned venture capitalist, broke the longstanding rule against PowerPoint presentations at the D10 conference, as her annual Internet Trends report covered 125 slides in a blazing seventeen minutes. The result was an entertaining and insightful discussion on trends impacting the business environment today. Perhaps the most compelling trend was the re-imagination of nearly everything from the concept of the personal diary all the way to full body education.
The video presentation also covered lots of aspects of mobile monetization or the lack of monetization from mobile devices. So when we think of re-imagining payments, perhaps we should not be focusing solely on mobile payments.
Payment processing in the United States today has not substantially changed in the last 30 years. We still write checks and still rely on ACH payments for recurring payments and settlement of card transactions. Even payment processing newbies like PayPal or Square rely on the existing payment rails of check or ACH.
And then there is the batch. If there is anything that the payment system in the United States holds near and dear, it is the batch processing structure. Even payments that seem to be real-time, like credit card payments, actually cleared in batch mode at the end of the day. Batch processing may have been a necessary evil back in the day when computer systems and networking capabilities were priced at a premium, but in today’s environment we should be free to settle payments on a real-time or near real-time basis.
With payments being such a key component of our overall economy, isn’t it time that someone take a stab at truly re-imagining payments? If you have any ideas on what is likely to emerge as we re-imagine payments, please post your comments below.