The Card Payments Ecosystem – and Fragmentation

by Scott Loftesness on July 10, 2010

in Card Payments, Innovation, Merchant Acquirers

Scott Loftesness - Glenbrook Partners

In a post titled “Great since day one“, Marco Arment blogs about what makes the iPhone different – in essence he writes that Apple makes products that are great today. Android isn’t.

Reading his post brought to mind the fragmented nature of the card payments ecosystem that we live in – and how it’s so difficult to innovate in a way that provides an easy, simple and complete consumer experience.

Isn’t that the weak underbelly of today’s card payments acceptance environment? The fragmented nature of it – merchants having to deal with acquirers, struggling with PCI-DSS compliance, etc. Issuers who can’t influence the acceptance environment – yet are dependent upon it.

Problems like these create new opportunities – for those bold enough to pursue them. Yet the incumbents continue with their “business as usual” strategies.

Where are the smart new entrants – eager to disrupt? One thing’s almost certain – they’re out there working hard and they’ll soon surprise us – then, we’ll say: “Of course!”

One Response to “The Card Payments Ecosystem – and Fragmentation”

  1. Albert Drouart says:

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts Scott, it is thought provoking and I enjoyed Marco’s post which I had missed. I keep thinking about the B2C and B2B distinctions we make and wonder if at the end of the day they really aren’t that different. It seems so easy to appeal to the singular vision delivering a beautiful of a consumer product, but with a b2b product there are so many “customers” it makes it harder…. or seemingly harder, but I agree with what you suggest that this isn’t really true. Don Norman’s talk at BoS 2009 ( also makes it clear that on many levels these distinctions aren’t true… Perhaps if we have to start paying for our checking accounts as debit card income shifts away we’ll motivate some interesting developments in better payment experiences for all, which will drive exactly the kind of bold innovation you mention!

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