Card Networks

The always-interesting Federal Reserve Bank Chicago Payments Symposium just closed, and predictably, a lot of the discussion (and argument!) was around “faster” – the evolving progress of the United States towards improvements in our payments systems. I was particularly interested in hearing other people’s views on the outlook for this in our country. I came […]

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Chargebacks are one of the card system’s great consumer benefits. If fraud happens, the merchant doesn’t deliver on what was promised, or you’re charged six times for something you bought just once, the chargeback mechanism returns your money or restores your credit. What’s not to like? Well, if you’re a merchant, a lot. While there […]

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Last week’s news that MasterCard was exploring an investment or outright acquisition of VocaLink really lit up the “News” channel on our Slack system at Glenbrook. For those unfamiliar, VocaLink is a company currently owned by 17 large U.K. financial institutions, which operates the U.K.’s main ATM network (Link), its ACH-equivalent system (Bacs), and most […]

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Visa’s CEO recently reported that more than 750,000 locations, representing 17% of the U.S. face-to-face card-accepting merchant base, are accepting EMV chip cards. While everyone in the industry agrees that it will be quite a while before the numbers reach “critical mass” (whatever that means to you), there are two key questions for today. The […]

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Interchange galvanizes the attention of regulators around the world like iron filings to a magnet. Everyone in card payments watches their moves closely because of its economic impact on merchants, card networks, issuers, acquirers and, in theory, consumer pricing. European regulators are among the most recent to weigh in. Based on the EU’s Multilateral Interchange […]

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At our Glenbrook Payments Boot Camps, we often quote futurist and novelist William Gibson’s 1993 remark that “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed” in order to demonstrate that different payment methods take varying amounts of time to become commonplace. Over the last year and more, most boot camp attendees […]

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Recorded about a month ago by VC firm Matrix Partners, Glenbrook’s Scott Loftesness and Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners discuss the evolution of mobile payments, the business model failure of Softcard, and other topics including: The 8+ year journey to ApplePay Technologies here to stay: NFC, tokenization, and biometrics What it all means for the Networks […]

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Like many payments industry insiders, we have been following the recent impassioned industry dialog about the relative merits of Apple Pay and MCX’s CurrentC wallet with a combination of amusement and despair. The barbs and accusations being exchanged by the rival camps in this technological holy war between NFC and QR codes suddenly reminded me […]

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The Apple Pay announcement finally came yesterday and the company’s orchestration of much of the complex and fractious card payments ecosystem demonstrates Apple’s insight into how the current payments ecosystem works and how it must be aligned in order to meet its own needs. Combining NFC, Apple’s Passbook wallet, Touch ID biometric reader, cards stored in the […]

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Here are some thoughts on big actions that industry incumbents could take to strengthen their positions and the U.S. payments industry. What do these ideas have in common? First of all, they are infrastructural or market-wide. Secondly, they all ask one or more incumbent constituencies to bite the bullet – and accept some reduction of […]

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When I was a baby consultant some twenty years ago, I remember standing in Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park (remember book stores?) thumbing through a paperback book called “The Rules of Marketing”. Rule #7 that said all successful markets will subdivide into submarkets as they grow over time. One of the examples cited was how […]

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Point of sale (POS) steering isn’t really part of the payments industry dialogue right now as various stakeholders praise, argue, and criticize the proposed Federal Reserve rules on debit card interchange and network routing. But, I think it could be a big part of how things could unfold in the near future. Let’s start with […]

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After months of speculation and hand-wringing, last Friday we finally got a relatively complete reading on how the Federal Reserve will likely implement the prescribed regulation of debit interchange and debit network competition. My partner, Carol Benson, has also shared a summary of how various payment domains and players might be affected in the near […]

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While I don’t manage to attend every year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s annual payment conference remains one of my favorites. The Chicago Fed has a great payments team that works hard at putting together a timely program, but I like this event because it really is what it purports to be – a […]

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A number of us self-proclaimed “payments geeks” awoke this morning to learn of Visa Inc’s intention to purchase CyberSource for approximately $2 billion.  Over the course of the day, Glenbrook’s been getting a flood of emails generally asking, “What’s the REAL reason Visa’s buying this big gateway company?”

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