Payments Potential

posted by Collin Canright on April 27, 2018 - 10:08am

From realtime to person-to-person and crypto, digital payments continue to change the payments landscape in the United States. Even so, cash is back, to the detriment of one growing business, as covered in this issue's links.

Corporates are paying attention to realtime payments

"RTP is poised to reshape how U.S. businesses make and receive payments," reports Treasury and Risk. For the first time in 40 years, "corporate treasury departments have a new option: real-time payments (RTP). Companies can now add a new pipe to their plumbing to accommodate funds transfers that move at unprecedented speeds."

It won't be easy. "Faster payments aren't a fast fix for banks," writes Bruce Lowthers, COO at bank and payments technology provider FIS in PayThink. "The ability to track funds minute by minute is starting to seem like a true reality, but widespread implementation is not that simple."

P2P payments and the threat to banks

As person-to-person (P2P) payments continue to grow in the United States, "tech giants are posing a huge threat to traditional payments providers by entering the payments space with fast, easy, and convenient digital payment methods for consumers," reports Aite Group analyst Talie Baker in a new report.

In American Banker, Penny Crossman examines Zelle, the bank-sponsored response to Venmo, the leading P2P app among millennials. Its fraud problems were overstated this week, it's faster than Venmo, and it's challenging for both banks and consumers to onboard.

The future of digital payments visualized

Data analysis tech firm Quid provides a pretty cool look at digital payments in a recent blog post. It categorized companies in its database to represent the largest focus areas in payments, mobile, credit-card, and SMB. Click the chart to view the whole article and another set of industry break downs.

Pot is hot

Several recent articles deal with the payment problems and investment potential of weed. Glenbrook Partners payment consultant Beth Horowitz Steel sums the madness up:

Seriously, in 2018 we have legitimate businesses that cannot conduct safe, secure financial transactions? A business that hauls around piles of paper bills in a satchel like it was in the days of Al Capone and Prohibition?

PaymentsSource provides a slideshow on everything you need to know about the "inventive workarounds" required for legal pot payments.


"Bitcoin is the greatest scam in history," writes Bill Harris, former CEO of Intuit and founding CEO of PayPal and Personal Capital, in ReCode. Tired of telling investors to be careful, he decided to lay out his unvarnished argument: "The losers are ill-informed buyers caught up in the spiral of greed. The result is a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary families to internet promoters. And "massive" is a massive understatement — 1,500 different cryptocurrencies now register over $300 billion of "value." It helps to understand that a bitcoin has no value at all."

Meanwhile, Business Insider invites you to "meet the traders, investors, and technologists pioneering crypto on Wall Street." As regulators take a dim view of crypto exchanges, and social media outlets say they will refuse cryptoasset ads, "trading, technology, and asset management executives are leaning in on digital assets and working on projects that could bring them front and center in mainstream financial services."

Wall Street investors and technologists are looking to clean up the bitcoin exchange mess. Gemini Trust Co., led by Camron and Tyler Winklevoss, is relying on Nasdaq to provide trading oversight for bitcoin and ether.

And Central Banks, which definitely do not consider crypto money, are exploring the use of blockchain technology in bank-to-bank settlement operations, as I report for PayThink in "Government digital currencies aren't efficient enough for prime time."