Whine and Dime #0014

Whine

This is the last Whine and Dime for 2015.

Shine

All the best for the holidays, assuming you manage to grab some. Chat next year, or catch up on the Twitters in the meantime.

Industry News

Almost on queue (right after #0013 was published last week) the @Gizmodo and @WIRED stories outing an Aussie as the creator of BTC looks to be a hoax.

Bain & Co tips one in three bank branches to close.

The FT has a big roundup of what's happening with "the future of banking".

Here's another spin on the progress of Apple Pay and mobile payments, and why we still don’t use them. This is another in a long line of articles that seems to want to tar Apple Pay specifically with the fact that most merchants in Europe and the USA don't (yet) support contactless payments. Apart form that, there are some good points in here about payments reliability and ease of signup. But this is a long game. Setting up the mechanics of the process and isolating it, to some extent, from the traditional card schemes will set Apple Pay up for what's next.

If it's not the legacy of legacy systems worrying UK and US bankers, it's cybercrime. Bloomberg reports that while fintech creates excitement, the top concern among bankers is their readiness to handle a substantial electronic attack. Exposing a firm's readiness to defend against attacks is difficult to do in principle, but also difficult to do in practice, without giving away critical information that attackers might use.

What if the "Uber of Banking" was ... Uber? Many taxi drivers singing up to be Uber drivers were previously unbanked. This was such a problem for Uber that it is now allowing drivers to sign up for a debit card as part of the on-boarding process. There are some great quotes in that article, such as "If you’re a bank, 2016 is the year you start redesigning every single product in your wheelhouse", and "Will your children ever own a car? I don’t know, do you own a horse?" Well worth a read.

From the which-horse-are-you-on-department in Australia comes the news that the Big banks opt for Android over Apple Pay. Because Australia was a long way ahead of other markets with respect to the use of Chip+PIN and contactless, the promise that ApplePay brings in terms of cardholder and card security are simply not there relative to what was already available. They are also very powerful as a group, and don't want to just end up being a "coin pipe" for apps, in the way that (most) telcos ended up being "bit pipes" for smartphones. Grab some popcorn.

In a surprising turn of events, it seems Glenn Stevens and the RBA are warming to blockchain tech. He likes the potential for cost savings, as all good Reserve Bank Governors should. It'd be interesting to know what he thinks about 'anti-bitcoin', a centralised, digital currency.

You've heard of 'neobanks', now get ready for 'challenger' banks. After the UK's Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulatory Authority signalled their willingness to review startup bank applications, as many as 20 startups have approached the regulators with applications in the past two years.

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