Keeping up with payment system news, even that part of it restricted to North America, is more than a full-time job. So much has happened recently, though, that it's time for a survey of recent highlights:
Sometimes "The Payoff" writes about you. Sometimes it's about your customers. Installments like "Qthru Aims for a Different Self Check-Out" obviously apply to the many readers working in retail organizations: a better way to get shoppers through check-out certainly matters to you. Why waste space, though, on currency exchange in Malta or ordering pencils in Pretoria?
I don't know, and I don't care.
Google Wallet has a lot to overcome. Not even a year old as of this writing, it has already weathered enough bad news to capsize less well-supported projects. Google continues to invest in it, though, and seems committed to sticking with Wallet until it succeeds.
JCPenney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson promised to build on his successes as a retailer at Target and Apple to re-fashion the long-faltering department chain. Whether he's eventually judged successful or not, credit Johnson for a serious effort.
Convenience is consumers' paramount value, at least as it has appeared in recent installments of "The Payoff". Seattle-area startup Qthru offers a new variant on the in-store shopping experience, with a priority on convenience.
This week several news items speak to relatively modest ambitions of companies working in payment systems: rather than perfection over a wide domain, they seem to aim at incremental gains.
One of Amazon's advantages over physical retailers has been that its sales have largely been free of state sales tax. That just changed.
Worldwide trends--toward convenience, rapid action, digital integration, and away from cash--in payment systems continue to play out in the latest news. Here are a few items that reinforce the movements "The Payoff" earlier described in more detail: