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Apple Pay vs. Current C

It’s somewhat amusing to read coverage of Apple Pay while sitting in Sydney. Apple Pay solves a uniquely American problem – cheques and signatures for credit card transactions which result in high fraud levels. Consumer convenience has always been secondary – if it had been a primary concern they would have done this long before now.

Simple an easy payments are something we addressed long-ago down under through a combination of smarter credit cards and apps on phones. Tap-and-go is now familiar and popular.

Seeing alternatives like Current C emerge in the US is interesting in that it addresses another problem unique to that geography (at this stage). And that is the collusion that has occurred between technology and credit card providers to set fees and lock-up transaction processes.

Years ago a really super smart developer said to me that every closed and proprietary system would be met not just by alternatives, but at some a point a powerful and open standard that would crush both. Think Java for payments. I wonder if Samsung could be the company to pioneer that open ecosystem – its current approach to NFC would suggest so.

Suggesting that consumers won’t largely want CurrentC misses the point – its the businesses, big and small, that have to shoulder the cost that will want it. And so long as they market and encourage it, its got a chance. Moreover, any incentive will be automatically applied as they subtract the credit card and Apple tax.

I just wonder if at any point anyone bothered to get on a plane and take a look at what has happened in the Australian and New Zealand markets where competition has driven innovation to outpace the best in Silicon Valley, in turn ultimately benefiting rather than taxing the small businesses that make the economy hum.

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