Will Simmons

Tap to Pay – My experiences using NFC to pay

For the past few months, I’ve been using my phone to pay for things.

I’ve been able to do this using Commonwealth Banks Kaching app, an NFC enabled case and my iPhone 4 to “tap to pay”.

The idea of NFC payments has always excited me, the first time paying was pretty satisfying. The idea that I don’t need to carry cash (or maybe even) a wallet means I can go on a run and not carry cash and tapping to pay is super fast (in theroy).

It’s widely belevived that NFC payments are the way of the future, often dubbed the “cashless society”.

But I’ve experieced quite a few teething problems, and in order to hit mass adoption, these must be overcome:

  •  Lack of NFC terminals – At the moment there are lots of NFC terminals to pay in the wild, but only 10-15% of the places I shop at actually have the ability to accept NFC tap to pay.
    Solution: Time and roll out strategy
  • Lack of software integration – Using Kaching means I need to fire up an app before I pay (and unlock my phone, and enter a pin). This is a pain and actually makes it slower than paying by card
    Solution: Complete phone integration at the Operating System level. A phone should be able to be tapped without entering an app (with some security settings in place)
  • Vendor fear and misunderstanding – When using NFC to pay, I’ve been questioned by vendors fearful that I had not actually paid them or unsure if the payment was successful.
    Solution: Vendor education and training
  • Lack of phones with inbuilt NFC – It was widely rumoured that the iPhone released last year would have NFC howver it did not. The NFC case is annoying and chunky. There are a few Android and Blackberries on the market with NFC inbuilt, but still a rarity.
    Solution: Time and user demand
  • User security fears –  A number of people I have spoken to have concerns that NFC is an easy system to get scammed or have money stolen
    Solution: Customer education and on-going security enhancements

By approaching the above issues with proactive solutions, I beleive NFC payments will begin to hit mass adoption in the next 3-5 years.

iMessage for Business, killing off SMS for Business

Each year, businesses send millions of text messages to their customers resulting in unnecessary costs at the companies expense . For example:

  • Banks send security codes to customers to confirm identity or transactions
  • Service providers send booking confirmations and reminders
  • Utilities send bill reminders and confirmations

It’s time for organisations to remove this from their cost base, the SMS is going the way of the dodo.

As more services like iMessage, WhatsApp and gChat become more ubiquitous, the reality is, the majority of your customer base are not using SMS to send and receive messages. They are using these web based services to communicate. But whenever a business messages them, they still use that prehistoric SMS technology… Strange.

So why aren’t businesses doing the same?

What if instead of paying subscription fees to SMS gateways and paying for individual messages, Businesses could access iMessage or WhatsApp (for Business) and send messages at little to no cost?

Admittedly these platforms are not too friendly for Business, but there’s no reason why they can’t be.

So C’mon Apple, where’s iMessage for Business?

3 Start-ups taking on the banks

Every day, the banking industry is threatened by start-ups entering the banking and payments world.

These start-ups are able to move quick and agile way, not bogged down by multiple-decade old legacy banking systems, giving them a clear advantage in transforming and innovating in the banking world.

This post examines 3 emerging start-ups that are making inroads up the banking and payments industry: Pygg, Square and WePay.

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Beyond Payments: NFC enabled phones

It seems that almost every day there is some sort of announcement around NFC and payments. NFC, or Near Field Communication is a system allows a transaction to occur between two devices within close proximity with each other. Interaction can occur between a variety of different devices, some including: phone to phone, phone to sticker, or in the case of a business to consumer scenario, phone to terminal.

Currently, there are only a handful of phones that have NFC chips in them but with the with anticipated arrival of the (rumoured) NFC enabled iPhone 5 and constant stream of NFC-equiped Android devices, the adoption  and penetration of NFC amongst consumers is going to grow rapidly over the coming years.

There have already been a number of experiments and trials around payments going on around the world, such as ANZ in Australia, Google Wallet and start-ups like Brett King’s movenbank.

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Klout and CRM, a match made in heaven?

As companies delve further into servicing customers through social media and as customers speak more about their brand online, it’s becoming increasingly more important to understand the amount of influence and power that customers have on their brand.

Most of today’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems provide business an overview of things like value and loyalty over time, often categorising them in customer segments that can enable an employee to treat them differently or trigger different offers.

Take frequent flyer programs. At a high level, airlines use status points as a measure of customer loyalty and value to the business. Over time, the more loyal the customer is, the more rewards they will receive (upgrades, lounge etc.). Whilst this system works well at providing an illustration of ongoing customer value, it fails to take into account the level of social influence its customers have.

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Social Media – Changing the way we travel

I recently came back from an amazing trip to the USA.

It was the first time I didn’t use Tripadvisor or a Lonelyplanet-esque guide to decide where and what to do and yet I felt like I immersed myself in the “real” New York and San Francisco experience, not the Intrepid or Lonely Planet experience that most people have.

Foursquare – Drinking like a Local

Without a doubt many people reading this blog are users or have used location based services such as foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook places. Before this trip, I was a foursquare user but I wouldn’t of called myself a massive fan, more so an expirement to understand where this sort of technology was going. Whilst there was some benefit (a tip here or there) it wasn’t really changing my life.

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Service Design 2011

Hosted by the folks over at UX Australia, Service Design 2011 took place in Sydney in May 2011 and represents Australia’s first dedicated full-day Service Design conference

For those unfamiliar with Service Design, wikipedia defines it as:

“the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service, in order to improve its quality, the interaction between service provider and customers and the customer’s experience”

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