NFC | The eCCOUNT Revolution

Jonny Darling Insight Leave a Comment

Typos & grammar aside, Conor Pope’s Irish Times article about pre-paid money cards, or “eccounts” and the expectations for Near-Field-Communication (NFC) is illuminating. I hadn’t pared back O2’s rationale for getting into this space but it makes sense that they should look to diversify from their call credits “cash-cow” to mobile payments. As always in technology, it is Intellectual Property that mobile service co.’s are after. Those who build the network, control the flow.

As with telephone lines of old, where it was a matter of erecting poles nationwide, mobile carriers look to set up exclusive partnerships with payment gateways and credit facilities such as VISA. They plan to develop future NFC infrastructure by agreeing corporate alliances where they bolt this alternative payment service on to point-of-sale appliances  such as cash-registers, product scanners, bar-codes & QR technology. A golden rule in technology too is that Adoption defines market Leaders (ref. social network effect). That the market will adopt this new approach to payment (replacing material cash/plastic for digital) is assumed, so the race is on to build a networked community. First entrepreneurs advance the model, then financial institutions, then payment facilitators, then vendors and then, finally, WE WILL! This is a sector of technology that we at Surf Merchant Digital are passionate about. It’s going to be a huge growth area. Just look at this blog dedicated to aggregating articles about NFC. They’re all at it on a corporate level, IBM included, yet we as paying customers have yet to experience the revolution bar in niche examples of innovation such as Insomnia Coffee’s ZAPA. Just wait until Tesco come on board. Clubcards & Tesco Points will be replaced by eccounts, mark my words! If your enterprise is built on NFC technology, we’d love to help bring it to market. Let us buy you a coffee :-)

And by the way, I think O2 are really underestimating us if they think we need stabilisers for our credit cards. Can you imaging handing over a “money card” (which a Laser-card practically  is already)? Seems to me stating the obvious but basically it implies… Incompetence!! ;~)