Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Payment Systems Must Increase Efficiency


Although it would perhaps be nice not to have to carry a wallet, that’s pretty low on my personal hierarchy of wishes. In general, my personal payments system works just fine. Almost every store I shop in accepts my two preferred means of payment: cash, or bank cards. Thus, as a consumer and technologist, I am only interest in new payment methods if they meet the following two tests:
  1. They take cost out of the system. I don’t want new for the sake of new and cool. The new thing has to be inherently more cost-efficient.
  2. They have to cut costs for consumers. I want lower swipe fees (or maybe “wave fees” would be the more appropriate term ;) ).
#1 is a necessary but not sufficient condition for #2. I am tired of stuff that is new, but more expensive. I am particularly thinking of service charges to ticketing, such as Ticketron. Or having to pay extra to file your taxes electronically.

POSTSCRIPT: If it sounds like I am a skeptic, it because I am. Just saw this article from the current Consumer Reports, which tends to bear out my skepticism (digital wallet's won't save you money).

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