MCX Highlights Merchant Ignorance

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and certainly read quite a few pieces as well. Nothing I’ve read about MCX seems like a positive improvement for the consumer shopping experience.

MCX is the Merchant Customer Exchange and it’s a consortium of some of the largest merchants like Sears, Walmart, Target, CVS and Old Navy to name a few.  That in itself isn’t a bad thing, but their intention is to control the method of payment in the store with a new mobile payment system (and likely card) that links up through ACH (your checking account and debit card) to bring on a lower fee structure after paying the vig to Visa and MasterCard for so many years. I get that they want to pay less and earn more. That’s basic business … But the process by which we’ve paid for things has been in place long enough that it’s the standard. When there’s an opportunity for progress and improvement we should try to disrupt and evolve standards, but this change is actually a step backwards. MCX is forcing consumers to pay in a particular way with merchants with whom we as consumers have maintained particular financial relationships over the years. By removing credit and forcing debit and direct withdrawals we lose a pretty massive method for purchase. Not that we aren’t generally irresponsible – carrying far too many cards and open lines of credit – but these merchants aren’t trying to develop a corrective or instructional behavior. They simply no longer want to pay the swipe tax associated with accepting credit.

Beyond the base fee issue is another related to data and who gets access and potential control of the customer relationship.  Typically in a transaction, the full detail view is only accessible by the merchant and the customer and MCX wants to dive more deeply into identifying us through very personal information like your social security and drivers license number. Given the continuous stream of merchants with data breaches, this is more than a bit unsettling. While it’s not even available to use yet MCX has already had data stolen from their web site … A pretty stellar start. While merchants and banks have had breaches, the payment networks have not (yet) though their view of us as individuals is more limited since they are “simply” the network in which the data travels with some added logic to combat fraud.

MCX has demanded that all members use their system and only their system to force the standard across the group. This means that initially you will have the pleasure of scanning QR codes, after first unlocking your phone, finding and opening the app and ensuring the funding mechanism in place is what you want. Sounds really fluid and frictionless doesn’t it? Compared to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Square, we are looking at a considerably less elegant more closed system. It’s also the first payment system that actually removes existing options

Given the lack of options and the considerably the deeper personal data demand we might as well start going back to carrying cash … last I checked it works everywhere – unlike MCX which might as well be a new form of currency no one wants. There’s always Amazon …

Google Fit vs Apple Health

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Google Fit was only released today and so far there aren’t any additional services to connect for data, but it’s considerably easier to understand when you look at the initial dashboard.  I can see clearly what I’ve been up to and know where I stand in context of my goal (1hr default).  I’d love to get my data from Jawbone, Strava and others going in here as well …

In the next screenshot I’ve tapped for graph details and really like how my activities are aligned so I can get a sense of how the day has progressed.  I find the Apple Health graphics to be pretty weak and the data to be less than helpful without a lot of taps.

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App Bundles should get editorial curation

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Just as the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 were arriving , The Verge posted a piece sharing the key games you might want to consider and over the weekend I finally returned to it and read through. For each game on the list you have to click over the App Store to install or buy and then return to the piece if you want to continue.

This is a pretty awkward process requiring a bunch of home button multi-taps and swipes as you progress. An opportunity to streamline this exists with app bundles … Though currently closed as far as I can tell to 3rd parties. Instead much as you might find a readlist quick save option, a quick install (and confirm) option would be terrific. These don’t even need to show in the App Store directly unless a certain level of popularity is achieved but instead could be served a landing pages specific to iTunes for quick access and even affiliate fees to be earned.

Apple tends to not share like this, but who knows maybe they’re thinking of something similar and we will see more advanced list making and purchase / download opportunities soon.

Alipay Epass enables simplified ecomm for Chinese consumers on US sites

You have to respect Alibaba and their Alipay service. The latest enhancement called Epass is a full-service system to enable cross border commerce. Now Chinese consumers can pay for US brands using their existing Alipay accounts and everything is taken care of ensuring proper brand goods delivered in a predictable manner.

Pass users will see an EPass payment option when they check out on a retailer’s site. Chinese shoppers pay in yuan using their Alipay account and Alipay transmits the payment to merchants in 14 currencies via 180 international financial institutions. Customs duties are calculated at checkout.

Alibaba started Alipay in 2004 to facilitate payments on its websites and spun off the unit in 2011 into a company controlled by Alibaba Chief Executive Jack Ma. Because it was spun off, Alipay was not part of Alibaba’s mammoth $25-billion initial public offering of stock in September, the largest ever.

Alipay says EPass can provide retailers with payment-processing services, as well as shipping logistics and marketing services as needed. Alipay will take a cut of each transaction but did not specify how much the percentage is.

via LA Times

Rogers + Netflix = old media

Unless I’m missing something here, this content deal between Rogers and Netflix might as well be delivered on. Region encoded DVD. Restricting access by country for internet
streaming is remarkably traditional.

Perhaps the other deals that have been struck for Orange is the New Black and Arrested Development might also be region blocked as well actually … Are we making progress or just rebuilding the matrix again?

a multi-tasked stream of consciousness or perhaps just emails to myself