By Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC
Zooz, a global payment technology provider headquartered in New York City, hosted a Twitter roundtable on May 13, 2015, titled Payment Due: The Year-to-Date in Payment Tech. Listed in alphabetical order, panelists included:
Moderator @Zoozpayments introduced the panelists and welcomed the audience, stating, "If you are not one of our experts, feel free to introduce yourself when you post." He also reminded everyone to include hashtag #paytech2015 in all responses to ensure that comments would be visible in the live chat.
Then the discussion began with the question, "What are your thoughts on Apple Pay in light of the ongoing problem of merchant confusion and recent revelations of fraud?"
Apple Pay has been a frequent topic of discussion in The Green Sheet, both in the magazine and online forums. In fact, the article "Is the domino effect accelerating Apple Pay adoption?" appears in the news section of this issue of the magazine.
Here's what some panelists had to say in response to the question:
Rey Pasinli @ReyPasinli
Apple will work out the bugs. It's only a matter of time before world domination. #paytech2015
Oren Levy @orenzooz
#paytech2015 I would love to use #Applepay but it's hard to find merchants that accept it.
Faisal Khan @babushka99
@Zoozpayments I wish everything was like the secure enclave with touch ID and near-field pay! We'll get there ... eventually. #paytech2015
Dale Laszig @DSLdirect
#paytech2015 Apple Pay is modeling the way for many other mPOS schemes: simplicity, security, user appeal, support of card brands.
Ben Yaniv Chechik @yanivch
There are many reasons #Applepay isn't mainstream at the POS – mostly has to do with market education. #paytech2015
Ben Yaniv Chechik @yanivch
Habit is really influential especially when it comes to payments. - #applepay #paytech2015
Kathy Coonan @KathyCoonan
#paytech2015 Most fraud has come from FIs not validating the yellow path on #ApplePay, we are seeing #MCX Merchants starting to accept.
After the panelists weighed in on Apple Pay, moderator @Zoozpayments concluded, "There are several hurdles to overcome and a long way to go for Apple Pay. Payments changes take time."
@Zoozpayments went on to summarize subsequent questions in a recap. Sometimes the panel's responses generated follow-up questions. For example, this inquiry came in response to the first question: "What about MCX, in light of its recent CEO replacement, following Best Buy's decision to accept Apple Pay?"
The Green Sheet article in this issue explores the growing adoption of Apple Pay in the market, most notably with MCX member Best Buy Inc.'s stated plans to implement Apple Pay in all its stores and the news that Discover Financial Services' Discover Network would be added to the Apple Pay platform..
As other panelists shared insights about the troubled history of Merchant Customer Exchange, the discussion began to resemble Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. Apple Pay boldly entered the market in October 2014, and in less than three days 1 million credit cards were registered on its platform.
In contrast, MCX has yet to launch widely after its 2012 inception. A data breach when it was still in test mode, exclusivity terms that prohibit participating retail members to accept Apple Pay, and the swift exit of a CEO following Best Buy's embracing of Apple Pay could bode ill for the company.
"Very hard road at this point for MCX, window is closing rapidly – especially if exclusion agreements are ending," tweeted James Wester.
Other topics of interest included speculation about new technology hitting the market, including Apple Watch, Jawbone's fitness tracker, and Connected Car Commerce, which was developed by Visa Inc., Pizza Hut and Accenture PLC. "Do you think any of these alternative payment methods have a future, or are they just gimmicks? And why?" @Zoozpayments asked.
Michelle Evans tweeted, "What is most exciting about players like Apple and Samsung is the real possibility of a universal global #mobilepay system."
Rey Pasinli went a step further, stating, "Wearable tech combined with biometric ID will eliminate virtually all POS fraud."
Some panelists called a number of these new form factors gimmicks; others saw them as payment schemes of the future that will eventually replace traditional plastic payment cards.
Simultaneous, parallel discussions among panelists added another dimension to the real-time chat. Panelists would consider each other's comments and re-tweet, favorite, challenge assumptions and even follow each other on Twitter throughout the discussion. It was as if we were in the same room, having one discussion with multiple sidebars.
The conversation had to fit into Twitter's format of 140 characters per tweet, which made the responses concise and a bit playful. Emoticons, abbreviations and sound bites were the order of the day.
When the hour-long chat was over there were warm thank you's all around to Zooz and the participating panelists. In my final tweet, I vowed to try to capture the freshness and energy of the event. Zooz revealed plans to "storify the results and post them on the Zooz blog."
As she reflected on the Twitter Roundtable, Kathy Coonan said she was most impressed by the high level of knowledge and broad experience represented by the panel. "One of the biggest challenges facing the payments space is adoption, by merchants, consumers and issuers, of technology like mobile payments, EMV and NFC," she said. "It will be interesting to watch and see who will win out in this space."
Dale S. Laszig, Staff Writer at The Green Sheet and Managing Director at DSL Direct LLC, is a payments industry journalist and content provider. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @DSLdirect.
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