The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

The “Social Progress Imperative” (Michael Porter) rates US very low on basics

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Michael Porter from Harvard and The Social Progress Imperative has released the Social Progress Index 2014.  The findings are revealing and in some respects stunning.  This index is not based on money spent;  it is based on outcomes, such as % of children who attend primary school, and other education statistics.

The result assesses most countries in the world but I took a subset of countries and only two index summaries, i.e. access to basic knowledge (think % of children at school) and access to information and communication (think % of people with mobile phones).

US is very low considering its apparent leadership position in the world.


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Written by Colin Henderson

April 20, 2014 at 22:06

Posted in Uncategorized

Breaking Banks–new bank explosion coming

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As reported in “This is Money” imagethe Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed 29 firms have applied for authorisation to become banks in the UK including authority to offer current accounts, with Tesco, Virgin and Metro named.  Others mentioned in this indepth piece are FaceBooks plans for banking in Ireland.

Worth the read.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 18, 2014 at 11:47

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A great description of transformative payments | David Marcus

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This is one of the clearest posts I have seen describing next generation payment experience.  The emphasis on the word experience.  Payments shifted from something that interrupts and makes you line up and wait, to something that simply happens in the background; in particular with the BLE example described in this extract.

Three Trends That Might Transform The Retail Payments Experience | David Marcus President Paypal

For example, we have a pilot running in our on-campus Starbucks that combines Beacon, with an app built for the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2, and Gear Fit devices. Walk into the area covered by the Beacon, your watch notifies you you’ve checked-in, the barista, greets you by name because your photo shows up on the point-of-sale system, and when she rings you up, you get another push notification. Tap on the watch to confirm the payment, and go. This is one of the most transformative payments experience I’ve had. No wallet. The phone never leaves my pocket. And I’m in control.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 18, 2014 at 10:12

Posted in Uncategorized

The MintChip experiment appears to be over and is being sold off

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About 18 months ago I attended the introduction of Mintchip by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Royal Canadian Mint takes on digital cash

Mintchip is a project of the Royal Canadian Mint designed to provide an infrastructure for payments that would replace cash.

But now in a dramatic change of strategy, they are intending to divest Mintchip to the private sector.  This is disappointing.  In the article it is clear progress was being made, and alliances arranged with security and terminal vendors.  It is unclear what the future will hold for MintChip now.

It is especially disappointing because government involvement was one of the attractive aspects because it made the concept trustable and a suitable replacement for cash.  For me it set up a perfect real world comparison to Bitcoin and I discussed that here along several levels such as Government or not, P2P or not, unique ‘coins’ or not, new currency vs new transmission of existing currency.

I wonder (speculation here) if industry lobbyists got involved here, is it just to experimental for the Government, or did someone decide it is not the role of government to develop money transmission methods.

Too bad.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 7, 2014 at 12:29

Posted in Uncategorized

Game changing banking technology announcement

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Once in a while I am fortunate enough to get a hold of embargoed material.  This one is expected to be released to the public in about 1 month but I was able to get exclusive rights to release this now.

Here is a senior management communication from a well known bank with what I can only describe as game changing technology for financial services.  In a few days I will be able to provide additional exclusive detail, but meantime this is just too good not to share.

Enjoy this internal management letter.

To All Management:

Many of you are engaged in our scheduled enhancements to our online and mobile offering.  However there are some highly confidential elements as some  you know which had to be held back until we received regulatory approval.  We now have that approval.

First some background.  Technology is rapidly evolving and we are all very aware of that nowadays.  Part of that is the rapid expansion of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or Drone) technology in silicon valley.  You may also have noticed that FaceBook is directly involved with drones to provide enhanced internet services, and in fact they have purchased an English drone company recently.

Our online banking strategy was always intended to be competitive rather than leading edge and its time to revisit that approach.  This new initiative which I am going to share required us to work very closely with OSFI, PIPEDA and Interac as well as some big players in silicon valley, to gain approval before we could share more broadly.  I believe this will literally take online banking to new heights.

We can now announce our intention to be the first bank to deliver banking by drone.  We believe this will frankly make mobile banking look like yesterday’s news. It will be branded Drone Interac Payment (DIP).

More to follow.  Meantime there is much preparation required, primarily for employees and it begins with you.

From a training perspective, all employees will be required to receive advanced UAV training so that they will be able to direct the drones from the desktop.  Management will be first to receive this advanced training.  You will be receiving a new monitor and joy-stick to accommodate drone piloting.

Good luck with this and any questions, please contact your friendly Chief Drone Interac Payment Pilot contact (C-DIPP) name redacted.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 1, 2014 at 01:07

Posted in Uncategorized

“mobile-first, cloud-first world” | finally a new Microsoft

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Its been some time (decades?) since I had anything positive to say about Microsoft. Nadella in a few short weeks is setting the tone and direction that will change the company.  The iPad app delivered on a non Microsft OS this week was a big deal.  Now this mobile-first, cloud-first world statement is a sharp right turn away from a Microsoft centric world.

Satya Nadella email to employees on tuning our organization | Microsoft News Center

Today marks the start of another big week for Microsoft as we gear up for the Build conference in San Francisco. We continue to push on the momentum from last week’s news about how we will thrive and grow in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, as shown by the great Office apps for iOS, rich new APIs for developers and our new Enterprise Mobility Suite.

The new organisation reflects Cloud, Gaming, and Devices.  It remains to be seen if that works but it is a clear strategy that is reflective of the dynamic changes in technology during the last 5 – 7 years.  I say good luck to Nadella.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 31, 2014 at 22:53

Posted in Uncategorized

IRS determines Bitcoin is property not currency

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This is a fascinating ruling on the Bitcoin argument as a currency.  The US IRS has noted that Bitcoins are not fungible, which is one of the features of cash.  Each Bitcoin is unique which also implies unique tax treatment.  Whereas cash can be together in bills or in an account and it doesn’t matter which one is spent first.

This doesn’t stop it being used as a payment medium, but it is not the same as cash.

Bitcoin Tax Ruling Credit Slips

The IRS ruled that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are property, not currency.  This means that they are subject to capital gains taxation.  And that means that Bitcoins are not fungible.  The price at which a particular Bitcoin was acquired (and this is traceable) determines the capital gains on that particular Bitcoin when spent.  If I spend Bitcoin A, which I bought at $10, but is now worth $400, I’ve got a very different tax treatment than if I spend Bitcoin B, which I bought at $390.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 31, 2014 at 08:34

Posted in Uncategorized


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