The payments space is undergoing a serious transformation, thanks in part to the release, or at least, announcement, of Apple’s new system.
Over the past several weeks, the following announcements have occurred, creating a whirlwind of news and speculation as to what may happen next:
- Apple announced Apply Pay. So far the system is only set to be released in the United States, but it will eventually reach other countries.
- PayPal announced it will split from eBay and form its own, separate company. Both companies say the split will allow PayPal the ability to grow and innovate.
- PayPal also said it would start accepting Bitcoins for transactions, which are processed through select third parties.
- Square announced it would also start allowing merchants to accept Bitcoin payments through its new POS system.
- Just this morning, Square announced it had raised $US150 million which values the company at around $US6 billion, according to TechCrunch.
- Some reports have indicated Facebook may be considering allowing users to share money over their Messenger system by integrating debit cards.
And now, overnight, Bitcoin prices have dipped below $300 for the first time in several months after the release of more than $US7 million worth of coins selling for $300 each.
Given the amount of advancements happening in this space, it’s a clear a picture is being presented of a new future for the payments industry. PayPal, which is working with Samsung to provide payments on the company’s hardware, may act as an alternative to Apply Pay for Android users.
However, the popularity of Apple Pay as a replacement for plastic forms of payment is yet to be tested.
While nothing may be clear in terms of a pure winner in this space, what’s more encouraging is the amount of sheer competition and activity. While a winner may not yet emerge, it’s clear that advancements are being mode both for consumers and businesses. New methods of processing and even transaction are appearing not just for consumers, but businesses as well.
Consider this article from CoinDesk, which suggests Bitcoins could be used in order to buy information from the Internet of Things – essentially, turning that database of connected devices into a huge data marketplace.
Short of a massive consumer backlash, the payments system is at least moving towards a more innovative focus, allowing all sorts of connections and bridges between tech and consumer. The most popular, mainstream solution may not yet be found – and a worldwide transformation of payments and monetary technology is still a long way off. But for now, the focus on improving the consumer side of money processing through technological innovation is a curious space. In this competition, hopefully, better products will emerge.