May 21, 2006

From “loyalty” to “enhanced payment” to simply “payment”

Listening to the Chinese interpreter’s soundtrack of my talk in Shanghai last week, Adrian noticed that the interpreter didn’t mention anything even close to “enhanced payment”. After all the pressure I’ve put on everyone at Welcome to drop the L word (loyalty) and replace it with the much more expansive concept of enhanced payment, Adrian was surprised that I wasn’t using the word “enhanced” anymore.

To me, enhanced payment was always a transitional tool to help us get away from the limited concept of loyalty. The real objective was to eventually drop “enhanced” and simply talk about payment. Not payment as it is now of course, but as it should be. To get there, our people first had to learn that they were already developing and supplying payment systems. Not basic, boring, traditional payment systems, but something tremendously richer, more complex and sophisticated. It has taken us close to three years to get through the transition, but the fact that my talks don’t mention “enhanced” anymore makes me realize that we might almost be there.

Our real message today: “Traditional EMV payment systems are ridiculously limited and simple, offering nothing other than offline PIN verification. Welcome unleashes EMV so payment becomes much more powerful, at essentially the same cost. Why should a bank deploy a not very smart EMV system when it can deploy a much smarter payment solution that produces much more value for everyone?”

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