The ETA Goes Mobile
August 10, 2012
The Electronic Transacticon Association is jumping into the middle of one of the most important and challenging questions for the payments industry. How should mobile payments evolve? The ETA has formed the Mobile Payments Committee, which includes the four leading mobile network operators, the card brands, Google, Isis, Intuit, VeriFone, and PayPal.
There are no end of issues and the committee members represent most, if not all, mobile payment stakeholders.
The trade group Electronic Transactions Association today announced the Mobile Payments Committee, a task force that includes representatives from all four of the major U.S. carriers, as well as others developing mobile payments solutions.
Chaired by Jackie Moran, Verizon’s executive director of federal relations, the committee will serve as a way to develop policy and business strategy for the mobile payments industry. Among the issues the committee is tackling, it will help participants figure out the complex business relationships necessary to make mobile payment options interoperable; help legislators and regulators understand how to develop mobile payments public policy; and educate consumers and merchants about the benefits of mobile payments.
“There are a lot of different pathways to enable consumers to use mobile payments,” ETA CEO Jason Oxman told VentureBeat in an interview this morning. “The idea behind the committee is to get all the players around the table, ask everyone to take off their company hats and put on their industry hats, and talk about what issues need to be resolved.”
The committee's members are composed largely of Washington D.C.-based company representatives. One of the committee's goals is to tell Congress that too much regulatory oversight on mobile payments at this early stage of mobile payment evolution will stifle innovation and market development.
Satisfying the often conflicting interests of those on the committee as well as industry stakeholders not strongly represented, such as individual issuers, will be no easy task. The business model conflicts around NFC-based mobile payments persist. Mobile payments is an ecosystem-wide development and its long-term success requires ecosystem-wide cooperation. This is an opportunity for cooperation. The Smart Card Alliance has just formed the EMV Implementation Forum, an organization with the purpose of smoothing the deployment of EMV-based smartcard technology into the U.S. market. It too has most of the stakeholders necessary. Perhaps, this is the beginning of a much needed trend toward "let's get this done" payment system evolution.
If the ETA's Mobile Payments Committee members are serious about cooperation, and not just lobbying for their own point of view both on the committee and in the halls of Congress, this will become a valuable force. If not, well, not so much.