For those of us who focus on the potential impact of mobile payments on consumer-to-merchant and consumer-to-financial institution relationships, there is no end of material to examine. An evolving ecosystem, there are niches that both new players and payment industry incumbents want to occupy and defend. But this is not a wild west without rules and precedent. There are regulations to guide its development.
Some of what is happening here resembles the evolution of Internet e-commerce and the payments infrastructure that’s grown to support it. But mobile and mobile communications add business and regulatory complexity. A whole new group of huge businesses, the mobile network operators, are involved, bringing with them some new regulatory agencies like the FCC.
BNA’s Paul Barbagallo has written an excellent review of the multiple regulatory concerns and regulatory bodies who could affect how this ecosystem evolves. There are many moving parts here and only one piece involves technology.
“What (we) will see is an evolution of regulation to meet these very quickly evolving business models,” Robert Pile, a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, told BNA. “At the same time, it doesn’t seem to be really standing in the way of [companies] bringing these products and services to market, and it’s not like things that are being done are so radically different than what has happened in the past. A payment made or a money transfer via cellphone still would trip up a number of regulations that would have existed had it been a different form of transmission of that payment. Now we’ve put a cellphone in the middle of it.”