The ETA Goes Mobile

by George Peabody 0

The Electronic Transacticon Association isjumping into the middle of one of the most important andchallenging questions for the payments industry. How should mobilepayments evolve? The ETA has formed the Mobile Payments Committee,which includes the four leading mobile network operators, the cardbrands, Google, Isis, Intuit, VeriFone, and PayPal.

There are no end of issues and the committee members representmost, if not all, mobile payment stakeholders.

The trade group Electronic TransactionsAssociation today announced the Mobile Payments Committee, a taskforce that includes representatives from all four of the major U.S.carriers, as well as others developing mobile paymentssolutions.

Chaired by Jackie Moran, Verizon’s executive director of federalrelations, the committee will serve as a way to develop policy andbusiness strategy for the mobile payments industry. Among theissues the committee is tackling, it will help participants figureout the complex business relationships necessary to make mobilepayment options interoperable; help legislators and regulatorsunderstand how to develop mobile payments public policy; andeducate consumers and merchants about the benefits of mobilepayments.

“There are a lot of different pathways to enable consumers to usemobile payments,” ETA CEO Jason Oxman told VentureBeat in aninterview this morning. “The idea behind the committee is to getall the players around the table, ask everyone to take off theircompany hats and put on their industry hats, and talk about whatissues need to be resolved.”
The committee’s members are composed largely of WashingtonD.C.-based company representatives. One of the committee’s goals isto tell Congress that too much regulatory oversight on mobilepayments at this early stage of mobile payment evolution willstifle innovation and market development.

Satisfying the often conflicting interests of those on thecommittee as well as industry stakeholders not stronglyrepresented, such as individual issuers, will be no easy task. Thebusiness model conflicts around NFC-based mobile payments persist.Mobile payments is an ecosystem-wide development and its long-termsuccess requires ecosystem-wide cooperation. This is an opportunityfor cooperation. The Smart Card Alliance has just formed the EMVImplementation Forum, an organization with the purpose of smoothingthe 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 thisdone” payment system evolution.

If the ETA’s Mobile Payments Committee members are serious aboutcooperation, and not just lobbying for their own point of view bothon the committee and in the halls of Congress, this will become avaluable force. If not, well, not so much.