Are we going to do it all over again?


Back in the mid 90′s, the banks all embarked on rolling out corporate and home banking portals, seeing this as a major enabler of getting closer to the end customer.

What do we see today? Each of the banks runs their own infrastructure, at large cost,  to enable their clients to do day to day business with them.

Are the clients happy with this?

I’ll tell you about my experience.

Every Saturday morning, I sit in front on my computer to pay my bills. I have 11 bank accounts  in 5 different banks. I thus deal with 5 different web sites and banking systems, with 5 different security schemes (physical tokens except, for 2 banks, userid/password schemes) and 5 different ways (and associated fees) to do cross-border and intra-Europe (SEPA) wires.

I’ll let you guess if I’m happy with this.

In the case of corporate CFOs, some of them are luckier, as they can, as a corporation, subscribe to SWIFT and have a single window access to all of their banks.  Perhaps one day all of us as persons we could benefit from this.

But this is not the purpose of this post. I wanted to put in perspective the home/corporate web banking example to highlight another big shift ahead of us: mobile payments .

So my question is:

Are we going to do it all over again for mobile payments? Are we going to end up with proprietary, bespoke systems developed over and over again by banks? (or, in fact, without banks?)

This is the right moment to ask the question. And the right forum to answer this question is the upcoming Innotribe event on “Mobile Payments: connecting the unbanked” in Mumbai, on 1-2 June 2011.

So, if you think the banking industry can do better, you know where to come and put your opinion on the table.

See you in Mumbai.

Kosta
(@copernicc)