Payments 2.0 is about the new digital payment solutions that aim to replace cash, facilitate online payments and enable mobile payments.
These solutions are very diverse because they use various technologies to (re-)invent a complex payment value chain.
Here are a few (overlapping) categories of payments 2.0:
- Virtual currencies: such as BitCoin, or Facebook Credits used to pay virtual goods (i.e. games) on Facebook
- Mobile payments: Any payment is called "mobile" if an account is credited or debited using a mobile phone. This covers a large variety of options.
- Contactless payments: most talked about but not yet widespread. Contactless payment use close-range wireless technology such as NFC (near-field communication) or Bluetooth to quickly pay small amounts in "tap and go" situations such as transporation and fast food. NFC payment solutions include Google Wallet, PayPass from MasterCard and payWave from Visa.
- Bar code or QR-code-based mobile payments such as LevelUp's trigger payment through taking a picture of a Bar-code or of a QR-code with the mobile phone.
- Other forms of (remote) mobile payments include SMS-based mobile payments like boxPAY's, quite widespread in underbanked countries. Strictly speaking, SMS payment are "contactless" but the expression is generally reserved for tap and go payments. One sometimes opposes "remote" mobile payments to "proximity" (close range, tap and go) mobile payments.
- Digital wallets: Mobile payments, and in particular contactless payments, are combined with a digital wallet such as PayPal's, Starbuck's, Google Wallet or ISIS' wallet (both in the US) which is the repository of the user account information. The wallet can also store a prepaid amount.
- Apple's PassBook is a special form of mobile wallet used to hold multiple payment card and loyalty card information.
- Mobile card readers are dongles hooked on the phone via the sound jack, the USB port or the SD slot, such as those provided, sometimes for free, by Square, Pay Anywhere, iZettle, PayPal Here, Groupon and many others.
- Mobile POS: Mobile Point-of-sale systems, also called mobile checkout/cash registers, enable merchants to track and manage payments on mobile devices. Examples are Square Register, Ingenico, GoPago, Verifone's PayWare...
- Device versus cloud-based account identification: Identification can be done through access to a physical storage device such as the SIM card (ex. ISIS wallet) or an SD card (then called the secure element), or via an application 'in the cloud' (ex. PayPal).
- Local or in-store mobile payments: The first digital wallet was PayPal's online payment wallet. PayPal now wants to be used in physical retail stores and service companies through it mobile solution PayPal Here. In-store payment is also sometimes called "local".
- Mobile payments can also be used to shop online in a non mobile setting, for example to avoid inputing a credit card information online (see Buyster, Card.io),
- Carrier billing: Carrier billing is payment (mobile or online) charged to the user's mobile operator phone bill (see Bango, Boku, MoPay). Facebook and PayPal offer carrier billing, too. It's mostly used for gaming. Good luck to parents!
- Direct transfer payments: mobile payments such as Dwolla's directly debit the bank account of the payer, bypassing credit card networks. Dwolla is said to be mobile because it uses a mobile phone application, but it can also be used on the Web for online payments.
- Peer-to-peer payments: enable anyone to accept card payments. For exemple you don't have to be a merchant to buy a Square reader (You get it free if you're a merchant).
- Bill payments: are mobile and/or Web solutions that enable the payment of invoices.
- Remote check deposit: enables users to credit their bank account or ther digital wallet by taking a picture of a check.
The main challenges of payments 2.0 are more business than technical. They are:
- to win consumer and merchant acceptance: it's not easy to provide a satisfying user experience that motivates consumers and merchants to switch away from their existing habits. For example, the security of new payment systems is more easily called into question than the (however very flawed) security of existing ones.
- to create a powerful distribution and servicing network: somebody has to push new payment solutions into the hands of both merchants and consumers and support them.
- to find an economic equation that satisfies enough critical players in the payment ecosystem.
The latter is in my view the main hurdle for the deployment of payment 2.0. Payments can be a very profitable business. To caricature the issue: Banks, credit card companies, technology providers, new entrants ... all fight (each other) for a bigger slice of the profits.
Merchants and consumers also want a fair deal. In that respect, 2011 was a turning point because companies such as Square and Dwolla introduced payment solutions that have zero set-up costs and a low(er) commission (interchange fee) for merchants.
I hope this helps readers navigate this topic. Thank you for pointing out errors in comments.