Apple and Google are launching their credit cards. What’s going on?
I guess this was just a matter of time due to the fintech boom. But why go towards a card? Trend seems to be towards cardless payment methods like “mobile money”. But for active Apple Pay and Google Pay users having an old fashion card may be beneficial because the latest payment mechanisms are not yet implemented in everywhere. At least with the card these users can still use their available balance. There’s not a day at my work that no one mentions “digital wallet”, “mobile money” or any of their combinations. What can I say — “Fintech, so hot right now”. 😂
I live in a country where everyone has a bank account and online banking. So, I was a bit surprised when I learned how big thing mobile money is around the world. Especially in the emerging markets where teleoperators are driving the mobile money concepts and providing payment platforms and solutions for people who cannot get bank accounts or in countries where online banking is not that common. For example in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda 66% of the adults use mobile money and there are 690 million registered mobile money accounts worldwide. Now that I’m looking at the numbers I understand why Apple and Google are interested of moving into these markets. But then again the physical card is not aimed for these markets. The card is for the mature markets.
Actually, what really surprises me is the Microsoft’s absence from the mobile money markets. “Why?” — You may ask. Because lately Bill Gates has been the number one mobile money advocate for developing countries. He’s really preaching how mobile money will reduce poverty and he has some good points. But the fact is that the operators are not banks and currently they are doing what banks should be doing. Meaning, the mobile money industry is at the moment widely unregulated and this adds risks to the users.
We are living interesting times. Let’s see how this evolves. I’m interested to see will people adapt these cards and thus it support the original “mobile wallet” use case. Comment do you use mobile money and are you interested of having a credit card from Apple and Google.