Being the impatient type (only on some occasions!) I was interested to see a press release from Chase about their new Blink card. In a nutshell, Chase have released a new type of Credit Card – a contactless one. What does this mean for you? Your payment experience has change dramatically for the better. No swiping, no printing, no signing, no PIN entering. Just hold your card near the reader machine at the checkout, wait for the light to blink green and off you go. Great.

What interests me here is not just the appropriate use of technology but how we, the consumer, hold our time is such high value. I know that I do and I’m often criticised for it, I hate waiting, I don’t like being party to something the I think is inefficient because I want to change it.

The press release has the statistic that transaction times can be reduced by as much as 40%. This does sound great but it’s interesting to remember that this is 40% on a transaction time that was only ever measured in seconds anyway. Again, re-enforcing how much we value our time or, as cynics may suggest, how impatient we are.

Is this really the future of payments though? I do think that we will have a future without cash and so this is certainly a step in the right direction. But what we have here is a piece of technology that can only do one thing – pay. OK, two things you can use it to scrape the frost from your car windscreen. Seriously though, we can’t have a future of one hit wonders, we need multi-function. The future is mobile. We need this functionality embedded into our mobile devices. note “devices” and not phones, we shouldn’t call them phones anymore as this is now only a part of their overall functionality and for may, the part they use the least.

For this to be truly successful and for all of us (consumers and banks alike) we need to collaborate. Please let’s not have another bank go off to have a competitive card with essentially the same functionality with an exceptionally minor tweak that will then be used as a differentiator. Let’s have Banks A, B & C collaborate with Chase, acknowledge that this is a great idea and then pool their respective talent to make it better for them all to exploit. Winning by Sharing.

Closing words on impatience

a. Can someone please invent a lift/elevator with doors that close as soon as I press the “door close” button.

b. Why, when retrieving my mobile voicemail am I greeted with “Welcome to your voicemail, to do this press a, to do that press b, to do something else press zero”. I just called my voicemail, what do you think I want to do!

c. Why, when I call my mobile provider am I asked to “enter my mobile number”, then taking through various levels of options and then when I finally get to speak with an agent their first question is “what’s your mobile number”? A cynic might suggest that their CTI system is smoke & mirrors, not me though. 😉

Closing words on technology in banks

i. How is it that we have technology such as that described above, but I still can’t transfer money from my Bank of America account to that of another BoA customer only and must “cut a check”. As the Americans would say, “What’s that about…”?