Welcome to What’s Trending In Payments – a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines – for better or for worse – this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.
TOPIC ONE: Isis Announces It Will Launch Nationally … Some Day
Why It’s Hot
Isis got the payments world all in a tizzy on Wednesday, revealing that its mobile wallet platform will soon break out of the confines of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, to become available nationwide. The joint venture released some interesting statistics from its pilot program as well: namely that on average, active Isis users paid via NFC tapping 10 times a month, and two-thirds received offers and deals from an average of seven brands.
NFC-lovers are interpreting those figures as a sign of Isis’ mobile potential. Those of us who are a bit more skeptical are wondering if those numbers truly reveal.
Yet, what’s most interesting about this latest Isis announcement is how much buzz it’s generated without really saying anything at all. Other than a verbal commitment to launch nationally “later this year,” Isis didn’t truly offer us much on Wednesday. And, as we’ve seen in the past, meeting deadlines is sometimes a struggle for the mobile commerce initiative.
Ah, yes, active users may tap 10 times a month, but how many of those active users are there again, she asks politely? The most bizarre aspect of this “national” non-announcement announcement is the notion that Isis can go national when we all know NFC isn’t. I guess we now know what the real Isis, goddess of fertility, will be doing in the next few months – cranking out NFC terminals enabled with the Isis spec!
I like this tweet because it illustrates the diversity of opinion you’ll run into when discussing Isis with those in payments. Some say it’s doomed, some say it’s the future. Some say it’s too late, other’s say it’s too early. About the only industry consensus we see with Isis is that there is no industry consensus.
Other than Isis stinks at meeting self-imposed deadlines. On that we should all agree.
TOPIC TWO: Bringing mCommerce To The Bathroom
Why It’s Hot
Our editor Pete Rizzo penned this piece on “bathroom commerce” on Monday that was equal parts informative and amusing. According to a recent SeeWhy survey, 10 percent of U.S. tablet owners admit to having made a purchase while using the facilities. And an earlier 11Mark study from 2012 showed that 75 percent of Americans admit to using their mobile devices while “freshening up.”
If you’re a germaphobe who’s ever borrowed a phone or tablet, this might freak you out. But have no fear: while bathroom buying may be more widespread that one would think, odds are much better that your friends and family are buying in their living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms instead.
The day that analysts start reporting t-Commerce – aka toilet commerce – will be a sad day indeed. But you know someone will, it’s just a matter of time.
The Internet makes it way too easy to overshare.
TOPIC THREE: Friends Don’t Let Friend Shop Drunk
Why It’s Hot
Speaking of strange mCommerce trends, EMEA editor Chanel Smith dove into a U.K. report this week with an impressive finding: Brits spend an average of £638 million a year through drunk phone activity like mobile shopping.
Unsurprisingly, 68 percent of Brits admitted to shopping online while under the influence, and it’s easy to see how a fancy smartphone and a lack of inhibition could lead to some interesting purchases. But, what’s really surprising to me is that many consumers admitted to taking out payday loans via phone while drunk, and that 70 percent of Brits admit to making financial promises through text messages.
Say what you want about buying in the bathroom, but at least then you’re in control.
I think this trend could give rise to a whole new profession – the mobile shopping Sommelier. After all, it is important to understand what wines go with shopping on what devices and with what mobile apps. Who knows, maybe some enterprising entrepreneur will even develop the equivalent of Robert Parker’s wine ratings for mobile shopping. Yes, that 2009 Bodega Catena Zapeta Malbec goes perfectly with browsing the Net-A-Porter site on your iPhone 5!