How unnecessary complexity and confusion are hurting adoption of new payment technologies

By Ralph Bianco, President, Ralph Bianco Advisors

Guest Perspective: What’s So Alternative about ‘Alternative Payments’? Over the last few years, when was the last time a day passed without another story about “alternative payments”? Readers are subject to a constant barrage of attention-grabbing—if not outrageous—headlines about the growth and ultimate dominance of alternative payments. Such a story ran recently on CardNotPresent.com. It caught my attention—as many of its kind do—and moved me to finally respond.

The article in question claims that “e-wallets will surpass credit cards as the most popular online payment method.” The author defines “those methods” (alternative payments) to include “bank transfers, direct debits, cash on delivery, e-invoices, e-wallets, prepaid, postpaid, carrier billing and digital currencies.”

Wallets will surpass credit cards? Alternative payments being defined as bank transfers, direct debits, cash on delivery, e-invoices, e-wallets, prepaid, postpaid, carrier billing and digital currencies (basically everything except credit)? Are you confused? I sure am. What does not confuse me is why merchant and consumer adoption of new payment technologies has been so low.