The Check Is In the Mail


In the great whirl of FinTech news, with daily reports on the potential of artificial intellitence, machine learning, bots, and blockchain, the power of present practices can be forgotten.

Most small and midsize businesses pay with paper checks: 62% according to a recent Javelin Strategy and Research survey. Because it’s easier.

I swear I’ve seen that story before. I probably wrote it 30 years ago for Cashflow magazine, with all the same reasons.

I’ll comment no further. It’s time for this week’s links, which feature stories on the need for banks to adopt open banking APIs, calls for more innovation and less regulation, and the ongoing battle between card networks and merchants over interchange fees.

In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of vendor checks to write. . .

The time is now to develop and open banking

Banks need to decide whether to become “a banking ‘utility’ supporting other providers’ customer-facing solutions or become a central resource in consumers’ daily life,” Jim Marous writes for The Financial Brand. Because consumers are managing multiple, separate financial products, it may be time to rethink banking across product lines, including digital wallets, P2P payments products, wealth management solutions and lending services. The move toward open APIs would definitely be a significant disruption to traditional banking services. The bank integrated with third-party platforms also made the second spot in a new Accenture report.

Open Source Data: The Last Frontier of the FinTech Revolution

As online lending matures, it may be time for the industry to embrace data and information transparency, Timothy Li argues in a piece for Crowdfund Insider. “Should we take a lesson from the open source movement of the 1980s and 1990s and rise to the occasion as an industry to embrace the ability to make our data and information transparent? To enable the inner workings of how we approve transactions, issue credit and making investments available for consumers, regulators, and competitors?”

PSR pushes for greater payments competition and innovation

For 2017 and 2018, the UK’s Payment Systems Regulator says it will be “focused on promoting competition and innovation,” Anthony Peyton reports for Banking Technology Though firms aren’t getting bank access and don’t seem to be making enough progress, Paul Smith, head of policy at PSR, says the solution to this needs to be done in collaboration with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

ICBA to Congress: excessive regulation harms consumers

The Independent Community Bankers of America told Congress that consumers would benefit from policymakers take a look at overly burdensome community bank regulations, which bar creditworthy borrowers from accessing credit. “Despite some recent, positive news on the state of bank lending, now is not the time to be complacent,” ICBA Chairman R. Scott Heitkamp said. “We strongly encourage this committee to complete the work that was begun in the last Congress and enact meaningful regulatory relief for community banks.”

U.S. Supreme Court won’t revive settlement in interchange case

The Supreme Court declined to restore at $5.7 billion settlement agreement that was tossed out by the lower court. The deal came under fire from a number of retail groups and merchants, including Home Depot, Walmart and Target, which claimed the proposal gave the networks too broad a release from future interchange-related lawsuits. About 8,000 merchants opted out of the deal, reducing the settlement amount to $5.7 billion. The Retail Industry Leaders Association applauded the court’s decision to consider a “badly flawed” settlement.