Mobile payments must be the most heralded innovation of all time. We have been talking about it for 10 years or more, and still don’t have a reliable definition, let alone a clear, widely-accepted process flow. Mobile payments' can be: - A text/SMS direction to a stored value service; - A transfer or top-up of airtime (air minutes) between mobile accounts; - A charge on your phone bill; - A contactless (near field communication or NFC) card transaction initiated from a mobile device, either by a chip that resides inside the phone or a sticker attached to the outside; - An internet payment executed from the mobile using any number of web-based services; or - An app-driven service for 3- and 4-G phones using a range of wireless connections. All of these are in operation, somewhere in the world. Do we need them all here in Australia? Probably not, but in the vibrant world of retail payment innovations, that's probably the wrong question. Rather, we might ask "which one(s) can win in an open, competitive marketplace?"
The inaugural Australian Payments Council hackathon is upon us, beginning tonight! We managed to sneak in a quick chat ahead of the event with Paul Jennings, CTO of eftpos, who will be one of our judges on Sunday.
What sparked your interest in becoming a judge for the Hackathon?
I’ve judged hackathons previously. I’m always excited to see how much talent is out there, and to watch just how hard people work to realise their ideas.
These events provide such a wonderful learning opportunity. It will be great to experience that again, particularly as a judge in Australia’s first transactional data hackathon. I’m also looking forward to seeing what ideas come out of the Hackathon and meeting the participants.
What would you like to see come out of the Hackathon?
Firstly, I’d like to say that the Hackathon theme – to Improve the Lives of Australians – really hits the mark. It’s great to see the Council focusing on the consumer perspective, we often see data being used for commercial activity, rather than having the customer genuinely in mind. The challenges themselves resonate with me. Everyone knows how awful it is when something goes wrong, and making the recovery easier is a fantastic all round goal. Improving a customer’s daily life aligns perfectly with our company tag line at eftpos of Helping with the everyday.
The Hackathon is providing all sorts of data to participants over the weekend. What opportunities do you see for using data in payments?
At eftpos, we process more than 6 million card transactions daily, seeing examples of what might be possible with all that data is a great opportunity.
Beyond eftpos, I’m always trying to figure out what’s coming up next, so of course I love “out of the box” ideas. In the past, some of the best prototypes I’ve seen have combined the data provided with unusual sources to produce some amazing insights.
For more information, see the hackathon’s website.