Payments 101, Part 7 – Checks

By |2021-04-06T22:15:00+00:00April 6th, 2021|ACH, Checks, Legal issues, Payments, Payments 101|

This is part of an ongoing series.  For previous installments, go here. Before we wrap up our tour, there is one more payment method we have to cover, which is the check.  The oldest non-cash payment method, it is also the only one that is on the decline, although its death is protracted and uncertain.  [...]

Payments 101, Part 6 – ACH, Wires and Faster Payments

By |2021-03-01T19:30:28+00:00February 26th, 2021|ACH, Payments, Payments 101, Wires|

We are nearing the end of our initial excursion into the basic payment methods with what are the most fundamental ones, albeit the least familiar to the average person.  ACH and wires are the plumbing behind all the other payment types, as well as their own products.  Faster Payments systems are just a refinement, with [...]

Payments 101, Part 5 – Prepaid Cards

By |2021-02-04T20:05:33+00:00February 4th, 2021|Banking as a Service, Payments 101, Prepaid Cards|

Welcome to another installment in my ongoing tour of the major payment methods, how they work, and the issues and controversies surrounding them.  Earlier articles in this series can be found here. In this article, I will be explaining prepaid cards, a variation of debit cards that deserve a full article in their own right.  [...]

Stablecoins for Purchases? Not So Much

By |2021-01-28T17:15:16+00:00January 28th, 2021|Cryptocurrency|

I have said quite a lot in the past couple of months about how Bitcoin is not the best cryptocurrency for actual purchases, mainly because of its volatility.  Instead, I recommended using an asset-backed stablecoin, such as Circle’s USDCoin, to avoid market risk.  I have also criticized the most popular stablecoin, Tether, for failing [...]

Cryptocurrency in China’s Economic Strategy

By |2021-01-11T20:47:55+00:00January 11th, 2021|Cryptocurrency, Governments, International, Payments|

Recently, China piloted a new state-owned cryptocurrency, the digital yuan.  In this article, I will show how this fits into China's larger economic strategy, and why it is a harbinger of problems for the West and the mainstream payment networks. On November 24, 2020, the New York Times published an article, “China Says It Remains [...]

Payments 101, Part 4 – Debit Cards

By |2020-12-23T18:11:16+00:00December 23rd, 2020|Debit cards, Legal issues, Payments, Payments 101|

This is part of an ongoing series.  For earlier installments, see The Five Actor Model, Credit Cards, Part One, and Credit Cards, Part Two. In this article, we will dive into debit cards: what they are, how they work, the two different models, and legal issues. Here is the version of the Five-Actor Model I [...]

Bitcoin is Not a Viable Currency. Stablecoins Will Be.

By |2021-01-19T18:30:44+00:00December 14th, 2020|Cryptocurrency, Payments|

(Note: this article was updated on January 19, 2021 to account for new information, particularly the extension of the boom in Bitcoin valuation since the original publication on December 14, 2020. These changes reinforce the points made in the original) Bitcoin has been on a roll lately, hitting a record high of $40,258.92 on January [...]

Payments 101, Part 3 – Credit Cards, Part Two

By |2020-11-18T20:46:01+00:00November 18th, 2020|Payments 101|

(This is part of a continuing series.  Read Part 1 and Part 2.)   Introduction When we left off last time, I said that there there was a major decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia in 2002 that had a dramatic effect on the future of the credit card industry.  In order to fully [...]

As Americans Face Economic Strain, VCs are Investing $230 Million in Alternative Credit

By |2020-10-29T21:53:40+00:00October 29th, 2020|Financial, International, Payments|

Before we get back to the history and workings of credit cards, I thought it would be interesting to catch up on an emerging trend, that of "alternative credit." Background On September 24, 2020, Petal announced a $55M Series C led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.  Petal requires no credit history to quality for its [...]

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