Tweaking Money: Part 2
One of the first things you learn in Law School is that Law is a living entity, affected by our social perceptions, history, culture, and technology advancement. In 1945, the U.S Supreme Court dealt with a unique complaint. Two farmers, Thomas Lee and Tinie Causby, who raised chickens, complained that their chickens had begun to follow the pattern of the airplanes that flew over the land, flying directly into the walls of the barn. Out of pocket - and chickens, they sought the protection of the law that stated land is a property which is protected by trespass law, covering both the land all the way down and also to an indefinite extent - upwards. Ergo - one can’t fly over the land without permission of the landowner, so these flights must stop - and the wayward Causby chickens saved. After deliberating the 100-years tradition, the Supreme Court disagreed. The doctrine protecting land all the way to the sky had no place in the modern world - it seems laughable to consider that a flight operator would have to get permission from each and every landowner they crossed or else face a suit. Common sense, a rare idea in the law, but here it was. A mirror of society, lagging behind passively accommodating new advancement.
As the world continues to evolve at an exponential pace, the law can no longer be passive and reactive, changed in retrospect. The legislator must become active and proactively introduce laws that free creativity and promote competition.
The regulatory landscape in Europe is a prime example of this. Led by the Payment Service Directive and the European Commission, it has fostered a breeding ground for new opportunities across the entire continent by lowering barriers to entry, creating real and effective competition in the Financial Industry. You no longer need to become a licensed bank with prohibitive capital requirements to provide innovative “money” services. With the introduction of Electronic Money (‘e-money’), a digital equivalent of cash, the European Union has provided revolutionary means for numerous new players to launch and transform the space.
These range from new challenger banks such as Atom, Sterling and Tandem, to online wealth management services such as Nutmeg, to alternative lenders such as FundingCircle and LendingClub, to unique Prepaid cards such as Osper and Simple, to Currency Conversion players such as Transferwise and CurrencyCloud. The world of finance, owned and dominated by the banks, is being ‘Unbundled’ and challenged by technology startups that use the power of the internet, big data, and sophisticated algorithms to create a better user experience, and drive costs down.
But this misses the real point.
The FinTech revolution has perpetuated and exacerbated the fragmentation that underpins the financial landscape. As a user, I know all too well the requirements to own, and manage multiple different cards, accounts, and services to stay on top of my financial self and save money. I need to have a business account, a personal account, my BA Amex for BA rewards, and my Virgin Money for Virgin flights; my Nectar card for rewards, and PayPal for online transactions… And so forth and so on.
In reality, and as mentioned in Part 1 of Tweaking money: “this just alienates the user further from their financial world. Pain points that are seemingly solved at a micro-level are unsolved at a macro-level. Put simply, the sum of the (new) parts don’t add up to a simple, understandable comprehensive whole.”
The solution to the fragmented and complex space should be holistic, unified, simple and ubiquitous. It should put the users back at the centre, enabling them to understand what’s going on with their money, regardless of the payment form, currency, or interface. It should leverage existing technologies and infrastructures, tweaking them into a single micro-invention. One platform that will put the user back at the centre, connecting them with their unique Everything Money.
Smartphones have the potential to provide the infrastructure for that platform. Mobile Payments such as Apple Pay have the potential to ‘re’-bundle and consolidate the fragmented services of the financial world. However, they can’t currently do this, due to infrastructural and behavioural gaps. Merchants have to accept contactless payments (less than 148,000 terminals across the entire UK, most of which are same retailers) and a user has to make the leap to pay with their phone, rather than the card they’ve been used to for the last 60 years.
This is exactly where Curve comes in..
We are Tweakers. Curve is a micro-invention to make the macro-inventions of the financial world highly productive and remunerative. With Curve we’ve used the best of PayPal, ApplePay, TransferWise, MasterCard, and other services, to create the ultimate payment experience - a ubiquitous mobile payment platform backed with a humble bankcard- which ‘re’-bundle a multitude of existing services to create a single focal point of access to your Everything Money.
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