The Digital Skeptic: Apple Saw Truth About Making iPhone 5 a Credit Card
The ridiculously thin and fast iPhone 5 boasts a blazingly powerful processor that supports an upgraded iOS 6 with Passbook, a centralized coupon and ticket service, improved Siri voice control for commerce apps and business-oriented mapping features.
It's easy to see the dollars phone makers lust after. Electronically brokered transactions, a la Visa (V) , MasterCard (MA) or bank transfers grossed up to a simply massive $34 trillion last year. That according to National Automated Clearinghouse Association, the industry trade group for the business of moving money via networks.
To put that in perspective: It's the gross domestic product of the U.S. roughly twice over.
The total take for electronics transfer can vary, but prices are steep. Banks levy double-digit fees for funds transfer, and the swipe fees, equipment costs, interchange and discount charges suck more than a few percentage points out of every MasterCard, Visa or American Express (AXP) transaction. Even new age, nominally cheap fund transaction services such as San Francisco-based Square, which allow any iPhone to accept credit cards, still charge a stiff 2.75% per transaction.
The issue is that the young turks of moving money electronically on networks know the real truth.
"The financial network is just a network," Ben Milne, the founder of Dwolla, told me recently. "Moving money on it is not as complex and expensive as those who currently move it want you to believe."