W3C Web Payments at NACHA Payments Innovation Alliance

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Web Payments icons; shopping basket, padlock, shopping basket on handheld device and hand

Last week I had the pleasure to present our vision of the future of Web Payments and e-commerce at the NACHA Payments Innovation Alliance meeting in San Francisco. This alliance focuses on modernizing payments in view of technology trends, standards, and security.

It was a good opportunity to share our vision of web payments with the financial services and fintech communities. Here in a nutshell is what I told them:

  • The historic dichotomy between the design point of the Web and how it is used by merchants is striking. The Web is user-centric. It is designed to connect humanity to information. e-Commerce has historically been merchant-centric. A merchant makes their product available on their site for a customer to come in and buy.
  • But e-Commerce has changed. In today's omni-channel model, the customer is in charge. They receive information from social media and recommendation websites. They combine in-store with on-line; and expect service from laptop and mobile. There are enormous changes and more flexibility in payment methods. Users are looking and finding the best deal and most importantly the best overall experience.

A few blocks away from the NACHA meeting at the Google office, W3C's Web Payments Interest Group and Web Payments Working Group were meeting face-to-face to discuss how the Web will need to expand to help the industry meet these challenges.

The Web Payments Working Group is looking at how to improve the e-Commerce user experience by streamlining the checkout process and improving security. Ian Jacobs has written a summary of the Working Group's recent discussion and plan to publish a First Public Working Draft in early April of what we believe will be transformative new Web technology.

Ultimately, we will need a broad set of offerings. The Interest Group discussed a number of topics as fodder for new standardization efforts. These included the impact of regulatory changes such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe, as well as faster-payments initiatives such as those of the US Federal Reserve. The group also discussed use cases for "verifiable claims” on the Web, opened a discussion on blockchain and the Web, and discussed interoperability with the broader financial services ecosystem (e.g., through alignment with ISO20022).

It was great to brainstorm the changing face of e-Commerce with the Financial Services industry during the NACHA conference —joined by Working Group co-Chair Nick Telford-Reed (Worldpay)— and illustrate how the W3C community is addressing the challenge. The net of all of these changes is that the underlying payment and e-commerce infrastructure will be "web-like". In addition to connecting humanity to information, we will better connect humanity with their economic potential.

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