2022 just hasn’t been a good year for the world of banking and payments – at least I don’t think so. A year in review of the five issues that particularly excited me and what became of them.
Undoubtedly, the payment and banking scene is never boring. Not a month goes by without new products, banks, fintechs and payment solutions hitting the market. But who really needs all this and does it all have to be good? Our author Nils Wischmeyer highlights a product, a topic or just the “latest hot shit” in his column “Nils nörgelt” from month to month. After all, there is (almost) always something to complain about.
Dear readers, when it’s cold outside, the first snowflakes are falling and the department heads are dancing on the tables at Last Christmas, you’re sure to get into the Christmas spirit. Maybe you can smell the heavenly smell of cookies and imagine Santa Claus with his big belly.
You see, this is what differentiates positive people like you from me, the whiner who turns your head to all the problems of 2022, to the flops, abuses and misconducts in the payments and banking industry. In short: I am the Grinch and watch five subjects that particularly pissed me off. What have you become?
1. The BNPL had to turn around
He It was the glory days when all the stores liked to advertise with: come on, buy it now, pay for it later. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) was the hype par excellence and Klarna the new star in the sky. But how boring and disgusting I found it! Because in principle, BNPL does not solve a problem for the customer, but only one for the dealer. He sees higher baskets and is happy if the customer wants to pay ten percent effective annual interest for it. does he really want it? Pah, that’s really bad luck.
I have already warned of the risks of the business model. In my February column, I wrote about BNPL in merchants: “May increase profits, but totally useless to me as a consumer.” Maybe, I remarked, I was just a bit old-fashioned if I saw it that way. But apparently less than five months later, not-so-old-fashioned investors saw it that way too, turning a $46 billion valuation into a $6 billion valuation on Klarna. Since then, the BNPL scene is suddenly no longer about debt, but about savings and, in a way, financial health. Well, sometimes such a crisis also has some good sides.
2. Rounding was more of a bust idea
Just back from the Easter holidays, the next excitement that had slipped into my mailbox: rounding up for the pension. A start-up that was relatively present at the time wanted to tell me that I, born in 1995, could actually close my retirement gap if I rounded up and invested a few cents every time I went shopping. It was a glorious promise, which I recognized at the time with the words: “To be honest, boys and girls, save well and well: But all this can only be a marketing gimmick.”
I received more than one mean (digital) letter afterwards. I would have gone a little too far, the article turned out to be too harsh and anyway: You can’t blame a start-up like that. Some also complained on the phone that it was hostile to innovation and that start-ups with good ideas should be supported. And of course, I agree and that Vantik ends a few months later is a shame and certainly not my intention. But it can also show a little bit: the harassment was not so unjustified.
3. Debit cards will soon end up in the trash
Then at the end of the year, there is another topic that caused a lot of noise: I cut off my debit card because I think it’s rubbish. It is not a Girocard and therefore useless in trade and it is not a credit card and therefore useless abroad and partly on the Internet. My conclusion in November: I don’t need the thing.
As soon as the article was posted, it was raining comments that mostly went like this: I don’t understand your observation, absolute nonsense, complete nonsense, dealer problem and: I have had different experiences there. Maybe that’s why finally, here’s an explanation for this year as to why I sit and harass once a month like I’m a pensioner at the downstairs window: I’m reporting what happens to me in my daily life and I get angry about it.
This column does not claim to be complete or detailed down to the last fiber. Because it reflects an opinion of N=1 – and this N(they) is me.
4. Crowdinvesting is still underground
Well, let’s make it short and painless at this point, because if you’re being honest, you’d much rather read what’s to come with Bitcoin. So, here’s my short rant on crowdfunding: From an investor’s perspective, they are highly speculative and should therefore be regulated much more strictly. Any third order derivative has more security considerations than a subordinated loan in a South American forest with 100% downside risk. Moreover, they constitute an oath of disclosure for the fintech itself.
After all, they don’t give a bank or payment company any interest rate advantage over a bank loan, which in plain language means: he who pumps the crowd has no other options. and fintechs should at least keep this external effect in mind – investors anyway. And then there are conditions for crowdfunding investments in funds or other markets that are supposed to be otherwise closed to retail clients. They are usually so complex, risky and – I will say it harshly – underground that even Bafin now says about one or the other product: Not like that, dear Fintech friends. And since I can only agree.
5. It’s going brrr in cryptoland
And then to the point. The promise of cryptocurrencies is still dead as of December 19. Not a single currency has delivered on what so many optimists had promised. Since we can’t fill an entire column here, let me break it down into three points:
First, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have still not been a good hedge against inflation as they have fallen in spades since inflation has been rampant in Europe. Bitcoin, for example, is worth 60% less today than a year ago – and I don’t even want to start with all the other smaller currencies.
Second, cryptocurrencies are highly dependent on the size of the money supply in the states where it exists. Because as soon as interest rates rise, cryptocurrencies fall, neither worse nor better than any highly speculative security of the time. Because most people have recognized that there are (theoretically) returns elsewhere now, so I won’t need them here anymore.
Third, no cryptocurrency is suitable to actually be a currency, in most cases even the word “money” would be too high. So far, no one has provided a counterexample, and if you come to me with El Salvador, I can refer you to this link from the Tagesschau: El Salvador bitcoin bubble burst.
And in all of this, I haven’t even mentioned FTX yet.
Short conclusion: Cryptocurrencies remain a marginal phenomenon with a strong minority on social networks, where many, many people have recently lost a lot of money. Strict regulation by governments is therefore necessary – up to prohibition. But we can talk about it in the new year.
And with that, dear readers, I say goodbye to the Christmas holidays. Stay happy and cheerful – so it doesn’t have to be me.