The year is 2019. But once every month, someone somewhere in Ghana builds and releases yet another payment platform, because the existing ones dont work.
This has been the case for the past seven or so years; yet one sure bet I can place in this tech eco-system is that we will see a new payment system before the year ends.
I have implemented payment systems into apps in the past. They are all a pain to work with. Inbetween outdated documentations, unreasonable prices and badly designed error messages, mechanisms and fallbacks, I am yet to work with one that just works. But it’s simple to assume that if we know what is wrong we could build one that solves these problems. If it was that simple, some smart people will have already figured it out.
Here is what I think. Payment is broken and the sprouting of new payment services is symptomatic to this broken system. For a very long time I have spoken to people who build payment platforms to try to understand the particular problem they are trying to solve. I am yet to see anyone tell me something different.
Last Saturday, after the ConnectAndAccelerate meetup, I had a chat with @thedumbtechguy who is building a payment platform, @tonymobster who works in payment infrastucture, @silentworks @tsatsu @sir_krymx over the issue of payment in Ghana. My resolution is that payment methods around the world that already exist are fundamentally flawed, and the lack of proper governace makes it worse.
What I realised was a lot of people who venture into payment, take the problems they see at face value, without really understanding the problem before they start, and by the time they realise these issues, they are already in too deep to stop because they have some traction. They also give up on the ideals they started with because they realize the problems they seek to solve are symptoms of problems bigger than their entire being and the real solutions to those problems are bigger than their ideals and their existence. To actually solve the problems, they would have to get into the politics and governace of financial technology. This is not something you can do by writing code. To do this successfully, you will have to become a politician. Success for them will mean the investment of a lot of man hours and dollars without the return of any profits in a venture that they least know something about. But these are mostly startups and “Cash is king”.
I dont know how we can fix payments but what I know is, starting a new one is not the solution. I think the real solution will have to be tackled with politics at a governmental level. When that is solved, it will open up the solution to all the already existing platforms and they will instantly become good. But people who start payments system are not the kind who easily get into politics.
Unless there is a change to our approach to this solution, best believe, we are all at the mercy of the best of the broken payment systems.
Do you have any other theories or belive different, let me know on twitter