Mobile payments is a match made in heaven for the technology and banking industries. It allows banks to say they are innovating, and not just by creating Frankenbets on exploding mortgages, and it gives Silicon Valley a desperate, deep-pocketed client willing to finance whatever innovation it can come up with.
The only question is whether U.S. consumers care about this technology. The fact that not just South Korea, but even Kenya and Afghanistan are ahead of the U.S. in this area suggests they may not. And developing a mobile payments market may require a level of government involvement in the industry that U.S. businesses aren't willing to accept. Just because Bank of America is sending 22 million texts and emails, it doesn't mean the bank is getting any revenue. But at least it gives the CEO something cool to talk about.
-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.