May 21 2015

Emerging Payments and Communities: Reimagining Trust and Mutual Finance


Technological innovation is redefining how consumers interact with money. New payment infrastructures are challenging traditional card networks, forcing credit unions to reimagine money and banking.

Bill Maurer
Bill Maurer
Dean, School of Social Sciences; Professor, Department of Anthropology and School of Law; Director, Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
University of California, Irvine
Taylor C. Nelms
Taylor C. Nelms
Senior Director, Research
Filene Research Institute
Report Number 363

Executive Summary

In 2004 Facebook was an anomaly. As one of the pioneers in social networking, it originally limited access to Harvard students, offered basic functionality, and served as a centralized directory that connected people across the university. While its core user group was exclusive, the message was clear: Facebook wanted to revolutionize the way we connect with one another. Today Facebook has over 1.23 billion active users and is the number one social networking site in the world. To the victor go the spoils.

Financial services are facing an interesting revolution of their own in payments. Every aspect of how consumers manage, spend, and borrow money is undergoing a transformational shift. Disruptive innovation is decentralizing money. Now you can buy a cup of coffee or pay bills with the click of a button on your smart-phone. Our very perception of monetary value is changing. In the same way community led to the rapid rise of Facebook, community is a key aspect of emerging payment systems.

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