Thursday, January 26, 2012

ING Banking a bit wobbly lately

This sunday I wanted to order a cd and sheet music by Jules de Corte. Whereas usually this is just a matter of seconds, using iDeal, I now had to circumvent it to do electronic credit transfers via e-banking. It was clear that the ING database had some glitches, but after a couple of tries I succeeded in transferring the money.

While I could just repeat the exercise, others couldn't. The glitch turned into a major failure of ING-e-banking in the last couple of days. Today however, everything seems to be up and running again. And ING will once more regret using Oracle as the back-end database of an online payment system.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fotograph your bill and pay it... new stuff from Denmark

With all the new apps, technology and stuff, you can just build any payment produkt you like. It appears there is a Danish bank that has developed an app that lets you photograph your bill, send it to the bank and they will transfer the money to the proper account. And for those that master the Danish language: see the instructions of the Danske bank here.

I am not entirely sure if this application will really be a killer-app that fullfills its consumers' needs. But it's interesting to see that nowadays the development burden for banks is lower than in the mainframe-days, allowing for test-trials in the field rather than extensive market research.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The euro-note now ten years in circulation...

This new year brings us a bit of a memory: ten years ago we started using the euro bank notes. For many people in the Netherlands, this was a step back in terms of quality and design. And we also notices how prices were quickly moving up. At first all economists and the central bank heavily denied this, but later research (in 2005) showed that in the first year of the euro, inflation was 3,6%, of which 0,5% due to the introduction of the euro.

In their efforts to deny the experience of the public, economists coined the term: 'experienced-inflation' ('gevoelsinflatie') to outline a situation in which the perception of price rises differed from reality. This helped the economists at the ECB discover that price rises in regularly purchased items could lead to a consumer perception of inflation that was higher than their scientifically produced price-index basket. Again a demonstration of the fact that economic models need to incoporate bounded rationality rather than assume a rational consumer.

As for the future of the euro: many experts now predict its demise in 2012 and paint a gloomy picture. When listening to those 'experts' I have the impression that it's increasingly fashionable to doubt the future of the euro. And although the politicians last year didn't do their best to help out, I do think that the future may be less bleak. With the ECB lowering cash reserve ratio, widening it's collateral policy and throwing in almost unlimited amounts of liquidity the bazooka is already out there, but some fail to recognize it as such.

So I think those ugly euro-notes will remain in circulation for quite some time to come.