Here's my latest retail payments focused presentation. It's premise is that there's loads of innovation out there, with micropayments and iPhone apps being hotbeds of innovation for developed economies whilst microfinance and 2G GSM messaging being creative fields for developing economies.
However, all of these innovations are just froth on the cake of the payments infrastructure and the core of that infrastructure – the clearing and settlement services that underpin these services – is still pretty rotten. There's still lots of legacy infrastructure out there, which needs updating to operate in our 21st century world … but sits languishing because banks are slow to act.
And the fact that banking protects banks through bank licensing, means that none of the innovative firms – including PayPal – can make much difference to this rotting core.
A little bit over-stated, but I think it makes the point.