Skeptical Payments Industry Disses Bitcoin; It's Not Concerned About Competition

Skeptical Payments Industry Disses Bitcoin; It's Not Concerned About CompetitionVisa and MasterCard together processed $7.4 trillion in purchases last year. Neither sees bitcoin as a threat to their businesses.
Neither does Discover Financial Services. Nor does MoneyGram.
You’ve probably noticed a trend. Bloomberg‘s overview of the payments industry’s perception of cryptocurrencies is out, and there are few surprises. But there some interesting comments regarding the perceived lack of security linked to virtual currencies and the lack of widespread demand.
Here are highlights:
“I’m a bit skeptical,” said Discover Financial Services (DFS) Chief Executive Officer David Nelms, who runs the fourth-biggest U.S. payments network. Other things pose “a lot more potential threats or opportunities than bitcoin,” he said.
American Express
“Protection and trust are crucial to us and our card members and merchants,” Dan Schulman, president for enterprise growth at American Express and former CEO of, said in an interview at the lender’s New York headquarters. “We don’t believe that is offered by cryptocurrencies today.”
It’s too early to understand the implications, Visa CEO Charlie Scharf told analysts on a Jan. 30 conference call. He called bitcoin “far more complex” than it’s often portrayed. “People talk about things like frictionless and things like that, and when you actually dig through it, it’s really not the case. We feel very comfortable with the business that we have here,” Scharf said.
“You can already see there are some issues about it — just on some very basic things,” said Martina Hund-Mejean, chief financial officer of MasterCard, in a phone interview Jan. 31. “When you talk about virtual currencies you especially compare it to what we do in our network, and the safety and the security around it is paramount.”
Alex Hoffmann, executive vice president of global product management and emerging channels at MoneyGram International, said he doesn’t see widespread demand to send digital currencies. He isn’t convinced that bitcoin has developed into a disruptive technology for the payments industry. “Today, people speculate on the potential,” Hoffmann said in an interview. “But today you do not have it.”

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