THE PAY OFF
How changing the way we pay changes everything
Explaining how credit cards, crypto and cash impact on our daily lives; exploring cyber crime and central bank digital currencies and delving into the profits, politics, economics and geopolitics of payments, the soaring prices of fintechs and the fortunes (and misfortunes) of banks, The Pay Off tells you all you didn't know you needed to know about payments.
With privacy, power and profits at stake, the digital revolution that is underway in payments is delivering economic opportunity and promises financial inclusion. At the same time, it paradoxically risks financial exclusion and is largely led by unicorns whose pledges about lower payment prices (rather magically) do nothing to undermine their soaring valuations.
From Wise to Wirecard, Revolut to remittances, bricks and mortar banks to Buy Now Pay Later, and the European Payments Initiative to Chinese mobile payments, The Pay Off ploughs through the alphabet soup of payments, making sense of ATMs and AML; CVVs, CBDCs and KYC; EMV, EI, ISO and more.
The book explores the US preference for checks and the German predilection for cash, as well as the rises (and falls) of BTC, XRP and THT. It also examines how payments are both ambitiously global and fiercely local and it explains why Facebook's Diem (once Libra) laid down a digital gauntlet that sent tremors right around the world.
Lauded by industry heavyweights such as Sir Howard Davies, Tim Frost, Bob Wigley and Mark Yallop, and applauded by independent experts like Nathalie Ceeney, CBE and Dharshini David, the book has been reviewed in and cited by a host of publications ranging from The Financial Times to the New Statesman and SixtyPlusSurfers, and from Reuters BreakingViews to the LSE Review of Books and Tabb Forum.
NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
Described by Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the NatWest Group as "a
comprehensive authoritative and even, at times, amusing guide", The Pay Off is billed as "an admirably lucid new book" by Gillian Tett in the Financial Times, and as a "fascinating description of how money moves around the world" by Mark Mobius. Hailed as being "sorely needed", "entertaining and enriching", "accessible and erudite" and "lucid and stimulating", The Pay Off will "change the way we think about payments" and is dubbed "a must-read" for specialists and general readers alike.
To read further endorsements, click here.
To contact the authors, click here.
THE PAY OFF THE BLOG
Looking at the latest from the likes of the European Central Bank, the Bank for International Settlements and the Bank of England, The Pay Off The Blog dissects the latest developments in and around payments – whether its blockages or outages, valuations or collapses, payment processors or card networks, banks or e-payment providers, cards, crypto or cheques – the blog has got it covered.
To read the blog, click here
MEET THE AUTHORS
The authors have written in the Guardian and been interviewed by insightful folk at FTAlphaville; they have talked with the cyber-geeks at FS-ISAC and the FinTech bibliophiles at New Money Review; they have been interrogated by the English-speaking expatriates' favourite, Talk Radio Europe, and had it out with scholars at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage . Click here to meet the authors.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THE PAY OFF
No part of the world of money is more critical to our daily lives than payments, and yet no part of money is more ignored than payments. The Pay Off hopes to remedy that, matching our understanding of payments with our dependence on them.
How money moves has undergone and is undergoing huge, unprecedented change – increasingly, cards, digital and mobile payments dominate, and cash is fast on the way out. Imagine setting out to create an Uber, Amazon or Netflix without some form of e- or embedded payment, and remember how eBay struggled before PayPal. Think about how notes and coins make tipping so easy and intuitive and cards make tipping that little bit less so; consider how our inertia drives direct debit-powered subscription-based business and how blocking payments can drive people, businesses and even countries to the brink. Consider how rich our payment data is, and whether you want to share yours – and with whom. Who owns and controls what in our payments, and what does it mean for us and our futures?
The Pay Off "tells the inside story of the operations at the heart of the multinational system"
Izabella Kaminska, FTAlphaville
The Chinese already have a digital Yuan and the Euro crowd seem set on a digital Euro, but the British are quietly mulling the benefits of a digital pound and the Americans seem to be split on the idea of a digital dollar. Treasuries, finance ministries, central banks and other payment authorities are canvassing views on the future architecture of our payments – architectures that will affect all of us, rich or poor. Which is why we should all think about payments before making our payment choices.
This incalculably important change, coupled with the sheer richness of payments – fraud, cyber-crime and good old-fashioned heists; revolutionary technologies and warring governments; sociology, psychology, custom, competition and habit – should make the book appeal to everyone. Proving it does, not only have the financial and policy press picked up on the book – Reuters Breakingviews, FTAlphaville, The New Statesman, New Money Review, to name but some of them – but so too have more literary reviewers. Librarybirdbooks' review of The Pay Off, for instance, found a parallel with Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid’s Tale and recommended it to everyone interested in business, politics or economics, as well as "anyone needing their eyes opening to how powerful the mechanisms that allow us to make everyday payments are". Her fellow Instagrammer, Maria of Marias Bookcase, put aside the likes of Gillian Flynn and Bernardine Evaristo and rolled up her sleeves to review The Pay Off for the Instagram generation. Maria found "a really fascinating insight into a subject I’ve not much thought about ... a really accessible way into the topic ... and witty one liners which kept me engaged and entertained".