Reviews

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Global Counsel, the strategic advisory firm lists The Pay Off in its 2021 Reading List. Rebecca Park, Senior Practice Lead for Financial Services at the London-based firm says:

"I've read very few things that can bridge everything from the decline of cash in the Welsh valleys to the development of Bitcoin in Silicon Valley and what these things might mean. This book is a brilliant overview of those issues – about things we're not thinking about."

To hear about the list in full, click here; to hear the review of The Pay Off, go to minute 13:04.
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Mark Mobius, the 'Godfather, 'Indiana Jones'or 'Enfant Terrible' of Emerging Markets, lists The Pay Off in his Bookclub  saying:

"A fascinating description of how money moves around the world by two experts. They go into the history of cash payments, cards, and new technology, geographical and national differences, and most importantly, the tech revolution where banks have been challenged by fintech firms. Cryptocurrencies’ role is described and importantly they differentiate between cryptocurrencies and the digitization of money. The section on bank fraud with specific cases of where central banks were defrauded of millions of dollars is particularly interesting."
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"The Pay Off... tells the inside story of the operations at the heart of the multinational system. It also looks further into how payments are transforming and the consequences of that transformation."
 

Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville

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Award-winning journalist and author, Paul Blustein reviewed The Pay Off for CIGI, the Center for International Governance Innovation. A CIGI fellow, Paul reviews the book alongside Eswar Prasad's new book, The Future off Money, writing:

"Monetary traditionalists yearning for a lengthy belittlement of cryptocurrencies may be disappointed to hear that neither of these books treats the subject with derision. “Bitcoin’s innovations are truly ingenious and groundbreaking,” Prasad writes, a sentiment echoed thusly by Leibbrandt and de Terán: “The mechanisms behind Bitcoin are pure genius. What’s more, they actually work.”

To read the review in full, click here
Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, the International Institute for Strategic Studies' bi-monthly journal carries an in-depth review of The Pay Off by Erik Jones in its October-November edition.

"Leibbrandt and de Terán do a fantastic job introducing the many potential sources of disruption. They also highlight who is winning and who is losing from today’s rapid pace of transformation – particularly as the big tech companies get into the game."


To read the review in full, download the book review PDF here
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Banking Frontiers, the widely read banking, payments & technology publication gives The Pay Off a full page review. A big thank you to Group Editor, Manoj Agrawal, who writes:

"The authors have made the book interesting for both the banker and the consumer.

... this book is a must read for every student of business to gain fresh perspectives on risk, liquidity and opportunity."
 

To read the review in full, see
here
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The Pay Off hits the Washington Post

Henry Farrell, SNF Agora Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS, talks to the authors about the future of the US dollar and US power in payments. To read about the politics of payments, see the interview run in the WaPo's must-read section, The Monkey Cage.
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Central Bank Payments News, the must-read on payment news for the central bank community, publish an article on The Pay Off. Written by the authors, the article makes the case for "raising public awareness about payments" and "unmasking their importance".

To read the article in full, click here
In the latest edition of McKinsey's Author Talks, Matt Cooke chats with Gottfried Leibbrandt about The Pay Off.

"Examining the functionality of payment systems across the globe, Leibbrandt and coauthor Natasha de Terán explore the ways in which advances in technology, the COVID-19 pandemic, crypto currency, and more have shaped the movement of money and have redefined roles for banks and cash systems." 

To read more, click
here
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The Pay Off is reviewed in the September edition of Central Banking. The former Head of Financial Markets at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Michael Reddell writes:

"If you are looking for a timely introduction and accessible survey of payment systems developments, this is the book for you.... it offers a series of bite-sized discussions covering (among other things) technology and regulation, cash and crypto, fraud, theft and security, and some of the challenges ahead for payments providers, banks, central banks, regulators, politicians and societies."

To read more, click here
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The Guardian's Observer Magazine explores the (potential) end of cash, musing about whether whether, as we click and tap our way to a digital world, we’ll miss the pound in our pocket when it’s gone. For her cover story, "Cashed out: A fond farewell to coins and notes", writer (and author) Emma Beddington talked to the authors of The Pay Off –

“Isn’t cash the last resort between us and anarchy in the apocalypse?” she cites Gottfried Leibbrandt asking.

“There are many things that need to be resolved societally before we would be happy with the complete disappearance of an anonymous, ubiquitously accessible form of payment… the anonymity question is one", she quotes Natasha de Terán saying.

To read more, click here
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The Pay Off is listed in AltFi’s Summer Reading List of the 4 fintech books to pick up in 2021. Alongside Anne Boden's Banking on It, the book is listed as one "you really should read over the summer".

“Payments are having their time in the sun at the moment (it is summer after all) and The Pay Off dives into the sometimes tricky to understand world of payments. ...

Leibbrandt and de Terán take a closer look at global payments networks, the history of payment infrastructure, and the movement of money today."
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Writing on payments in the Financial Times, Gillian Tett describes The Pay Off as "an admirably lucid new book" 

“Payment processes rarely grab public or political attention, unless they go wrong. In that sense they are like household plumbing. But investors should wake up ...the issue being fought over in Brussels is not just one of technical and geopolitical importance ...The fact that the answers are uncertain is unnerving. And more important than the hype around cryptocurrencies."
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The New Statesman which provides 'enlightened thinking in dark times' and whose contributors have included everyone from John Maynard KeynesBertrand RussellVirginia WoolfChristopher Hitchens, to Paul Johnson, Bryan Appleyard and David Olusoga has reviewed The Pay Off. Humbled, really. In it, Katherine Cowles writes:

"Payment is overlooked and misunderstood – but it shouldn’t be, say the authors of this lucid book. They ask the big questions – who controls our payments system? What do they do with our data? How can we teach children about money they can’t touch? – and respond thoughtfully to the developments of the digital revolution, including the rise of cryptocurrencies, challenger banks and beyond. The Pay Off is a guide to modern finance from which everyone can profit."

To read the review in full, click here
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The much acclaimed insider's expert and London School of Economics alumnus, Martin C W Walker reviewed The Pay Off for the must-read LSE Review of Books:

"Offering careful and accessible insight into the basics of payments and intelligent analysis of the Fintech boom, this book is an essential first step for all those looking to understand the possible future of the payments industry and its impact on the global economy as well as for those considering work in the sector ... The authors provide an industry insiders’ view of the billion-dollar heist from the Bangladesh central bank in 2015 and the $2 billion fraud at the Punjab National Bank."

To read the review in full, click
here
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Martin C W Walker gets around. An author himself, he is a director of the Center for Evidence-Based Management and in that capacity, reviewed The Pay Off for Tabb Forum:

"
Interesting times are ahead for the international financial system and its critical plumbing, and there are few better ways to be prepared than to read “The Payoff.”

To read more, click here
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Photo Credit:
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To read more, click
here
Those of a more literary bent, might be swayed by the Instagrammer Librarybirdbooks' review of The Pay Off, which finds a parallel with Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. At the start of the book, the woman who becomes Offred has to rely on her husband because women are no longer allowed to handle money.
 
"As I was reading this factual book ... I kept on thinking of Offred and how easy it would now be for that to happen, especially as fewer of us have a stash of cash stored anywhere. If you care about economics, business, politics or just need your eyes opening to how powerful the mechanisms that allow us to make everyday payments are then this is the book for you."
Alongside all that richness, there are plenty of nuts and bolts in payments, which is perhaps why Engineering & Technology reviewed The Pay Off.

"
‘The Pay Off’ is fascinating, with genuine insights coming from expert authorities on the subject: Leibbrandt being the former CEO of Swift, the cross-border payments network, while de Terán was for most of the past decade head of corporate affairs at the same organisation. Between them, they reach a surprisingly straightforward conclusion, which is that the most important thing about money is the way in which we move it about. Far less simple is what goes into these payments and how little we understand them."
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Back in the more literary world, 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

"This was a really fascinating insight into a subject I’ve not much thought about let alone ever read about! But fear not, this was a really accessible way into the topic ... the witty one liners and quips kept me engaged and entertained throughout.

A real eye-opener that I’d recommend to anyone."



To read the review in full, click here
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Leaping a generation or two (or not), Simon Fine reviewed The Pay Off on SixtyPlusSurfers, writing:

"The book covers the whole breadth of the subject and in considerable detail. But for such a specialist subject, I was impressed how well the authors explain each topic in terms that are accessible to a layman but in sufficient depth to appeal to students and professionals."

To read the review in full, click
here
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Wales features a few times in The Pay Off, so little surprise that the book attracted the attention of Swansea's Bay Magazine, where Dr Alyson Hitch wrote:

"The Pay Off examines what the future holds for cash and asks if it will eventually be ousted by crypto currencies like Bitcoin.
Why are some countries better at digital payments than others, and will we really go to war over invisible, intangible, digital dosh? Great stuff."
To read the review in full, click here
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Evidencing just how timely The Pay Off is, the futurist New Money Review also took time to review the book:

"We should all pay attention to what’s going on in payments, because changes in the technology of money transfers are going to affect all our lives", writes Editor Paul Amery in his June 30th review 'Pay attention to payments'.

To read more, click
here

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Staying in the business world, Reuters Breakingviews
reviewed The Pay Off, noting in particular Gottfried Leibbrandt and Natasha de Terán's passion for payments:

"The authors’ passion for the often-unseen mechanics of payments shines through every page", writes
Oliver Taslic in his June 25th review 'Reigning in the crypto fanatics'.

To read more, click
here
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Back in the Instagram world, Wanderess Books deviated from her 'usual read' and undertook a 'mental workout' before stopping to give The Pay Off a rave review, accompanied by a stunning picture:

 ... "This book is a comprehensive guide to the couple world of payments and shows us that the most important thing about money is the way we move it.

"Leibbrandt, a self-confessed payments nerd, and de Terán, a former journalist, have put in a sterling effort to shine a light on the humble payment in this well-informed, well-researched, well-laid out book." 



To read more, click
here

In her widely-followed monthly column in The Banker, Editor Joy Macknight writes about Facebook's Diem 'joining the regulatory fold', citing The Pay Off

"In their book, ‘The Pay Off: How changing the way we pay changes everything’ (coming out in July), Swift’s ex-CEO Gottfried Liebbrandt and former head of corporate affairs Natasha de Terán argue it is the act of making a payment, not money itself, that makes the world go round. Get payments right and economic activity prospers; get them wrong and economic activity could be stifled.

 

"When considering the Libra/Diem developments, the authors acknowledge that one global currency underpinned by a single organisation would be simpler, doing away with a swathe of intermediaries (including Swift). However, they pose the question that has plagued many within the industry, especially the regulators: do we really want a social media company at the epicentre of the global financial system?

To read the column in full, click here

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In Global Banking & Finance Review, Chris Pogue, Head of Strategic Alliances, Nuix  explains how financial institutions can protect themselves against cyberattacks by quoting from The Pay Off:

"In the Netflix series Money Heist, in which a criminal gang targeted the Spanish Royal Mint to illegally print a few billion Euros worth of untraceable notes.  It sounds like the stuff of Hollywood imagination, but a few years before the show aired the Carbanak hacking group compromised the IT systems of a hundred banks across 40 countries, making off with around a billion dollars in the process.

Why bother with guns, hostages, and getaway headaches when you could steal as much or more from the comfort (and safety) of your sofa?” write Gottfried Leibbrandt and Natasha de Teran in their recent book The Pay Off. These types of crimes are safer, more lucrative, and thanks to the challenges with attribution, apprehension and prosecution of computer-based crimes, a criminal’s odds of getting caught and spending time in jail are orders of magnitude less."

To read the article in full, click here

Paul Cheney reviews "the weird stuff most people don’t bother with" in his blog, HalfMan, Halfbook. Specialising in non-fiction reviews – and mostly focussed on travel and natural history – he took time out to read and review The Pay Off. Here's what Paul said: 

"Leibbrandt and De Terán are very well versed in the hidden systems that keep our democracies alive and functioning. In this book they will take us through all manner of payment systems, from the origins of cash, how the first credit cards were made from cardboard and the detail was written out by hand for each transaction (can you imagine that now) and what the dawn of cryptocurrencies mean for us. Where there is money there are often criminals and they talk about the rise of fraud and the methods used to combat it as well as a chapter on the attempt by North Korea to steal $1billion dollars.

I thought this was an informative and accessible guide to the modern financial world. It had the right balance between the narrative story and details without getting too technical or full of incomprehensible jargon."

To read the article in full, click here