About Bits about Money

By Patrick McKenzie. About the modern financial infrastructure that the world sits atop of.

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The business of wallets

2024-05-01 06:00:00

How digital wallets work, and how payment costs drive a lot of product decisions inside and around them.

Anatomy of a credit card rewards program

2024-03-30 03:00:00

Credit card rewards are mostly funded out of interchange, a fee paid by businesses to accept cards.

Financial systems take a holiday

2024-03-01 03:01:00

Ever wondered about what happens when banks are closed or why some apps have operating hours? It's fascinating.

The business of check cashing

2024-01-31 06:51:53

Check cashing, as a business, is a poorly understood "alternative" financial service.

Payroll providers, Power, Respect

2023-12-21 10:19:55

Payroll processors exist to provide financial infrastructure and because political economy is complicated.

The Long Shadow of Checks

2023-12-14 03:24:05

A lot of more modern financial infrastructure follows the paths blazed by checks, at least in the U.S.

The Bond villain compliance strategy

2023-11-25 02:51:42

Jurisdictional gamesmanship is a common strategy for crypto businesses. Here is how it worked out for Binance and its CEO. Spoiler: poorly.

Seeing like a Bank

2023-11-08 01:58:39

The structural reasons why banks sometimes behave bizarrely in interactions with customers, like forgetting things which customers tell them.

A review of Number Go Up, on crypto shenanigans

2023-09-30 00:52:31

A review of Zeke Faux's Number Go Up, with some bonus commentary on financial journalism and Tether specifically.

Credit card debt collection

2023-08-12 03:18:44

Credit card debt is the waste stream of consumer finance. The debt collection industry ends up being sordid, for complex structural and microeconomic reasons.

Requiem for a bank loan

2023-06-17 00:46:49

A brief retrospective on an attractive product First Republic used to offer, and a wider discourse on the banking crisis.

Deposit franchises as natural hedges

2023-05-06 01:40:11

Many observe that banks seem to be blowing up due to predictable consequences of rising interest rates. How did we get here?

Deposit insurance maximization as a service

2023-04-06 00:44:58

In the wake of the recent banking crisis, there is some attention to deposit insurance limits. Some products increase them; here is how.

Banking in very uncertain times

2023-03-15 02:00:00

We may be in the early stages of a banking crisis: why, what we're doing to avoid it, and what we may not get about it.

Improving how credit cards work under the covers

2023-02-25 01:09:32

Card networks are legacy systems. Some bugs have persisted for decades, surprisingly, but they can be fixed. Stripe provides examples.