[Dave Birch] There seems to be no lack of enthusiasm for new mobile payment systems for use at retail POS, and we don’t need to rehearse the arguments why.  While my opinion is that they will have a mountain to climb as NFC comes into the marketplace, others think it’s worth a try.  In Belgium, Banksys is having a go.  Their new system, to be introduced shortly, will be based on encrypted SMS and Banksys claim that it will take no more than 18 seconds to make a payment.  (By way of comparison, the UK banks are targetting 500 milliseconds for the contactless payment cards they will be launching later this year.)  The Belgian mobile operators are on board, now they are waiting for the banks to join up.  There’s no chance that they will do it themselves, not just because they saw the comment by Iain Jamieson, country manager, New Zealand, Visa International that "The payments business is just as complicated as a mobile business. For telcos to try and come in without having a good understanding of the back-office stuff is a big step."

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The CSFI have a round table on mobile banking coming up and they have kindly invited me to talk along with our friends from MiPay and Monetise.  If you’re in town, you should come along, because now that Voca and Link are going to merge, the opinions of MiPay (who have a JV with Voca) and Monetise (who have a JV with Link) will be worth listening to…

Recent developments in mobile banking: a round-table discussion with Steven Atkinson (Monitise), Simon Cavill (Mi-Pay) and Dave Birch (ConsultHyperion).
To be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2007, at Watermen’s Hall, 18 St-Mary-at-Hill, London EC3R 8EF, from 12:30-2:15pm.

There is a generation growing up that would require surgery to separate it from its mobiles. The mobile phone has achieved a ubiquity (3 billion worldwide) which is stunning – and that makes it astonishing that no-one has yet really cracked the mobile banking market. At least, not in the US or Europe (M-Pesa, in Kenya and FNB and Wizzit, in South Africa, are streets ahead, and even the DR Congo has CelPay as its biggest “bank”).

 

But we are on the cusp of a mobile banking revolution – or at least that is what the techies would have us believe. And (unlike the last three cusps) this time they are probably right. So, we are delighted to have been able to set up a round-table discussion with two of the more significant players.

The first potential landscape-changer is Monilink, a new mobile banking platform being launched by Monitise – itself a JV between Link (the ATM provider) and Morse. Already, HSBC/First Direct and A&L are signed up in the UK, and the hope is that other banks will jump on the bandwagon. If they do, banking could look very different indeed.

The other is Mi-Pay, which was founded in 2003 to provide out-sourced prepaid top-up and micro-payment services for mobile initiated payment services. Its core expertise is enabling secure and safe financial transactions from mobile phones; it offers pre-pay top-up, mobile banking, mobile microfinance and handset based authentication.

Given the importance of the Monilink initiative, we are especially pleased that Steven Atkinson – Monitise’s co-founder and CTO – has agreed to walk us through what he sees as the business case and to explain why, this time, it won’t end in tears. We are also very pleased that Simon Cavill, CTO at Mi-Pay, has agreed to share his thoughts on where the industry is going. And, just to make sure there is someone around to ask the really tough questions (and to answer them before anyone else gets a word in), we have Dave Birch, a director (and co-founder) of Consult Hyperion – as well as the Digital Money blogmeister.

My opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public. [posted with ecto]

3 comments

  1. “While my opinion is that they will have a mountain to climb as NFC comes into the marketplace, others think it’s worth a try.”
    Are you saying that non-NFC mobile payments don’t have a chance?

  2. I think that non-NFC mobile payments have a good window of opportunity until NFC equipped mobiles rollout to enough users (0% of users have them right now).
    Despite enthusiastic quotes about handset upgrade rates, many companies still see phones like the venerable 2002 release Nokia 3510i as one of the most active content downloaders.
    Additionally for virtual payments, and physical payments without an NFC enabled POS you still have another market opportunity for systems that use existing mobile infrastucture, available in the merchant and consumer’s hands already.
    We are working on systems that perform these functions today, and can be utilised without waiting for NFC rollout by anyone that wishes to use them.

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