The mobile commerce joint venture between UK operators O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere (parent of the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK) has been granted unconditional approval by the European Commission (EC).
Qatari operator group Ooredoo now has one million mobile money customers across its global footprint. The group, which has a presence in Qatar, Indonesia and Tunisia added that mobile money services have contributed to economic and social development in the markets it operates in.
The value of international money transfers made via mobile phones will exceed $10bn for the first time this year, according to Juniper Research. However, the cost and complexity of regulating cash transfer had led many service providers to focus exclusively on airtime top ups, the research firm reported.
In an attempt to ignite take up of its m-wallet offering, Google has launched a cloud-based version of its wallet for its US users. As a result, users can now add Visa, American Express and Discover credit and debit cards, as well as MasterCard, to their wallet.
Just 20 per cent of UK smartphone users have embraced mobile banking services, with fears over the security of personal data chief among the barriers to adoptions, according to a recent survey conducted by YouGov. The survey, initiated by outsourcing firm Firstsource Solutions, also suggested a resistance to mobile wallet services in the UK, with almost 60 per cent of respondents ‘unlikely’ to use such a service.
Apple has agreed to acquire fingerprint security firm AuthenTec in a deal worth around $356m. AuthenTec’s fingerprint technology has been used in mobile phones in Japan for authentication of mobile payments, and Apple is expected to bring those services to more markets.
US government agency the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and bank Citi have announced a global partnership to promote the rapid adoption of mobile money technology in developing nations. USAID and Citi said that they will work with governments, donors, industry and other participants in the payments system to support local mobile money platforms, and will contribute over $23m to the cause.
Banking group the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest have introduced a scheme in the UK allowing customers to withdraw cash from an ATM using a smartphone.
The mobile financial services community is celebrating the tenth anniversary of mobile money. The first ever mobile financial service was launched in Zambia in 2002. It was launched by Celpay, and powered by Visa-owned Fundamo. The service was the first in a movement that has fundamentally transformed the way unbanked and under-banked people in developing nations use financial services.
Latin American operator group América Móvil is spearheading the launch of a mobile money service in Mexico, aimed to serve the nation’s underbanked population. The service, called Transfer, will be launched by a joint venture between the operator, Citibank´s Mexican unit Banamex and local bank Banco Inbursa.
Financial services provider Barclaycard has introduced a sticker-based contactless payments offering to support mobile money transfer service Pingit in the UK.
The global value of mobile payments is set to reach close to $1tn (£591bn) worldwide by 2015. The driver will be consumer demand for devices with NFC technology, which are expected to instigate a 97 per cent growth per year, over the next three years, according to a report by KPMG.
Mobile salary dispersal is being used to fight corruption and ensure workers receive their full wage in emerging markets, according to the head of a mobile commerce and financial services solution provider.
UK mobile payment technology and services provider Monitise has announced plans to acquire US based counterpart Clairmail, in a bid to create the “world’s largest pure-play mobile money company”. Monitise will pay a sum of $173m for the acquisition, which is conditional upon US regulatory and shareholder approvals, and the firm expects the acquisition to be completed before the end of the financial year 2012.
Payment processor Visa has launched a mobile banking product to serve consumers in developing nations. The company said that its Prepaid Mobile offering will provide an open platform for existing mobile money systems.
A new MVNO has launched in the UK, targeted exclusively at the African migrant community, claiming to be the first player to launch prepaid mobile credit transfer over SMS between the UK and Africa. The service effectively allows African callers to reverse charge calls to the UK.
UK cellco O2 recently announced that it is entering the personal-finance sector with the launch in August of two prepaid Visa cards in conjunction with NatWest bank. In a press release issued by O2, a NatWest executive is quoted as saying that these “groundbreaking” cards will “really raise the bar in terms of the added value customers will get from the interaction with their mobile phone.”
Telefonica’s UK mobile operation, O2, has pushed into the financial services space, teaming up with bank NatWest to launch a prepaid debit card.