Friday, May 12, 2006

Banking News Link

LUUP launches m-payments in UK and Germany

LUUP has launched its m-payment system in the UK and Germany this week. LUUP can be used to buy small value items such as ringtones or for person to person payments (P2P). The system is NOT phone operator dependent.

LUUP say their retail purchase service is cheaper than premium rate SMS messaging. For P2P they are offering domestic transfers for free for a limited time period and the UK arm is charging £2 for transfers to Germany or Norway.

Many futurologists and commentators believe the concept will eventually catch on. Few are willing to predict when however and which schemes will be successful. A number of attempts to develop this market have been abandoned. A consortium of major European mobile phone operators gave up on their SimPay consortium last year. This year has seen trials by PayPal and also a US launch by OboPay.

In common with most other systems you need a bank account to credit you LUUP account before you can make payments. If you receive P2P payments you need both a LUUP account and a bank account to withdraw the cash. So LUUP offers simplicity but not any additional functionality compared with a bank account. You only need a mobile phone number to make a payment compared with full bank details. the payment is made instantly. However in the UK you have the three day "black hole" waiting for a credit from a bank account and the same time for the recipient to get the cash out. So if a P2P transactions first requires funds to be added to an account the end to end transaction time is double that of a bank transaction or six days longer than handing over cash.

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