04/05/2006 - 10:46
LUUP launches m-payments scheme in UK and Germany
A new payments system that allows customers to use their mobile phones to pay for purchases and make fund transfers has been launched in the UK and Germany by Norway-based LUUP.
The LUUP system - formerly known as Contopronto - is independent of mobile phone operators and allows consumers to use their mobile phones as an electronic wallet, connected to a credit card, debit card or bank account. Customers can then use the phone to buy downloads and send money to other account holders.
LUUP uses 128-bit SSL encrypting, plus IP and user password-based client authentication to protect personal data. Online purchases and high value person-to-person payments are confirmed using a PIN code.
The company also plans to offer a LUUP debit card which customers can use to withdraw cash at ATMs across the country.
Jeff Lamont, chief marketing officer at LUUP, says several mobile content merchants have signed up to the service, which provides a better return than using premium rate text messaging where operator fees can top 25%.
'We are becoming the preferred partner of merchants looking for innovative payment solutions, not least because we allow them to offer flexible pricing, strong margins and full visibility of payments," says Lamont.
The introduction of the LUUP m-payments system in the UK follows last week's launch of PayPal's mass-market mobile payments system in Britain and also comes ahead of the launch of Pay4it this summer, which is a mobile micropayments system developed by the UK's five mobile network operators.
But previous m-payments schemes have faired badly in the UK and European markets. In 2003 German mobile payments provider paybox pulled out of the UK consumer market after lack of cooperation among banks and telecommunications hindered uptake of the system by consumers. More recently, plans to develop the first pan-European mobile phone payment platform, called SimPay, collapsed last year after T-Mobile pulled out of the alliance."