Monday, July 03, 2006

Our comment in the FT

Making m-commerce simple, safe and cheap

By Rob Perkins

Published: July 3 2006 03:00 | Last updated: July 3 2006 03:00

From Mr Rob Perkins.

Sir, With regard to your article on m-commerce ("Mobile phone? That'll do nicely", Digital Business, June 21): it is good to see the mobile payments industry in the spotlight, particularly in light of the recent flux of entrants into this market place. Right now, the biggest driver for the mobile payment industry is the youth market and its increasing demand for smaller purchases such as ringtones and wallpapers. For this market to expand, we need a simple, safe and cost-effective solution. Micro payments via premium SMS (short message service) simply aren't sustainable - the fees are too high for many merchants and simply unaffordable for many consumers.


Young people wanting to make small purchases via their mobile phone need a more cost-effective and controllable m-payment service. In Germany and the UK, mobile phone users can already make payments via a mobile e-money account, that can be topped up from a personal bank account or funded directly from credit/debit cards. Consumers can fully manage their account online, just as they would with online banking, and content providers also benefit from having a cheaper alternative to premium SMS.

The article also suggests that peer-to-peer money transfers via mobile phones are yet to be made possible. However, this concept is already available for consumers wanting to repay friends or split restaurant bills in the UK, Germany, Norway and Poland, for anyone with a mobile phone, any network and via a simple SMS.

If we want m-commerce to take off, we have to focus on making it simpler, safer and cheaper for consumers to make payments via their phone.

Rob Perkins,

Director - UK,


London W1J 8ED, UK

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