Thursday, December 21, 2006

Helio partners with Obopay - FierceWireless

Helio taps Obopay for mobile payments

Chalk another MVNO up for Obopay: After announcing an expected deal with Amp'd Mobile, Obopay has signed one with MVNO Helio for its mobile payments service. Just like the Amp'd offering, Obopay will enable Helio subscribers to use its "real-time, secure, mobile peer-to-peer payment service, which is linked to an Obopay Prepaid MasterCard account." The service allows users to check balances, view payment histories, add funds and more.

For more details on the Helio-Obopay tie-up:- read the company
press release

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

African mobile payments - 160 Characters

m-Payment: African Virtual Pre-Pay By SMS

Submitted by Mike Grenville on Tue, 12 Dec 2006 11:36

Text messages are helping resellers replace scratch cards in Africa and South America.

Africa has the quickest growth rate in pre-pay communication, over and above any other region in the world apart from Eastern Europe. Africa had more than 60 million pre-pay subscriptions at the end of 2003 increasing to 100 million in 2005, nearly doubling the size of the market in just two years.

For GSM operators in Africa, as well as in Asia and Latin America, 75-90 per cent of their revenue comes from pre-pay. In these places, few people have credit cards or bank accounts and so scratch cards are mostly used to top up credit. However, as well have having distribution problems to remote areas, they are also vulnerable to theft.

XIRING believes that the pre-pay communication solution that they have developed, in conjunction with Expand, will provide operators with a secure and flexible way to resell credit. Xiring with card

All the operator has to do is provide the merchant with a time credit, which is uploaded onto a smart card and inserted into a mobile XIRING reader. After inserting the correct PIN code, recharge numbers are generated which can then be resold o mobile phone users. The user then sends a SMS to the operator with the recharge code and receives a SMS in return with their time credit.

There are two styles of offline card readers - one small and other like PDA size which can connect to small printer as required legally in some countries. Roger Mecheri

Roger Mechri,(pictured) International Indirect Sales Manager, XIRING comments: “This type of pre-pay solution is particularly valuable in the developing world, such as Africa, where there is an absence of telecommunications infrastructure and where there are very few cash points and even fewer people with bank accounts. The mobile pre-pay technology allows GSM operators to increase their distribution channels, reaching a much larger network of people, even those individuals in the more deprived regions."

“This virtual pre-pay solution also provides greater security allowing operators to get rid of scratch cards and the associated problems of control and distribution. Africa has the quickest growth rate in pre-pay communication, over and above any other region in the world apart from Eastern Europe. Africa had more than 60 million pre-pay subscriptions at the end of 2003 increasing to 100 million in 2005, nearly doubling the size of the market in just two years.”

Launched February 2006, so far three companies are using the solution in Africa; MTN Nigeria has 5,000 terminals distributed, Nginge Boke 2,000 terminals in South Africa, Expand in Seychelles and in South America Umbryo in Brazil is running a pilot. Discussions are progressing with two operators in Madasgascar - Orange & Madagascar Telecom.

"The technology is encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit amongst small businesses keen to distribute the solution, thereby helping to stimulate the local economies in Africa" said Mechri.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Barclays Oyser Card - ePaymentNews

Barclays to Add London Transit to Contactless Cards
Transport for London

Dec 14 2006 : Barclays Bank is to launch contactless credit and debit cards that double up as Oyster travel cards.

Oyster is a prepaid contactless smart card that contains London transit tickets. Since Oyster was launched in 2003, 6 million cards have been issued to Londoners. Oyster cards can be topped up over the Internet, by phone or at a ticket office. One of the UK's top five banks, Barclays has signed an agreement with TranSys, which runs the Oyster card scheme on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), the capital's transit authority. The deal gives Barclays exclusive rights to place Oyster on contactless Barclaycard credit cards and Barclays Connect Visa debit cards for the next three years. Barclays says its contactless credit and debit cards will contain EMV chip-and-PIN technology. For transactions over £10 (US$19.70), cardholders will need to swipe their cards and enter a PIN. However, for payments under that amount, cardholders will simply wave their cards in front of a contactless reader, Barclays says. Following a trial in February 2007 involving Barclays, Visa, TranSys and TfL, the first Barclaycards and Barclays Connect cards to include Oyster will be issued in mid-2007, Barclays says. Barclays is the first UK bank to commit to launching contactless cards, although Royal Bank of Scotland has been trialing contactless cards at its Edinburgh head office. Last month, Visa UK announced that its member banks had agreed to roll out contactless cards across Britain, starting in London, by the end of next year.

Related Links
Barclays news release
Transport for London website
Visa UK Plans Contactless Rollout in 2007
MasterCard Announces European Contactless Trials
RBS Says Contactless EMV Trial a Success

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Infineon E-purse - ePayments News

Infineon Combines Contactless E-purse with Access Cards


Dec 06 2006 : Chip manufacturer Infineon has implemented a contactless e-purse payment system for 6,500 employees working at its new site in Munich, Germany. Staff have been issued with smart cards which carry both e-purse and security access information on the same Infineon chip, the firm says.

The chip is loaded with e-cash at a loading station and used at locations such as the canteen, food and drink vending machines, coffee machines, and the on-site hairdressers. These locations have been equipped with 140 contactless e-purse payment terminals from France's Thales. The 140 terminals between them process some 10,000 transactions per day, says Infineon. The canteen uses a cash register system from Schaupp along with Thales's AVT.compact payment terminals. Infineon has also installed AVT.compact terminals in food and drink vending machines.

Additionally, one hundred coffee machines have been equipped with the unattended Thales AVT.controller module, Infineon says.
The rollout of e-purse technology has been a success, with noticeably shorter waiting times at busy locations such as the canteen's cash registers, Infineon says. More than 90 percent of all staff payments at Infineon's Munich offices are now being made electronically, it says. "In the canteen, we are able to process six payments a minute," Wolf Ruediger Moritz, Infineon's Vice President of Business Continuity, says in a statement. "Even at peak hours, we no longer have substantial queues." Infineon was previously the semiconductor division of Germany's Siemens.

Related Links
MasterCard, Keycorp Offer Low-Cost Contactless Cards
Europe's Unattended Payment Market Set To Grow
UK's EMV Cards Could Carry An Oyster Application
Japan's E-Cash Market Holds Many Opportunities

Netcash - ePaymentnews

Netcash Launches Digital Currency In UK


Dec 04 2006 : UK start-up Netcash has launched a digital currency system, which it says can be used for both PC and mobile phone-based payments.

The system, also known as Netcash, is being marketed to retailers as a low-cost alternative to accepting credit card payments over the Internet. As a special promotion, Netcash is waiving its standard one-time, sign-up fee of £ 450 (USD885) which includes integration of Netcash as a payment option on the retailer's Website.

To buy Netcash currency, consumers can deposit physical cash at one of the company's partner high street banks or make an electronic transfer from their Internet bank account to Netcash. They can then email Netcash currency to other people, or make a funds transfer from the Netcash Website, the firm says. Netcash claims that the system offers real-time funds transfers for a fee of 1 percent of total transaction value. As no credit cards are used to make online purchases, there is no risk of chargebacks from stolen cards, it says. The system can also handle micropayments, for example media content downloads, according to Netcash In a statement, Netcash says its system has already been implemented by, a UK firm which provides e-commerce services to online merchants.

Netcash also says the Netcash system is accepted by a number of online retailers in the UK. But, in addition to targeting retailers, Netcash wants to encourage consumers to use its payments system on eBay as an alternative to PayPal.
Congleton, Cheshire-based Netcash says it is accredited as an e-money issuer by the Financial Services Authority, the UK banking regulator. The firm is run by managing director Paul Tolley and international marketing coordinator Mark Hodkin.

Related Links
Netcash website
Financial Services Authority
PayPal to Support 10 Extra Currencies