Belgian mobile operators launch m-payment service
Buy waffles with your phone
Belgium's three main mobile operators, Belgacom's Proximus, KPN's BASE and Mobistar, launched a mobile payment system on Tuesday.
The operators have teamed up with electronic payments company Banksys and Belgium's banks to offer the service, which is designed to enable mobile users to pay for home deliveries, tradespeople, or indeed anyone providing a service, with their mobile handsets.
It is available to all BASE, Mobistar and Proximus customers. Users must have a SIM card enabled with Banksys' m-banxafe technology and a Belgian bank card featuring Bancontact or Mister Cash debit facilities.
The mobile operators will generate revenues from the service by charging a fee to both the end-user and the payee in each transaction. Customers will pay €0.25 including VAT and merchants €0.49 excluding VAT. The operators will not charge a connection or subscription fee.
In order to use the service, customers have to register their SIM card and link it to their bank account.
To carry out a transaction, the payee makes a request for payment using his mobile phone. The paying party then receives a text message asking for payment, which he then authorises using a passcode. Both parties receive a text message confirming the transaction.
The payment is carried out as though the customer had used his debit card.
In a joint statement, the mobile operators and Banksys noted that the scheme is a practical solution for customers who don't have cash to hand and cannot get access to an ATM. From the tradesman's point of view, the service provides security in that it guarantees immediate payment.
BASE, Mobistar and Proximus have been working on the service for some time, having initially announced plans to provide m-payments using m-banxafe technology in July last year.