Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cellular News on Mobile Banking

Success or Failure for the Re-Launch of Mobile Banking

A series of new mobile reports from Javelin Strategy & Research has uncovers significant product marketing requirements for building banks' consumer usage of mobile services. While consumers are better primed for mobile banking now than they were in 2000, financial institutions (FIs) should not consider the mere availability of mobile banking a guarantee of success. FIs should prepare for measured, rather than widespread and immediate, adoption, even though consumers, handsets and mobile networks have made tremendous advancements.

As Javelin's research shows, mobile banking and payments will grow as banks design products based on consumers' mobile needs for simplicity and immediacy while educating end users to curtail perceived risk factors.

Early adopters are projected to be current mobile Internet users (MIUs), who represent 12% of US adults who own cell phones (approximately 27.8 million people). In order to appeal to this sizeable market, FIs will need to focus on the mobile preferences of this population first. These individuals require unique product design strategies, due to a distinct preference for how and why they log on.

Institutions must evaluate the tradeoffs of multiple platforms (downloadable app, SMS, browser-based app) in order to garner adoption beyond the mobile Internet users and reach other segments, such as Gen Y, risk-averse and higher-income consumers, who each have their distinct motivations for using mobile banking. According to President and Founder of Javelin Strategy & Research, James Van Dyke, "If 'anywhere, anytime' banking is the benefit of mobile banking, then providing all platforms satisfies the most fundamental consumer preference for 'anywhere.' By taking a targeted product and audience approach, banks and payments firms can finally increase the near-term return on mobile product and marketing investments."

On the other side of this mobile banking adoption equation are the perceived security vulnerabilities. According to the study of over 2,200 online consumers, one in two people (49%) perceives mobile banking to be unsafe, yet analytical review shows that this channel offers important security advantages and minimized risks compared to online banking. Institutions must proactively address the perceived security flaws while unflinchingly touting the relative safety advantages. Resulting from these survey findings is Javelin's call to the industry for an open forum collaboration for security requirements among carriers like AT&T, Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.; financial institutions; as well as leading vendors like ClairMail, Firethorn, Fronde, mFoundry, MShift, and M-Com.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Post Office launch mobile payment service

Post Office launch mobile payment service

Link: Post Office delivers handset payments

Here’s the second story on barcode usage in the UK that I’ve blogged about today. Hopefully with the power of the Post Office behind this one it’ll turn into a popular method for companies to send cash to consumers.

A METHOD of paying out cash by sending barcodes to mobile phones has been launched by the UK’s Post Office. Known as Payout it is now available from any of the Post Office’s 14,000 UK branches. The system will handle amounts up to £100 and is an ideal way of sending small amounts of cash or providing refunds to people who don’t have bank accounts.

There’s no costs mentioned in the article, but one of the trialists - consumer giant Unilever - are quoted as saying ‘raising a cheque is 600 per cent more expensive than using the Post Office payout service’.

Now if the Post Office offer it as a consumer to consumer service, we will be cooking on gas..

Safaricom & M Pesa in Kenya - SMS Text News

Safaricom launches Africa’s first mobile money service

Link: IOL Technology - Kenya pioneers ‘mobile money’ in African first

More than 60 percent of Kenyans have access to banks or microfinance institutions, but a staggering 38 percent - mostly living in rural areas - are entirely unbanked, according to data collected by Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSDK).

However, more than half the population either owns or has access to a cellphone, generating a new means by which banking and financial services could be provided, according to Safaricom’s Chief Financial Officer Les Baillie.

Now this is cool - especially given the figures above about how many Kenyans don’t have bank accounts but do have access to a mobile phone.

M-Pesa users can send up to 35 000 Kenyan Shillings (about R3 800) per transaction and keep up to 50 000 Kenyan Shillings in a “virtual account” for later use.

To use the service, senders hand over funds to a Safaricom shop to be converted into “mobile money” that is “transferred” by text to the recipient, who then withdraws it as cash at another Safaricom shop.

The fees for sending and withdrawing run up to 170 shillings, a mere fraction of the cost charged by other money transfer agencies, which ask for up to 10 percent of the amount being sent.

Although you’ve still got to make the trip to pick up the money, it’s a lot more convenient (and cheaper) than the old methods, like Western Union. (Thanks to SMS Text News reader Malcolm for the tip!)

PayPal introduces Mobile Checkout

PayPal today introduced PayPal Mobile Checkout - it gives merchants a way to support mobile checkout on their existing web sites by providing PayPal users a way to easily activate and enroll to make online purchases from their mobile phones. Details here.