Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beem from Mobile Sense makes no sense whatsoever

Does no-one remember the hard-learned lessons of LUUP in the UK? I can't believe that someone else is giving the exact same model a go, especially as nothing in particular has changed in the consumer-need profile or technology maturity profile....

Hope they have the same millions that LUUP's backers do...

m-Payment: Beem Money In The UK

Submitted by Mike Grenville on Mon, 17 Nov 2008 13:31

A new mobile cash transfer and payment system using SMS has been lanched in the UK.

Mobile Sense has launched a mobile cash and payments system called Beem that via text messaging. Using SMS, it can be used by anyone, on any mobile handset, across any network, and is not tied to any bank.

Users load up their Beem account and 'beem' it to pay for goods and services as well as send money to friends and family. All cash transfers take immediate effect and users can have access to their Beem account 24 hours a day, seven days a week, irrespective of location.

Simple SMS Sign Up

Signing up for the service is as simple as sending an SMS. New subscribers simply text 'hello' to Beem 07781 484668 and once they receive a response text back they can choose a password of between 4 and 8 characters to continue. Sign up is free online or just the cost of a text through a mobile phone and once registered users can load up their cash via their debit card and also beem any cash they receive back to their bank.

The only charges for using the service are the costs of sending the texts which are covered by a user's network operator price plan. The service is totally secure and subscribers' details are all kept completely private. Users can even protect their debit card details with a second password.

Kerl Haslam, Beem founder and CEO, said: "Users can even use our 'bank it' facility to text money back to a bank account. If you now forget your cash card or money, there is no need to go via an ATM to get cash, with Beem you can load cash into your account through a simple and secure text message and have access to cash within seconds."

Short Merchant List

The company makes money by charging a small commission fee to the providers of goods and services, similar to how credit card companies charge. It also charges a fixed fee of 75 pence for users to transfer money from a mobile wallet to a bank account.

Businesses that sign up as a Beem merchant will be able to accept secure payments from customers via text either in store or remotely. The service requires no additional hardware or software. Beem also provides merchants with SMS text, opt-in, opt-out, marketing opportunities. Merchants on board so far with Beem in the UK include several pizza chains, taxis firms and University students unions at Brunel and Hertfordshire. However this short list is not going to generate mass adoption and for it to become "real mobile money" as it claims it will need a wide range of merchants or a cluster for a particular market niche.

The company is in discussions with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games for a cashless payment solution for tickets, travel and merchandise in 2012.

Strong Competitors

It has some strong competitors already who, although they have made progress, are still not yet mainstream. For example in the UK PayPal launched mobile in 2006 and started with over 10 million subscribers with 164 million accounts worldwide, though how many use PayPal Mobile is not known. There is also the TextPayMe service that is now powered by Amazon Payments and Luup and Anam Mobile to name a few.

In addition to pushing into the UK market, Mobile Sense has an ambitious aim to be a global company with at least one branch on each continent in the next three years with a global franchising programme through 2009 to cover Brazil, Israel, Africa, Russia, and China.

While in theory mobile payments is a good idea, for it to really take off it has to meet a real consumer need and remove a pain point that they experience. While in some parts of the world such as Kenya, where a large portion of the population are unbanked this has happened, to become widespread in the UK Beem will struggle to find a way to capture both merchants and consumers imagination.

NBAD launches mobile payments in Abu Dhabi - 160 Characters

m-Payment: SMS Bank Payments In Abu Dhabi

Submitted by Mike Grenville on Mon, 17 Nov 2008 15:20

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has rolled out an SMS based payment service that allows customers to access their bank accounts via mobile phones to pay, send, and receive money.

With the NBAD Arrow service, account holders can make a range of payments and money transfers instantly and securely from their mobile phones. This is the first in an 18-month roll-out plan agreed between NBAD and Luup which will extend to remittances, salary payouts, merchant payments and bill payments.

In the first stage of the roll-out, users can make transfers from their NBAD bank account to anyone in the UAE using their mobile phones. If the receiver is also an NBAD Arrow service user, the money goes straight into their bank account, otherwise the amount can be withdrawn from any NBAD ATM within 24 hours by using a code received via SMS.

To send money, users send PAY, the recipient's mobile phone number, the amount and the secure ID token code to 2666. So for example SMS: Pay 0519123456 300 123456 This will send 300 dirham to the person with mobile number 0519123456 with the example secure token code 123456.

In addition, users can pay utility bills as well as donate to charities like the UAE Red Crescent.

Mobile penetration rates outstrip Internet penetration rates by far in the Middle East region and in the UAE it is over 100 percent.


NBAD is a pioneer in the m-payments space because the bank’s senior management realized early on that the existing payment systems lag behind the available technology. NBAD has received many prestigious awards for its innovative products and services. Last month, the bank won ACN Arab Technology Award for Banking & Finance project implementation and CIO of the year and one of the systems the jury especially lauded was our ‘SMS Money Transfer’ service,” said Mr. Ahmed Al-Naqbi, Senior Manager, Channels and Electronic Banking Services at NBAD.

During the launch promotional period, all Arrow services will be FREE until 9th January 2009. Afterwards sending money to anyone in the UAE wil cost 3 AED (0.54 GBP) and paying a bill or donating to a charity will be 1 AED (0.18 GBP) + 2% of transaction value.

Paybox expands its mobile payment service - 160 Characters

m-Payment: Sybase 365 Partners With Paybox

Submitted by Mike Grenville on Tue, 18 Nov 2008 10:51

The partnership agreement between Sybase 365 and mobile payment solutions paybox will extend mobile payments and mobile money services to customers worldwide.

Financial institutions, mobile operators and merchants will now be able to offer their customers various mobile payment services such as payments for goods and services, money transfer and mobile airtime top-up more easily.

Sybase 365 already offers mobile payments via premium SMS billed and mobile banking services. With this agreement financial institutions, mobile operators and merchants will be able to offer their customers mobile payment services including payments for goods and services, money transfer and mobile airtime top-up.

“paybox and Sybase 365 will offer solutions for mobile payments and person-to-person money transfer targeted at both emerging and developed markets” said Matthew Talbot, vice president, mCommerce, Sybase 365

Eckhard Ortwein, CEO paybox said that “This agreement is a natural progression of where the market is headed and what customers are demanding from their mobile phones. By combining mobile messaging and mobile payments offerings, Sybase 365 and paybox are establishing a global standard for mobile commerce services” he said.

An officially certified GSMA Mobile Money Vendor, paybox covers the entire value proposition for emerging markets where mPayment, mBanking and mCommerce solutions create low cost banking services for the unbanked. paybox is behind the mpass SMS payments with O2 and Vodafone recently launched in Germany and has been selected as a finalist for the ‘CHANGING LIVES AWARD’ at AfricaCom.