A year ago, I blogged about Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announcing the intention to become an MVBO – a Mobile Virtual Banking Operator.
The idea is to offer the mechanism for anyone to process mobile payments through the RBS payments system.
The first result of this strategy is the announcement of O2, the mobile carrier, partnering with RBS to offer Visa payment cards in the UK. From small acorns …
This is not to say that m-payments is just an MVBO space, as the European Payments Council is actively working with the GSM Association to develop standards in this space and other infrastructures, such as Monitise, creating joint ventures with Visa.
But Nokia's press release yesterday annoucning that they are working with PayPal is intriguing, to say the least. Here's what it says:
Nokia today introduced Nokia Money, a new mobile financial service offering consumers with mobile device access to basic financial services. For many consumers, this will be the first time they have had any access to such financial services.
Nokia Money has been designed to be as simple and convenient as making a voice call or sending an SMS. It will enable consumers to send money to another person just by using the person's mobile phone number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards (SIM top-up).
The services can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere, meaning savings in travel costs and time …
Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts. The Nokia Money service will be operated in cooperation with Obopay, a leader in developing global mobile payment solutions, which Nokia invested in earlier this year. The service is based on Obopay's mobile payment platform, with unique and newly developed mobile elements. Nokia intends the service to be open and interoperable with other payment services as well ..
The Nokia Money service will be shown for the first time at Nokia World on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany, and it is planned to be rolled out gradually to selected markets, beginning in early 2010.
There's a great quote in there as well, from Mary McDowell, EVP and
Chief Development Officer, Nokia:
"With more than 4 billion mobile phone users and only 1.6 billion bank
accounts, global demand for access to financial services presents a
strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with simple but powerful
financial services such as Nokia Money."
It just makes me wonder whether this means all the handset manufacturers create m-payment systems with Sony Money, iPhone Money (MoBank), and more; and then all the mobile carriers have theirs too with O2 Money, Vodafone Money, T-Mobile Money and more.
If so, there's too many and eventually someone will win out to be the eventual PayPal for Mobile Payments. That's a thought, what are PayPal doing?
Not enough from all I can see. Launched as first mover in 2006, PayPal Mobile has been relatively quiet ever since. Some would say, in fact, that it's going nowhere because they lack a mobile merchant acquirer and the current merchant processing fees are too high for mobile. But don't discount PayPal too fast as they definitely have the brand for this space … if only they can get the business model to go with it.
Dontcha just love this mobile stuff …