This year’s iconic Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, not only had the usual device releases but more significantly it had for the first time a wave of major mobile payments announcements. Probably the most active organisation was Visa, announcing key deals with Orange, Intel and Vodafone, each for very different purposes; Orange for person-2-person (p2p) in the developing world, Intel to develop chips certified for Visa payWave, and Vodafone to enable NFC acceptance in 30 countries.
MasterCard’s version was a Telefónica deal, opening up payment acceptance for 87 million mobile customers in 12 regional Latin American markets. Announcements continued, most noticeably; GCASH and American Express, and ISIS signing more financial institutions (Barclaycard, Capital One and Chase) as well as terminal manufacturers. Finally, news came out that major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, are also out to lead mobile payments by developing their own solutions.
This level of increasing activity continues to confirm the Mobile Commerce Era is here to stay. The winning set of solutions, players, business models and levels of profits are yet to emerge but key positioning with major commitments through multi-party collaboration is occurring fast. The golden question “when will Mobile Commerce be ubiquitous” remains – the answer dictates a probable quick flip from traditional payments channels to new, likely leap-frogging existing infrastructures. It is then the new “mega revenues” will flow, for some!
16 February 2012 – Barclays today launches Europe’s first person-to-person service for sending and receiving money using mobile phone numbers. Barclays Pingit allows users to receive and send money, for free, to anyone with a UK current account and UK mobile phone number, simply by using that mobile number, without the need to share bank details. The Barclays Pingit service will be available to current account customers of all UK banks and building societies, not just those with Barclays current accounts. At launch, only Barclays current account customers will be able to send money via the app, but all current account customers (UK residents and over 18), will be able to register online to receive money. The app will be available to all by early March.
27 February 2012 – Vodafone and Visa today announced a worldwide partnership to enable consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones instead of coins and banknotes. The companies will work together to develop a Vodafone-brandedproposition that will be offered to consumers across Vodafone’s 398-million customer base in more than 30 countries across five continents, enabled by Visa’s outstanding payment network, product suite and brand. The partnership – the largest of its kind between a global payment network and mobile operator – combines the companies’ global reach and expertise to bring Visa payment functionality to consumers around the world.
15 February 2012 – Mobey Forum has today released a white paper entitled: ‘Control Points in Mobile Wallets’,which analyses how the rollout of the mobile wallet will be dictated by the various stakeholders involved in its development and deployment. The paper identifies seven key areas, or ‘control points’, within the mobile wallet ecosystem that will influence the delivery of the technology to end users, and highlights the controlling roles that different stakeholder groups will play in the commercial operation of its supporting infrastructure.
29 February 2012– MasterCard has continued its mobile payment leadership and outlined its vision on how to reach the next billion consumers through mobile innovation and partnerships. At a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona led by its global head of mobile Mung Ki Woo, MasterCard and leading mobile partners Comviva, Intel, iZettle, Santander and Turkcell unveiled a vision for the future of mobile payments. Together, they outlined their shared vision that the future of reaching the next billion consumers through the mobile channel is fueled by collaboration and innovation in a collective effort by all the players in the ecosystem including technology providers, mobile network operators and financial institutions. MasterCard also used the world’s largest mobile event to celebrate a number of new mobile partnerships and initiatives from around the globe.
8 February 2012 – A senior engineer within zvelo, a leading provider of website categorization, URL database and real-time malicious website detection solutions for the OEM market, has discovered a significant security vulnerability in the Google Wallet mobile phone payment system. The engineer cracked and exposed the Google Wallet 4-digit PIN needed in order to authorize and process mobile phone payments. This PIN is intended to serve as the differentiating and additional security component that traditional, physical credit cards do not provide.
9 February 2012 – Yesterday a story was run regarding a brute force method of accessing a person’s Google Wallet pin on their device. Fortunately this doesn’t effect most people since you must be rooted for it to effect you. However, there is yet another security vulnerability in Google Wallet that effects all users regardless of if they are rooted or not. The security flaw is painfully easy to do and requires no extra software nor does it require root. All a person who wants to access your Google Wallet has to do is go into the application settings menu and clear the data for the Google Wallet app. After doing that your Google Wallet app will be reset and will prompt for you to set a new pin the next time you open it.
21 February 2012 – The ability to send mobile payments using just a mobile phone number should be open to everyone, according to the Payments Council’s latest mobile payments project update. The Payments Council is building a central database that will allow customers to link their mobile phone number to their account details, regardless of who they bank with. It will be available to UK banks and building societies before the end of this year as a platform for them to build their own competitive service for their customers. VocaLink has been appointed to build the central database.
27 February 2012 – Fiserv, Inc., a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, today announced findings from the latest Fiserv Consumer Trends Survey, which has provided insight into consumer usage of digital channels for financial services since 2002. This year’s survey revealed that consumers are increasingly gravitating toward online and mobile channels for daily financial management, and that tablet banking services will be increasingly in demand. The survey was completed by 3,000 individuals representative of the U.S. online population of households in August 2011.
28 February 2012 – iZettle, the social payments company, today announced its mobile payments app and mini chip-card reader for iPhone or iPad are now available in open beta in Denmark, Finland and Norway. During the beta phase iZettle is making 5,000 chip-card readers per country available free of charge. iZettle’s iPhone and iPad app, with or without iZettle’s chip-card reader, lets anyone take credit or debit card payments anytime, anywhere. It’s simple to set up and use, and makes it easy to share purchases with friends on Facebook.
2 February 2012 – comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the 2011 edition of its annual State of Online and Mobile Banking report, which provides a comprehensive view of the key online and mobile banking trends in the U.S. in 2011. The report draws its analysis from a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. Internet users, supplemented by data from the comScore Mobile Financial Services Advisor report and the comScore opt-in behavioral panel of over 1 million U.S. Internet users. Among its findings, the report shows an upward trend in customer satisfaction with financial institutions and their banking websites early in 2011 following a decline in previous years.