Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mobey Forum

The Mobey Forum was founded in 2000 - almost at the same time that Fundamo was established. Many companies and industry organisations that was founded during those early times, disappeared. There something of a resilience that I sense in the survivors. Now that the industry is starting to take off and that more and more banks are starting to announce their interest in mobile banking it is important to take cognisance of organisations that have been around. Some of the lessons learned and the insights (like good wine) can only be gathered through time.

What is refreshing about the Mobey Forum is the changes that have been made in the past few months. I believe this is a direct result of good leadership and expect the Forum to play an important role to make mobile banking mainstream banking business as it should be. Some of the important advances at Mobey Forum are the following:
  • Invitation to other players in the ecosystem to join the Forum. Up to recently the Forum was definitely bank-centric, but some of the leading mobile operators as well as solution providers have now also joined.
  • Discussion and communication with the GSM Association is also a step in the right direction.
  • The development of specific models, but with sufficient emphasis on bank-robust security requirements is also good. In the end mobile banking and payments is about dealing with client's money and the same levels of security available in other channels should also be made available on mobile phones.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

JupiterResearch Mobile Banking Findings

JupiterResearch released a research report on the 6th April with interesting findings regarding Mobile Banking. This concept report (according to Jupiter website) is five pages long and can be purchased for $750 - that is $150 per page... not bad. I am not sure what have been written in the report and how the analysts that worked on the report came to the conclusion that they did get to, as I was not prepared to buy the report.

What I did read, was the media release made by Jupiter (probably to get people to buy the report). This release was featured on many online newspapers (Newsweek, Finextra, Slashphone, to name a few), and highlighted the fact that only 8% of people with cellphones and regular online customers of existing banks would like to get their balance from their cellphones.

It also seems that the analysts came to the groundbreaking conclusion that " banks should not offer mobile services that aim to mirror or duplicate the online experience" and also "Mobile banking can add an anywhere element, but banks should identify where such ubiquity is crucial." In addition, another amazing insight was that younger and 'under-banked' consumers were identified as consumers who might want to use this service.

The conclusion reached by Jupiter: "that consumers have limited interest in mobile banking" seems to me then only holds true for a percentage of customers that already log on to their Internet banking regularly. It seems to me that this conclusion would not be applicable to banks that would want to sell to younger customers or those customers that are 'under-banked'. This conclusion is also not applicable to banks with a need to augment existing services and provide "an anywhere element" to their services.

To summarise, executives in banks without the need to grow their subscriber base or launch new innovative products, without the need to augment existing functionality and provide functionality to younger customers, should rush out and pay $750 for this five page report.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Some of the activities in mobile payment

Just to show the activity in this space, I thought I would just list announcements and newsfeeds on Finextra since January in mobile payment and banking:

2 -
Online Resources announced the launch of its mobile banking and bill payment service
2 - US bank Wachovia is offering online banking customers a patent-pending mobile account information and intra-account funds transfer service
8 - Visa has formally launched its mobile payments platform
10 - Hybyte has launched AirPayment,) billing solution that supports PayForIt
23 - Norway-based LUUP has signed National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) to its mobile payments system
24 - Obopay, the first comprehensive mobile payment service in the U.S., today announced that it is entering the Indian market


8 - MasterCard has partnered with Taipei Fubon Bank and Taiwan Mobile to launch an NFC mobile phone payment pilot programme across the island.
8 - Royal Bank of Scotland to offer mobile banking via MoniLink.
12 - MasterCard is to work with GSM wireless network operators to pilot an international remittance system using mobile payments technology.
12 - An agreement with Telus will bring ClairMail's mobile banking systems to a large customer base in Canada.
12 - Vodafone and Citigroup announce worldwide mobile financial remittance venture.
13 - Bank of America is to roll out a comprehensive mobile banking service to its 21 million online banking customers nationwide.
13 - China Unicom and SmartPay launch 'mobile wallet' in Guangdong.
15 - Morgan Stanley credit card unit Discover Network is working with Motorola to trial a combined mobile account management and payment service
20 - Cyphermint announced that it has released the PayCash Mobile Wallet.
27 - Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo iteam with McDonald's to enable payment for purchases via customer mobile phones.
28 - Citibank and Obopay launch a pilot person-to-person mobile payment service for its credit and debit card customers.

9 -
Marcus Theaters and Mobile Candy Dish today announced the pilot launch of a new service that allows consumers to use their mobile phones to buy movie tickets and more.
15 - US e-payments firm First Data is teaming with Germany's NCS to offer mobile payment processing services to its merchant and banking customers worldwide.
16 - Masabi, the secure mobile applications company, today revealed a working prototype of a graphically rich, secure mobile banking application.
16 - Vodafone is teaming with German rail operator Deutsche Bahn to develop and implement a mobile phone-based electronic ticketing and payment service called Touch&Travel.
20 - Belgian payments network Banksys and network operators Base, Mobistar and Proximus launched a system for consumers to pay for high street purchases via mobile phone.
23 - US mobile telco Cellular South is teaming with phone manufacturer Kyocera Wireless to launch a multi-city consumer trial of NFC-enabled wireless wallet technology.
27 – Monitise team up with American fintech vendor Metavante to launch and operate a wireless payments and banking network in the US.
28 – Obopay announced the introduction of Obopay Checkout.
29 - Firethorn Holdings, LLC, confirmed today that Verizon Wireless is working with Firethorn to introduce its mobile banking and payments solution.

2 -
Visa USA president and CEO John Coghlan called for closer collaboration between the payment card and mobile industries
2 - SmartPay and China Unicom team for mobile payments in Shandong
3 - Citibank launched a mobile banking application, called Citi Mobile, that customers can download to their hand sets
16 - The Mobey Forum has signed up Dutch banks ING and Rabobank and mobile operators Telenor, TeliaSonera and SK Telecom as new members
17 - MonVia, a specialty firm that helps accelerate the growth of early stage start-ups, today announced the launch of MobiBucks, a mobile payment solution
18 - Gresham Computing, the real-time financial solutions specialist, today announced the enhancement of its Clareti Connect product suite to include mobile banking
20 - Fidelity Express is teaming with e-payments outfit Cyphermint to launch a service that will enable its customers to pay bills using their mobile handsets
24 - Morse is to spin off its mobile banking arm Monitise and list the business on the AIM
24 - Altair Financial Services International has launched a totally revolutionary addition to Altair’s Prepaid Card services that makes use of SMS on mobile phones
27 - MFoundry announced a formal agreement with wireless leader Sprint that will bring mobile banking to subscribers
30 – Analyst report : Opportunities and challenges for m-banking and m-payments by Katy Jacob and Caroline Boyd of the Centre for Financial Services Innovation
30 - Japanese telco KDDI and Mitsubishi-Tokyo-UFJ Bank have joined forces to launch a mobile Internet banking business later this year

I know that we at Fundamo are busy with a number of accounts that we don’t even talk about. If this is the number of announcements then I don’t even want to know how many things are being worked on that people are not talking about at this stage. I think this is an absolute indication that the tipping point has been reached.