Friday, December 14, 2012

The balance of non-competitive behavior in mobile payments

Some-one recently showed me a Spanish article published in Columbia (Read here). My Spanish is almost non-existent with only a few emergency words like "cerveza", so the only way that I could understand the article was to get it translated with Google Translate. Turns out, that the local banking council has been complaining about the business practices displayed by Claro (the dominant carrier in Columbia).

According to the article (and the cryptic Google translation), Claro decided to charge between seven and thirteen times more for banking transactions on their network. If I understand the article correctly, this is to fund the additional infrastructure required to offer banking services on their network. We that work in the industry has seen this behavior in other markets where carriers use their unique position to effectively block banks to offer financial services (or even worse) to compete with them, by implementing punitive commercial tariffs to effectively keep banks out of mobile banking.

This behavior is absolutely deplorable and a reflection on the ethics of companies that follow these practices. It is probably illegal in most countries and carriers following these practices should be confronted with legal procedures. By following such practices, the development of branchless banking will be delayed and slowed down. The result of this is that the poor and the most needy will suffer most. Some-one, somewhere should feel ashamed of their way of doing business.

1 comment:

Asaf Riess said...

This is where competition may get in. Companies that offers mobile payments can approach other carriers and deploy a much cheaper prices. The market will force Claro to reduce drastically their fees.