Recently, over at Banktastic, we were talking about the possibility of the whole “mobile wallet” idea being a flying car, but no such thing! In a few year’s time, or perhaps even sooner, using your phone for money transactions is going to be as common as the way we already use phones for communicating, listening to music and creating content.
The Wall Street Journal reporter Amol Sharma has certainly picked up on this, writing about Vodafone and Western Union jumping on the mobile wagon, and of course, pioneering company Obopay.
Obopay, based in Redwood City, Calif., offers domestic money-transfer services in the U.S. and India. Users set up a PayPal-like account online, and then send money via text message, mobile Web browser or specialized software applications they download onto their phone. They can withdraw money from their cellphone accounts using special Obopay debit cards at automatic-teller machines. Obopay is trying out a service with Citibank that allows users to link their existing bank accounts directly to their cellphones, so it is easier to send and withdraw money.
Chief Executive Carol Realini said Obopay is working on a service to handle remittances between the U.S. and India, whose $27 billion in cross-border receipts leads all countries. Regulations have been a hurdle, she said. Besides getting approval from 41 U.S. states and meeting requirements of the U.S. Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act, Obopay must comply with various Indian government rules as well.
In India, Obopay plans to link mobile money transfers to electronic-payment services, so consumers can refill their prepaid phone minutes or pay their utility bills. “This may be the first time many of these people have access to electronic payments — previously they’ve been a cash-based consumer,” Ms. Realini said.
Mobile payment capabilities is going to make our world even more connected than ever! It’s a very exciting time to enjoy and take advantage of this technology.
Want to learn more? Read visit CitiObopay and also read about Obopay’s work in India.
Link to complete article here (subscription service).
Technorati Tags: obopay, wall street journal, carol realini, news, mobile payments, india, citiobopay
December 11th, 2008
In a recent article in PaymentsNews, Jim Bruene wrote about the potential for future mobile payments in the form of a contactless sticker… just a simple sticker that you could place onto a mobile device to instantly enable it for payments. Just a cool idea that I thought I would pass along. To learn more about the stickers, called GO-Tags, click on the article and corresponding blog here.
Technorati Tags: mobile payments, contactless payment sticker, PaymentsNews, Jim Bruene, GO-Tags
September 2nd, 2008
Researchers say that by the beginning of 2010, over half of the world’s population will have a mobile phone! That’s over half of 6.7 billion people! The majority of that growth, and the majority of the growth potential for the future, comes from rural areas in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East… where cell phone companies have continuously been searching for a way to provide reliable service in places with unreliable urban infrastructures. In response to this growth opportunity, a Sweedish-Indian based start-up company has developed an ingenious piece of technology that could reshape the mobile service model for these areas. Instead of trying to implement huge base stations powered by gas generators, the start-up VNL has developed another option: small personal radio towers whose energy needs are equivalent to that of a light bulb.
The upside for a simplified, power efficient base station is huge… Both in terms of providing service to remote areas and in energy conservation (the stations are solar powered!). To learn more check out this article from the Baltimore Sun, or even go directly to the VNL Website.
Technorati Tags: VNL, base station, solar power, bluebox, greenbox, orange box, cell tower, build-it-yourself, mobile users, mobile technology
July 28th, 2008
Sony Ericsson is offering a trio of new mobile devices in their Walkman line, and it is clear that these phones were built to deliver good mobile service and amazing audio quality. All three feature High Quality Audio Playback, which is a step above typical mp3 players, and also include music applications like TrackID, for music recognition, new controls such as the Shake Control, which allows the user to change tracks with the flick of a hand, and SenseMe, an app which allows you to make playlists based on your mood.
The top of the line W902 Walkman Phone sports a 2.2 inch display, accelerometer which changes the screen angle as you shift the phone, and 3G capability with incredible downlink speed of 3.6 mbps for a full html browser. Other features include a front facing camera for video calling, a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, a built in FM radio, and 8GB of memory for all the media. All in all it sounds like a great product, especially for those who take their phone on the go, whether it be running, biking, working out… or wherever. Even though it will never match the business capability of an iPhone or a Blackberry, I like that Sony is taking a least a part of their mobile line-up in a new direction– towards those who don’t necessarily want to be working at home.
Technorati Tags: sony, sony ericsson, w902, walkman phone, trackid, senseme, sony walkman, music phone
July 23rd, 2008
Today, Juniper Research Group released an analysis of the NFC mobile payments opportunity that made all of us here at Obopay crack a big smile. The group forecasted that “the gross transaction value of payments made via NFC contactless technology, for relatively low value purchases (such as refreshments, tickets and food), will exceed $75bn globally by 2013.” Even though this figure may never be completely realized, and even though 2013 is a long way out in the future, it is still reassuring to know that there is, potentially, a big bright 75 billion watt light bulb waiting at the end of the tunnel.
The Juniper analysis goes on to qualify this assessment, stating that “the industry as a whole will need to convince both consumers and merchants of the merits of yet another payment mechanism on top of cash, cheques, credit and debit cards, and to allay understandable (even if unfounded) fears and scepticism about the security of The Mobile Wallet.” And this is absolutely true. The mobile wallet service may be far more convenient and simple and secure than any other payment method out there, but such a transition to mobile finance can only occur if the public initiates it. Over the next 5 years, with the expansion of wireless networking and mobile personal devices, I think it could definitely happen.
Technorati Tags: Juniper Research, mobile wallet, mobile finance, NFC mobile payments, obopay
July 16th, 2008
Yes, after all the talk of the new 3G network, the faster and better way for mobile phones to access the mobile web, the iPhone 3G, Blackberry Bold, and countless other handsets specifically developed for this “cutting edge” technology, Verizon goes and jumps immediately to 4G. As of this morning, head executives announced that Verizon Wireless would be launching a 4G network in 2010, for both better speed and a superior technology platform. Now, as far as I know, these transitions from 1st generation phones to 2nd generation to 3rd generation are supposed to mark giant leaps in the mobile field… so whether or not the change to 4G will live up to the first 2 transitions is questionable at best. But still, the fact that mobile networks are becoming so powerful and fast is a great trend to see! Here’s a chart to give an idea of how 4G speed is supposed to perform.
Technorati Tags: verizon wireless, 4g, iPhone 3g, Blackberry Bold, 2010, 4th generation, mobile network, mobile phone
July 16th, 2008