Paymo extends reach to 45 countries…

China’s e-commerce door opens wider…

Cross-border opportunity for UK’s
Ivobank…

Hungarian motorists now pay by mobile…

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Paymo extends reach to 45
countries

Continuing its aggressive
geographical expansion during March, Paymo increased the number of
countries in which its mobile phone-based micro-payments service is
available from 39 to 45. Included among the new markets is the US,
Paymo’s home country, where it has agreements with major mobile
network operators AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Virgin Mobile
(see EPI 260).

In essence, Paymo’s service enables consumers
to charge low-value internet purchases to their mobile phone bills,
opening up the market to some 70 percent of internet users who do
not have credit cards.

According to Paymo, with the launch of its
service in the US and the four other countries its potential market
now exceeds 1 billion consumers.

 

CHEQUES

NCR takes remote capture into
the home

Targeting a gap in the US remote
cheque deposit market, self-service technology specialist NCR
Corporation has launched NCR APTRA Consumer Passport, a solution
that enables consumers to undertake cheque deposits from home via
their internet banking service.

Consumers using NCR’s solution are required to
endorse and scan both sides of the cheque and then submit it
electronically via their online banking service for validation,
processing and clearing. NCR’s solution is compatible with TWAIN,
the most widely used home scanning device application programming
interface.

“Beyond improving customer experience and
adding a new channel for broadening its customer base, NCR APTRA
Consumer Passport gives a financial institution one more way to
streamline processes and reduce cost, which is especially critical
in today’s challenging economy,” said Brian Bailey, NCR’s
vice-president of financial industry marketing.

 

ONLINE PAYMENTS

China’s e-commerce door opens
wider

An agreement that will increase
Chinese consumers’ access to online retailers in other countries
has been entered into by Hong Kong-based AsiaPay and ChinaPay, the
online payments unit of China’s only payment card organisation,
China UnionPay (CUP).

The agreement will enable AsiaPay’s 3,000
merchants in South Asia to collect online, real-time payments from
Chinese consumers paying with their local currency CUP cards.
AsiaPay’s service supports 4 processing settlement currencies: Hong
Kong dollars, US dollars, euros and Japanese yen.

“This is an important move for ChinaPay to
join the international payment market,” said ChinaPay general
manager Xiaofeng Li.

Indicative of the scale of China’s online
consumer market, Taobao the country’s largest consumer online
e-commerce website, recorded a transaction volume of CNY99.96
billion ($14.6 billion) in 2008.

 

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Merchant e-Solutions adds Bill
Me Later

eBay’s strategy to grow revenues
from its two alternate payments units has received a boost from
US-based Merchant e-Solutions’ (MeS) decision to integrate Bill Me
Later (BML) into its online payment gateway, processing platform
and reporting system.

According to MeS, which provides payment
processing services to community banks and their merchants, it
processes more than $14 billion dollars in payments annually for
some 65,000 merchants, supports 150 currencies, all major credit
and debit cards and numerous alternative payment solutions.

Unlike its stable-mate PayPal, BML offers
consumers making online purchases short-term credit facilities.

Credit is a tough game right now, with eBay
reporting that BML had a 90-day delinquency rate of 3.94 percent at
the end of 2008. This compares with a US national 90-day
delinquency rate of 1.21 percent on credit cards in the fourth
quarter of 2008 as reported by credit bureau Trans-Union.

 

INTERNET BANKING

Cross-border opportunity for
UK’s Ivobank

UK-based start-up internet bank
Ivobank has launched a cost-competitive, cross-border service
enabling customers to transfer money from their online account to
any bank account in the UK, Austria, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands,
Germany and Ireland.

For the service, Ivobank charges neither
commission nor a currency fee and levies only a fixed foreign
exchange rate fee of 1.7 percent. Payments reach their destination
account in three days.

“Existing services can be expensive and, now
more than ever, people need to avoid wasting money on transfer
fees,” said Ivobank commercial development director Martin
Peterlechner.

“This is an ideal opportunity for Ivobank to
step into this market and provide people with a service to rival
others,” he added.

Launched in June 2008, Ivobank accounts can be
opened by consumers in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy,
Germany and Canada.

 

INTERNET BANKING

Global punters get online
banking option

Citadel Commerce’s new internet
banking payments-processing service focused on the global online
gaming industry has gained another significant user with the
decision by Gibraltar-registered PartyGaming to integrate it into
its cashier system.

One of the largest players in the online
gaming market, Party-Gaming reported net revenue of $473 million in
2008 and gross revenue running at an annualised $560 million in the
four weeks to 4 March 2009.

In essence, the service enables an online
gaming firm’s customer to log into their own internet banking
service and initiate a payment directly to a Citadel bank account.
According to Citadel its online bank service supports instant
payment for some 600 million bank accounts in 36 countries.

Citadel Commerce’s internet banking service,
which commenced operation in September 2008, had as its first
adopter 888 Holdings, an online gaming firm which reported net
gaming revenue of $255 million in 2008.

Other adopters of Citadel’s internet banking
service include St Minver, one of Europe’s largest online poker
networks and a supplier of white-label gaming solutions, and
Malta-registered Unibet which reported gross gaming revenue of £123
million ($170 million) in 2008.

Citadel is a unit of Canadian gaming industry
services supplier ESI Entertainment Systems.

 

INTERNET BANKING

Norway now a nation of online
bankers

Norwegian’s are amongst the world’s
most enthusiastic internet bankers, so much so that Norwegian
technology developer EDB Business Partner believes the number of
online accounts could overtake the size of Norway’s population
during 2009.

This is not beyond the realms of possibility
in a country where, according to EDB, the number of customers
holding internet banking accounts increased by 8 percent in 2008 to
4.2 million. This already represents a level at which virtually
every Norwegian adult now uses internet banking to pay accounts and
manage their personal finances, noted EDB.

Norwegians are also using internet banking
services more extensively as indicated by a 12 percent increase in
the number of bills paid online in 2008. The average number of
bills paid via online banking services in 2008 was 61 per
customer.

EDB developed the first internet banking
system in Norway in 1996.

 

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Logica talks up new payments
hub

Put to the test by US technology
vendor Sun Microsystems, Logica All Payments Solution (LAPS), a new
payments hub developed by UK technology and business services
company Logica, has significantly exceeded targets set.

Conducted at Sun’s testing facility in
Scotland, the test replicated the requirements of a global bank
processing outgoing Single Europe Payments Area credit transfer
requests.

“The benchmark proves that LAPS can process
over 50 million transactions per hour, which exceeded the original
test targets by a phenomenal 70 percent,” said Joaquin de
Valenzuela, Sun’s global retail banking solutions manager.

Logica stressed that LAPS’ performance
exceeded “by far” the low value volume transaction requirements for
any bank, from the smallest to the very largest.

According to Logica, LAPS can cater for
retail, domestic, international, urgent/timed, single and mass
payments within a single deployment.

Logica also stressed a key feature of LAPS is
that it differentiates processing on the basis of the required
payment service – such as priority, risk profile, preferred
delivery channel – as opposed to the traditional separation by
transaction value.

 

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Faster Payments’ first £1bn
day

Continuing to gain momentum, the
UK’s Faster Payments Service (FPS) reached another major milestone
on 2 March when for the first time it processed transactions with a
total value of £1 billion ($1.4 billion) in a single day, reports
industry body APACS.

The value of the 5 million payments processed
broke the previous daily record set on 1 December 2008 when 3.9
million transactions valued at £730 million were processed.

Of the payments processed on 2 March, over 4
million payments were standing orders, some 750,00 were immediate
payments made online or by phone and the remainder were forward
dated payments.

APACS noted that since its launch in May 2008,
FPS has processed over 125 million effectively real-time payments
with a total value of about £46 billion. APACS anticipates FPS will
play a major role in increasing volumes of inter-bank online, phone
and standing order payments from 472 million in 2007 to a forecast
622 million in 2017.

 

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

Gemalto buys NXP’s mobile
payments unit

Extending an already close working
relationship, digital security specialist Gemalto is to acquire the
mobile payments technology business of semiconductor developer and
manufacturer NXP Semiconductors for an undisclosed sum.

The two Dutch companies said the rationale for
the deal is to accelerate adoption of mobile phone-based near-field
communication (NFC) technology and further promote the deployment
of NXP’s contactless MIFARE solution used extensively in transport
ticketing and access control applications.

Under the agreement, the related NXP mobile
payments development unit based in France will continue to develop
and market software and service solutions compliant with the
MIFARE4Mobile interface specifications which manage MIFARE-based
applications in NFC-equipped mobile devices. The specifications of
the MIFARE4Mobile interface and associated intellectual property
will remain in the ownership of NXP.

Gemalto’s flagship product in the mobile
payments market is its Trusted Service Manager platform which links
transport operators, banks and mobile network operators enabling
the mobile phone to be used with existing payment and contactless
ticketing infrastructure.

 

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Belgacom buys into mobile
payments

Marking its first move into mobile
payments, Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom has acquired
a 40 percent stake in Belgian mobile payments specialist Tunz for
an undisclosed sum.

Founded in January 2007, Tunz has developed an
open payment platform offering mobile payment solutions including
near field communication contactless payments, national and
international person-to-person payments, internet payments and
ticketing. In addition, Tunz holds a European electronic money
license.

Belgacom vice president of innovation Stijn
Vander Plaetse said: “The Belgacom Group considers mobile payments
as a key domain in its development of innovative services.

“Based on our recent evolution in mobile
parking services [see EPI 253], we are convinced that
together with Tunz we will realise a quick uptake of mobile
micro-payments in other domains.”

 

LEGAL

Visa accused of patent
infringement

A Florida, US court will decide who
is right and who is wrong in a battle between credit card
information processing services provider Charge Notification
Services Corporation (CNSC) and Visa over a short message service
(SMS) payments solution.

An aggrieved CNSC alleges that Visa has
infringed one of its patents covering payment card transaction
authorisation and/or notification in real-time via SMS to a
cardholder’s mobile phone.

Following what CNSC CEO Ivan Ochoa said had
been months of exhaustive but futile attempts to work with Visa on
the issue, a decision had been made to file a lawsuit against the
company.

In August 2008, Visa announced it had would
partner with eight North American financial institutions of
real-time notification alerts’ pilot programme using SMS and
emails. According to Visa, it began testing mobile notifications in
2007, beginning with an internal employee pilot.

Ochoa has held numerous senior positions with
American Express and MasterCard where he headed their Latin
American operations.

 

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Hungarian motorists now pay by
mobile

Things have just got simpler for
motorists in Hungary thanks to MobilParkolás, a mobile phone-based
payments service that enables them to pay for parking in Budapest
and 20 other cities in the country. The service also represents yet
another example of substituting mobile airtime for cash.

Offered by mobile network operators Eme Zrt,
Pannon, T-Mobile and Vodafone, the service enables parking fees to
be charged against the available credit balance of a prepaid mobile
service or the credit limit of a post-paid service.

The service does not require registration and
is used by sending the vehicle’s registration number via a short
message service (SMS) to the telephone number displayed on the
parking machine. An acknowledging SMS arrives immediately.

To enable parking wardens to electronically
check whether the parking has been paid for, the registration
number of the vehicle is entered automatically in a database.