As we go to press, Visa has announced the launch of its ‘new’ mobile platform – the results of its $110m acquisition of Fundamo. The deal was signed in June, and in the intervening months they’ve done… well… very little in technical terms. It was not rocket science, really.
Take Fundamo, a solid, closed-loop mobile wallet platform with a focus on developing African markets, add it to the Visa network, and there you have it. An open loop, fully interoperable, ATM-friendly mobile payments platform. That’s worth $110m of anyone’s money, when some parties are predicting that the mobile payments market will be worth almost $1trn within a couple of years.
Of course, what Visa and Fundamo have mostly been doing since June is preparing the (re)launch of the service and shoring up the biggest mobile network in Africa – the giant MTN – as the first customer.
But again, that didn’t take that much effort. MTN has been running Fundamo wallets for a couple of years already.
So it’s all been pretty easy. But that’s not to detract from the importance of the development. The potential is huge – as wide-reaching as Visa’s network. The service has potential in terms of low-value NFC payments, cross-border e-commerce – and, most importantly, international remittance.
Our next issue will be the last of the year, and traditionally the issue in which we ask ‘thought leaders’ from across the industry to put their heads on the block and make predictions for the coming 12 months.
And, unsurprisingly, our top prediction for 2012 – is that it will be the year of innovation in remittance. It’s been a while coming. As the transactional banking continues to evolve, it is fairly clear that all that remain is for someone to package the service up and take it to market.
But who will take that opportunity? Retail banks? Telcos? Traditional remittance players? PayPal?
Answers on a Christmas card please!
Another fairly obvious prediction for 2012 is that SEPA compliance is going to gather pace. In this issue, have spoken to the key clearing players to find out what life after the end-date will look like for ACHs. Once the ownership structure changes and ACHs go international, who will oversee them?
The clearing houses already processing in two or more countries, have to comply with rules set by all individual central banks in those countries. So what if something goes wrong? What will be the impact cross-border? These questions give rise to the question of what the target end-stage structure will be like, and we will be investigating the implications of these questions in the new year.