Tag Archives: mobile payments

Get Ready For Apple Pay, The Mobile Wallet By Apple

By Mohammed Waseem

While the world is going mobile, a number of companies are pitching into the payments space to make the best of the market before anyone else does or before the market saturates. Mobile payment is not available in many countries, but initiatives are being taken by many organizations to introduce the service all over the world.

Hopefully, with Apple Pay, the new mobile payments service by Apple will reach everywhere iPhones and iPads are used. Currently, Apple is launching the service in the United States only. With this service, Apple mobile device users can checkout online and at retail locations across the country. Launching this month, the service will be available only for iPhone 5 and later models including iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. iPhone 5 users can use this service with the Apple Watch.

Apple Pay by AppleThe technology used for the Apple Watch is amazing; whether the wearer is the owner of the watch or not is confirmed with the detection of the wearer’s skin beneath the watch, through a PIN code entered when the watch was first put on. The technology used for payment is NFC (Near Field Communication), which is used in contactless payments or cardless payments.

The response to this from businesses is amazing; 222000 vendors are already supporting Apple Pay. Supported Apple devices come with a dedicated chip that securely stores a unique number called the Apple Pay ID. This ID is used when payments are made, the last 4 digits of the same would show on receipts.

Apple Pay would act as a mobile wallet that stores cards which would be used for making the payments. It would be seamlessly integrated with most of the apps for in-app purchases. Even while purchasing in store, the service is highly secure as the vendor would not know the user’s card number, name, or any other personal information. Interestingly, even if a device is lost, the payment information would remain secure.

Let’s wait for the service to launch and see how far it goes. It would be nice to see it introduced in other countries as well.

Mobile Wallet Provider, Isis to Change its Name

By Mohammed Waseem

Mobile Wallet provider Isis has been inevitably forced to change their name since the acronym “ISIS” has become synonymous to the terrorist group from Syria. They are working on re-branding and haven’t released a name yet.

“However coincidental, we have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering” CNET.com reported the Isis Mobile CEO, Michael Abbott saying. So, the name which took years to develop will unfortunately require a change; the team is actively working on looking for a new name. The Isis mobile wallet service is jointly run by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Isis MobileThe service was launched in November 2013 in the US and is available nationwide. They took a long time for joint venture teaming, trials, etc. after which they had come up with a name. Now, if they don’t change the name, it will surely affect their brand due to obvious reasons. Even though they are totally different, the fact that it is synonymous with ISIS would make the people choose a different service; this is why the name change is vital.

Isis Mobile allows users to pay for purchases by adding participating credit cards from American Express, Chase or Wells Fargo or by setting up an American Express Serve account. Money can be added to this account with a US bank account, a credit card or a debit card. This means that if the user does not hold one of the three supported credit cards, they can use any other debit or credit card by setting up an American Express Serve account.

The app also holds offers from participating merchants, exclusively available to Isis users. Users can pay at over 200000 locations across the US, where contactless payment is accepted. They just have to wave the phone over a screen to make the payment. The app is available on Android and iOS.

After so much hard work choosing the name, it will obviously be difficult to change it, but if they don’t, they may fail to become established.

Lydia, A Fee-Free Money Transfer App For France

By Mohammed Waseem

In my previous article, I wrote about Venmo, a mobile payments app from PayPal, which is available only in the US. France has a similar app and it is called Lydia; which works on similar lines with Venmo and is also fee-free, even while using a credit card to send money, unlike the latter which charges 3% fee for using credit cards.

Lydia aims to facilitate easy exchange of money between people and have partnered with Payline and SFPMEI in order to offer the best service. The app also has the mobile wallet feature which stores money in the account which can be transferred to a bank account overnight. Users can send money to anyone in France using debit cards and credit cards and can send money to friends who use the app.

Lydia AppLydia merges the credit and debit cards and the mobile, such that users can pay from phone instead of using the cards, as the cards are linked to Lydia. When the user chooses a card and makes a payment, the card is debited and money is transferred immediately, which makes it similar to the cards in the way they function. After the completion of each transaction, a confirmation message or a receipt is sent to the user’s email address. All receipts can also be accessed from the Lydia app.

Lyida can be used to pay, even without internet connection. However, in order to see the receipts, one has to have an internet connection. When a user sends money using Lydia, a QR code is generated, which has to be sent by SMS or email to the recipient by providing their mobile number or email. The recipient has 7 days to accept the payment and claim it, which can be done by scanning the QR code. Users can also request for payments through a text message.

When Lydia is free for users, how does it make money? Well, they have another product which is meant for businesses, regardless of their size; it is called Lydia Pro, and it is not free. It allows retailers to accept payments using the Lydia app. They are in turn charge 0.3% per transaction and a monthly plan starts at €4.90. Instead of charging higher fee and using the revenue on marketing campaigns to attract users, they chose to make the retailers their indirect promoters by charging lesser fee, thus attracting the retailers.

They presently have over 20000 users and have over 1000 retail customers, many of which process over 1000 transactions per month. Lydia is currently offered only in France, but they may expand internationally as they do not face technological or regulatory issues. The app is available on Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

M-Pesa, The Mobile Payments Pioneer

By Mohammed Waseem

People generally expect technologies to develop in developed nations. But it was proved the otherwise, when the revolutionary mobile wallet technology was pioneered by an African nation – Kenya. Without any doubt, it is one of the most successful technologies which would define mode of payment and money transfer in the near future. Companies in developed nations have already begun adopting this technology and have launched mobile wallets. In fact, even companies in many developing nations have piloted it.

The service was first launched by Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom, which has 75% of the market share in Kenya. 80% of their customers already use mobile wallet service, which is called M-Pesa. Safaricom saw a demand and supply gap in the country’s banking system and realized they could fill this gap by giving access to accounts to those people who had no access to banks.

Mobile WalletsAnother reason for them to launch this service was the need of the Kenyans to transfer money to other parts of the country, which previously happened either by a person himself/herself travelling in order to give money to their family or friends or by sending it through a trusted bus driver. With M-Pesa, users can send money to even the most remote parts of the country in seconds.

M-Pesa is currently the most developed mobile payment system in the world. 43% of Kenya’s GDP reportedly flows through M-Pesa. Users can withdraw and deposit money on their mobile wallet with this service at any M-Pesa agent location across the country, they can transfer money to M-Pesa users as well as non-users, they can pay bills and purchase airtime, they can transfer money to bank accounts and they can also pay the grocers for grocery.

Initially launched in Kenya, M-Pesa later expanded to Tanzania and Afghanistan in 2008, South Africa in 2010 and India in 2013. Tanzania has approximately 5 million subscribers to M-Pesa. In Afghanistan, M-Pesa was initially used to pay policemen’s salary, now it has expanded to include limited merchant payments, money transfers, loan disbursements and payments. Growth of M-Pesa has been slow in South Africa and India but they are working on repositioning the brand and are trying different ways to promote the product.

Safaricom recently launched a service called M-Shwari, which is a paperless banking service offered through M-Pesa. Users can open bank accounts, manage the bank account, save money and access microfinance right from their mobile device.

Mobile International Payments through Monitise

The following press release comes from a money transfer company called Monitise:

Monitise Offers Mobile International Payments

13th February 2008
By Bhavana Navuluri

Monitise, a UK mobile banking and payments technology company, has launched a service that allows users to make international remittances using a mobile phone.

The MoniHome service will be combined with the company’s multi-bank, multi-mobile operator mobile banking and payments systems to enable users to initiate, manage, and track transactions via their cellphones.

Users can choose to accept payment through a channel of their preference, be it a direct transfer into their bank account or collecting cash from a physical location.

Monitise CMO Richard Johnson said: “Our partner banks and mobile operators have expressed strong interest in making this available to their customers and we expect to announce the first pilot of the service in the coming months.”

While I’m not sure about the name “Monitise” (so badly misspelled it makes my eyes hurt) I do think this is an idea whose time has come. I’m curious as to how this differs from using your cellphone to access a money transfer provider’s website to make a payment.

If it truly is phone-to-phone, where I use my credit card to send money to someone else’s phone, whereby he can then transfer the money to his bank account (which presumably partners with Monitise) then I think it’s revolutionary.