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Fast fact:
'The functionality and flexibility of the Upaid platform means that the service can expand in line with Visa CEMEA's strategic roadmap to enable a range of customer friendly solutions for remote payments.' Hilary Mitchell, VP, New Payment Solutions, Visa International CEMEA, January 2004


The Upaid m-payment service enables bill payment of Cofinoga credit cards used in Galeries Lafayette stores in France.

THE PROJECT

Store card issuer, Cofinoga, uses mobile payments specialists Upaid to supply the technology for 'COFISMS', an SMS-based bill payment service for monthly store card bills.  Cofinoga is part of the LASER group, and is jointly owned by Galeries Lafayette and BNP Paribas, and is the third leading consumer credit organisation in France.

The service is widespread as Cofinoga cards are accepted at over 25,000 retail stores across France, including France's premier department store, Galeries Lafayette.

COFISMS is the first SMS application for mobile payment of monthly bills and represents one of the first m-payment applications for services other than digital content to be introduced in the market.

HOW IT WORKS

The service is based on Upaid's Text cheque™ application, which enables payment using SMS on a mobile phone for any type of bill that arrives on a consumer's doorstep. As an alternative to sending a paper cheque or enrolling in a direct debit scheme, consumers simply send a 'text cheque' to make payments.

When an SMS bill reminder is received, the cardholder can opt to send a simple message back confirming payment. The customer uses a password previously allocated during registration in the SMS to authorise the transfer of funds from a bank account and indicates the payment amount. The amount paid can vary from the minimum payment due up to the full balance on the store card account. Similar to a direct debit or automated payment, the payment is simply debited from the user's registered bank account once the platform processes the user's payment SMS. Merchants collect payment from the payment source only once the user has sent an SMS authorising that payment can be made.

THE BENEFITS

Customers benefit from the ease and convenience of direct debit but with the control over when payments are made.  Using the service means it is possible to make payments anytime, anywhere, even while abroad.  Users also enjoy having flexibility in the amount that can be paid.

Upaid's Text cheque™ application has been designed for any type of mobile phone, so no changes or additional technology on the handset is required. The same Upaid technology has also been deployed for Visa International CEMEA for the Visa Mobile Service (VMS) for SMS-based top-up of prepaid mobile phones from Visa credit and debit card accounts.

 
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