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Fast fact:
'It is estimated that the mobile games market will be worth over US$11.2bn by 2010.' - www.mobileindustry.biz


An increasing number of the big names in consumer sales and credit are now aware of the clear financial benefits that mobile payments can bring to organisations that send bills regularly to consumers or provide any form of consumer credit.

Whether an organisation is a fixed or mobile telecoms operator, an energy supplier, a mail order business, a retailer with a store card or even a bank issuing credit cards, the common theme is that consumers are sent bills regularly. In some cases the entire bill must be paid and in others, partial bill payment is desired. In all cases, the key requirement is that the customer pay the appropriate amount - and on time.

The objective of minimising disputes and reducing the cost of payment processing has driven many merchants to offer compelling customer incentives to agree to automatic debits, or direct debits, from bank accounts. Despite growth in recent years, in most countries, only a minority of customers elect to relinquish control of the payment timing and use methods to pay bills that remain under their direct control. These methods vary from a cheque in the mail, to a visit to a bank branch or post office; from on-line payments to telephone banking or payment by phone using a card.

All these payment methods require the customer to be proactive each time a bill is paid, and a certain degree of effort on the part of the consumer who sometimes forgets because paying bills is boring.

With new mobile payment services now being selected by major merchants in Europe, customers may receive the bill in the normal way either by mail or electronically but can also have the luxury, as with automatic debits, of not doing anything at all until they receive the payment due SMS message from the merchant via Upaid's service. All the user has to do is reply with a secret password and confirm the amount contained in the reminder SMS. The payment is made from the source of funds that the customer has registered at the time of electing to pay bills via mobile. The result is lower payment processing costs and improved cash flow with the additional benefit of being seen by ever more discerning customers as a merchant that puts the needs of the consumer first.

 
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