Fast fact:
'The current system of billing to the mobile phone account is the main inhibitor of higher value m-commerce' - Upaid survey among industry insiders, March 2006


Visa International has outsourced its m-commerce service to its long term mobile payment partner, Upaid.

THE PROJECT

The service is based on Upaid technology and is already active in Jordan and Morocco. Upaid will now take responsibility for marketing the Visa Mobile Service (VMS) to mobile operators in other countries and servicing existing customers.

The VMS, first launched in 2004, is a consortium that aims to create national mobile payment services, with multiple banks and operators. Visa will continue its relationship with the banks that participate with the VMS, while Upaid will focus on mobile operators and merchants. The service will be rolled out in the various markets under operators' brands, with Visa as the trusted acceptance mark for payments. Currently the service includes mobile phone top-up and bill payment via SMS text message which authorises payment from the Visa debit or credit card.

The Visa Mobile Service is currently available in these countries:

Morocco: for customers of Maroc Telecom and BCP
Jordan: for customers of mobile operator Fastlink and Arab Bank
Serbia: from September 2006, for customers of Serbia Telekom and of leading Serbian banks.

HOW IT WORKS

For the customer, the service is simple. After registering their phone to a card account and creating a personal pass-code, they are ready to go.

Prepaid customers can recharge their phone by sending a formatted SMS to the service number including their pass-code and the recharge amount. A response message will then confirm the successful recharge.

Contract customers can pay in the same way once they have received their bill with the amount due. Again a response message will confirm the successful settlement.

For additional convenience, the bill amount can be delivered to the customer via SMS to encourage an immediate payment. Similarly, a low balance alert can be sent to the pre-pay customer to encourage a recharge response.

Of course, customers can also use channels other than SMS to pay. For example, existing Interactive Voice Response systems, call centres, websites or handset interfaces such as WAP or USSD2 can be employed.

THE BENEFITS

Consumers:

Prepaid Customers

Contract Customers

Convenience: Pay with a simple SMS message - recharge any time, anywhere.

Connectivity: Never be out of touch because of inconvenient opening hours or location

Value-add: Recharge the phones of family and friends.

Freedom: Pay any time - no need for a special trip to an operator's location or the ATM. No need for cash.

Control: have the same sense of control as cash with the simplicity of direct debit.

Value-add: Recharge the phones of family and friends.



Operators:

Prepaid Recharge

Contract Bill Payment

Convenience: Recharge with a simple SMS message.

Connection: No zero balance blackouts due to inconvenient merchant locations or hours.

Usage: Reduce the tendency to conserve voice calls and increase SMS usage as balances run low.

Convenience: the simplicity of direct debit with the same sense of control as cash.

Cash flow: Shorten timeframes from billing to payment

Hybrid products: Combine the payment features of prepaid and subscriber contracts.

                                                            Shared by both
Increase loyalty, reduce churn.

Free sales locations to concentrate on selling.

Cross-sell opportunities with banks.

Cost efficiency through reduced cash handling

Rapid deployment.

Single contract to access multiple banks.

Single, secure interface to multiple banks.

Benefit from international economies of scale.



 
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