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'Eight times as many people would use m-commerce compared to the number using e-commerce today.' - MORI research poll

SMS seen as key to mobile payments market
Source : ePaynews.com

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(15 May 2004)

SMS, the most used mobile phone application, will facilitate a 'new' generation of mobile payments in the next year, with the premium-rate SMS (PSMS) sector in the US tipped to exceed US$1bn in 2005 alone. Operators and financial entities are gearing for a market presence, with operators installing two individual billing platforms for the respective charging of pre- and postpaid subscribers. PSMS is popular with operators as it ensures their role at the centre of the value chain, with the added attraction of a 30-50% slice of all SMS-based transactions handled, according to Electronic Payments International

Visa, for its part, is exploring SMS services in its CEMEA region, where its Visa Mobile Recharge Service (VMRS), offered by Visa issuing banks in the region, uses SMS technology to enable cardholders to top up their prepaid phone accounts. Cardholders wanting to recharge prepaid airtime use a PIN and username to transfer value from a Visa payment card to their prepaid account, and can also top up accounts held by others. In short, VMRS is one example of how banks can leverage existing customer relationships to offer value-added m-payment services, particularly as operators tend to be credit-averse.

Bank-branded mobile payment services can also serve as a conduit to merchant communities that are interested in emerging payment channels, EPI reports, particularly as consumers are most likely to use m-payment channels that are a simple extension of current channels. From the merchant perspective, SMS-based payments represent a low-cost collection and processing option, which the consumer remains in control of. Banks also stand to benefit from the potential of 'text check' services for credit card and other bill payments, which represents a new flavour of direct debit where consumers retain control.

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