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Visa Opens as Simpay Folds
Source : 160 Characters

160 Characters (8 July 2005)

Upaid's CEO Ashley Ward says Simpay was the wrong solution for the wrong problem as its Visa Mobile Service launches with mobile operators across CEMEA.

Ashley Ward, CEO of Upaid, Anglo-French mobile payment specialist said that "Simpay would never work because it was barely different to the current operator billing model for third party mobile content and we knew that no person accountable to shareholders could continue to sign-off such huge investments for an unproven solution with such a long-term return."

"The mobile content providers we talk to desperately need a payment solution that gets away from operator reverse billing to the mobile phone account. Content providers currently lose around half of their potential revenue to the operator, just for the pleasure of being billed through them, which is entirely unnecessary. These companies cannot afford this, which has so far limited the range of goods and services that can be accessed via the mobile phone" said Ward.

Mobile Visa

Based on technology provided by Updaid, Jordan is to be the first market to launch Visa International's mobile payment solution that will be offered to mobile phone users across Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMA).

The service allows mobile phone users to pay phone bills or top-up prepaid mobile phones from the handset, with funds debited from any registered Visa credit or debit card.

Serbia and Morocco will follow in the coming months. In Jordan the service is available to all Fastlink customers who hold a Visa or Visa Electron card, irrespective of the institution they bank with.

Hilary Mitchell, head of Mobile Commerce, Visa International CEMEA comments: "Mobile operators are looking for solutions to reduce their costs and to differentiate their service; in ten years time we anticipate that all airtime will be paid electronically and scratch cards and top-up vouchers will be a thing of the past. Although there are many mobile payment services available worldwide, they lack commercialism due to the bilateral nature of the agreements - often limited to just one mobile operator and one bank, which restricts participation to the mutual customers of just these organisations."

"Visa CEMEA's technology platform, developed by technology partner Upaid, has the functionality and capacity to support multiple banks and multiple operators in any given market. Furthermore it can support multiple channels, such as SMS, WAP and USSD and multiple functions - prepay, postpay and bill payment - again depending on market and operator requirements," added Ms Mitchell.

Bills and Top Up

To use the service, after assigning a Visa card to their phone number, mobile phone users can recharge airtime, settle their mobile bill or conduct other bill payment functions anytime, anywhere - even when abroad - simply by sending a message from the handset.

Ashley Ward, CEO of Upaid commented: "Visa has proven that mobile payment services can be simple, secure, and actually facilitate the everyday payment lives of consumers."

"By the end of the year we expect to have launched Visa's solution in five more CEMEA markets ," concluded Hilary Mitchell.

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