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

Visa Goes Mobile with Upaid
Source : Accounting and Finance 365.com

AccountingandFinance365.com (13 July 2005)

Top-up bill payment service helps operators monetize on the move

Visa International's new mobile payment solution is proving a hit with network operators around Europe. The new service is being offered to its valued mobile phone users across the region. According to Visa, operators are signing up to its m-commerce service.

Based on technology provided by Anglo-French mobile payments specialist, Upaid, the service enables mobile phone users to pay their phone bill, or top-up prepaid mobile phone, from their own handset. Funds are then debited from any registered Visa credit or debit card.

"Mobile operators are looking for solutions to reduce their costs and to differentiate their service," commented Hilary Mitchell, head of mobile commerce for Visa International. "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."

Mitchell said that while there were other mobile payment services available worldwide, "they lack commercialism", she said, "due to the bilateral nature of the agreements." According to Mitchell, the service is often limited to just one mobile operator and one bank.

Upaid can support multiple channels, such as SMS, WAP and USSD, and, multiple functions - prepay, postpay and bill payment, depending on market or operator needs.

Centrally-hosted platform enables operators access to banking with a single contract and a single connection.

Ashley Ward, CEO of Upaid remarked: "Visa is a pioneer in the mobile payments industry and has proven that mobile payment services can be simple, secure, and actually facilitate the everyday payment lives of consumers."

According to Visa's Mitchell, mobile payment brings added convenience and cost-efficiencies to operators and consumer alike. "By the end of the year, we expect to have launched Visa's solution in an additional five markets in our efforts to provide buyers and sellers with the ability to conduct commerce at anytime and anywhere."

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