Fast fact:
'90% of people would be willing to pay extra for the convenience of making m-commerce purchases.' - MORI research poll


Mobile operators across Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA) sign up to Visa's Mobile Service

Visa logo 2

Mobile phone users top-up and pay bills any time, anywhere

LONDON & PARIS - 6 July 2005 - Visa International CEMEA's innovative mobile payment solution is to be offered to mobile phone users across the region as operators sign up to Visa's m-commerce service. Based on technology provided by Anglo-French mobile payments specialist, Upaid, 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. Jordan is the first in a series of markets to launch the solution with Serbia and Morocco to follow in the coming months.

The introduction of Jordan's mobile payment offering with Fastlink, the Kingdom's leading GSM operator, marks an important evolution in Visa CEMEA's mobile service. The solution has evolved to become a commercially superior, multi-functional, flexible service, adaptable to individual market and mobile operator requirements. 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.

The solution has proved particularly attractive to mobile operators due to its consortium approach and technical excellence. As the world's leading payment brand, Visa is in a unique position to act as a single point of contact, pulling all parties together - mobile operators, technology providers and banks - to build a local consortium.

Likewise, the centrally hosted technology platform enables mobile operators access to the banking community with a single contract and a single connection. The flexibility of the platform provides them with enhanced functionality in both payment type and channel.

For the customer the service is simple - 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 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. Upaid is proud to have worked with such an innovative team at Visa to enable what is now the most widely deployed mobile payment service in the world. We look forward to launching new and innovative mobile payments services with Visa in new territories in the upcoming months."

"Mobile payment will bring added convenience and cost-efficiencies to operators and consumer alike and we believe that Visa has developed a solution that will ensure the true success of mobile commerce. By the end of the year we expect to have launched Visa's solution in an additional five CEMEA markets in our efforts to provide buyers and sellers with the ability to conduct commerce at anytime and anywhere," concluded Hilary Mitchell.

About Visa
Visa is the world's leading payment brand generating nearly US$3 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries. The Visa organisation plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce—the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com

Visa International is committed to working with governments, regulators and its member banks to support the development of a cashless society. Electronic payments such as Visa card payments support economic growth through increased banking deposits, which provide additional funds for commercial loans - the lifeblood of a growing economy - bringing benefits to consumers, merchants, the banking sector and the economy.

About Upaid
Upaid specialises in mobile payments and offers a number of applications enabling the transfer of funds from one account to another using SMS, IVR, ATM, the Internet or at Points of Sale. Applications range from the recharge of pre-paid mobile accounts (mobile, cards, or stored value accounts) to the monthly payment of bills via SMS (Text cheque™) and second factor authentication using the handset for risk alerts and authorisation for remote purchases. All m-payment applications are designed to be easy to use and free from complicated technology for consumers.

Upaid has offices in London, Paris, Sao Paulo (Brazil) and development facilities in the United Kingdom.

For further information, please contact:

Jessamy Smiley or Keith Lams
Visa Corporate Communications
Tel.: +44 207 225 8127

Mary Carol Harris
VP, Marketing - Upaid
Tel.: +44 7815 757 431

Sarah Baldry
Hotwire PR
Tel.: +44 207 608 4629

 
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