M-commerce and mobile payments continue to be the hottest topics in the industry. Although the focus these days is mostly on new technologies, (such as NFC-based contactless payments and digital mobile wallets) traditional carrier billing is still one of the most commonly used mobile payment methods.
Recently, carrier billing provider Cashlog has extended its service to new countries and added HTML5 support. We had the chance to talk to Guido Mangiagalli (Head of Cashlog m-payments) about Cashlog and the company’s plans for the future. Cashlog is the mobile payments arm of Buongiorno, a mobile content provider headquartered and listed in Milan.
Guido Mangiagalli is responsible for product definition, go to market strategy, commercialization and communication of Cashlog. Prior to joining Buongiorno, Guido was Vice President Mobile Innovation at Visa Europe where he was in charge of defining Visa Europe mobile and contactless payment strategy.
Payment Observer: Can you provide some background information on the Buongiorno group and describe the role of Cashlog within the company?
Guido Mangiagalli: Buongiorno is known in the worldwide mobile commerce ecosystem for developing and managing paid apps and content that help consumers get greater enjoyment from mobile devices. With direct connections to more than 130 telecom operators in 25 countries, over 10 years’ experience and a team of 850 professionals, Buongiorno makes the mobile internet experience happen.
Cashlog is Buongiorno’s payment arm and thanks to Buongiorno’s expertise in data transactions and direct connections with operators can offer merchant a direct carrier billing experience, without aggregators’ intermediation. The service is currently available in Italy, Spain, Germany and France and a roll out in other European countries is forecasted in the next months. We support European merchants with an international presence who prefer to work with one partner in their existing territories. The platform also supports local companies aiming to expand their reach.
Payment Observer: Carrier billing is a highly competitive market, there are many providers offering similar services at competitive rates. Why did Buongiorno decided to enter the carrier billing market?
Guido Mangiagalli: The growth of mobile commerce makes mobile payments the next big thing replacing cash and credit cards transactions. In 2011, some 39% of mobile purchased items were paid directly to mobile phone bills. We acknowledge that there is competition in the market, but also that the market itself is growing at a very high speed, therefore we think that Cashlog has a competitive advantage thanks to direct connections with the operators.
Payment Observer: How does Cashlog differ from other carrier billing providers, what are the advantages of Cashlog?
Guido Mangiagalli: Cashlog leverages on Buongiorno’s direct operators connections, so not using aggregators which means a shorter value chain and higher payout for merchants.
Another main advantage is our local presence, with local offices and sales force in each country where we operate. We can provide merchants with a local real-time support in the local language.
Another differentiator is our passion for quality, Cashlog has been built with banking logic, we take very seriously our role of payment providers and for us reliability, security and quality of services are paramount. Consumers with Cashlog are always in-control, they can log in the platform and have a real time view of all their purchases and manage their account as they do today with their home banking service.
Payment Observer: What are the next steps for Cashlog?
Guido Mangiagalli: In addition to a roll out in other European Countries, Cashlog is now expanding in other regions such as South America and US. We are also adding support for the mobile channel providing mobile in-app purchase for HTML5 and Android. Merchants who sell digital goods such as virtual currency, videos, news and games through a mobile site will be able to offer an even faster and simpler mobile payment solution, in only 1 click.
Payment Observer: What are your main trends for mobile payments in 2012?
Guido Mangiagalli: Mobile payment was born for the gaming industry that has business models able to support the high revenue shares required by the mobile operators. Telcos are now understanding the strategic importance of their billing capabilities and are looking to expand the usage of this easy charging mechanism to other industries such as music, video on demand e-books. They have overcome the fear of cannibalization for their services and are accepting the idea to provide higher revenue shares entering in direct competition, in the digital world, with other payments solutions as Paypal or Credit Cards.