Mobile payments have been one of the main topics at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The congress is organized by the GSM Association (GSMA), the global industry association of mobile operators and related companies. It is not just about presenting the latest mobile devices; it is also about showing the future of mobile technology.
Mobile Payments are broadening outside of digital goods and services: Carrier billing provider BOKU announced a partnership with MasterCard to expand its payments technology to cover e-commerce and retail point-of-sale. The new BOKU Accounts service allows subscribers to make payments online, in-app, and in-store anywhere MasterCard is accepted. At the same time Facebook is starting to cut out mobile payment providers of the transaction cycle. Facebook’s CTO Bret Taylor announced during his MWC Keynote that Facebook is partnering with major mobile network operators (including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefónica) and will provide its own carrier billing solution. At present Facebook uses third party providers such as BOKU or Zong to process mobile payments.
Traditional financial service companies are going mobile:
- Visa and Vodafone announced at the conference to join forces and develop a mobile payment platform based on Visa prepaid accounts.
- Money transfer giant Western Union (in cooperation with mobile operator WIND) is going to launch a mobile money transfer service in Italy.
Innovative mobile payment services presented their latest developments:
- iZettle’s mobile payment solution that allows users to accept card payments using their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch gains traction and is expanding into tree new countries.
- Mobile payment start-up boxPAY launched and presented an in-app payment service for Google’s Android platform.
Near Field Communication
Near field communication (NFC) services are gaining momentum and have become one of the trending topics at the MWC this year. The GSMA has recently published a set of industry specifications to enable the development of secure and ubiquitous mobile NFC services.
- Smartcard and digital security companies such as Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient showcased their NFC-services at the MWC.
- The Logic Group and ViVOtech announced to work together to enable customers to shop via their NFC-enabled smartphones.
- Mobile payment joint venture ISIS has teamed-up with BarclayCard, Capital One, and Chase.