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Mobile World Congress 2012 Roundup: Mobile Payment Trends

By Martin Schuppelius

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 Payment

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.

ISIS Selects Gemalto as Key Supplier

By Martin Schuppelius

US mobile commerce platform ISIS, a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless has selected Gemalto to supply its Trusted Service Manager (TSM) solution to secure ISIS’s mobile payment service.

ISIS is a mobile wallet payment service based on NFC technology. Consumers will be able to pay, present loyalty cards, and redeem coupons all with a tap of their smartphones. A first trial is announced to launch in mid-2012 before the roll out across the US. Gemalto is a provider of digital security services such as electronic passports and identity cards, contactless payment cards, as well as subscriber identification modules (SIM) in mobile phones.

Ryan Hughes, Chief Marketing Officer of Isis commented: “We selected Gemalto for their long-standing relationships with financial institutions and mobile operators, which includes experience in securely provisioning services over the air and issuing sensitive financial information to the consumer.”