Citibank and Mobile Money Ventures are teaming for a launch in China. Obopay has extended its reach into the mobile gaming market. Vodafone pushes for mobile paymets in India. Zong has launched a new service to allow users to use their mobile for card-based payments
Zong has pinged our radar quite a few times on GoMo – up until now it has focused on mobile based “virtual currency”. It interacted directly with operators, avoiding credit cards or banks, and letting customers buy virtual currency which they can spend on-line. The price of that currency is added straight to the mobile bill.
Now it has launched Zong+, which combines the carrier billing aspect of the payment platform with credit, debit and prepaid cards. Basically, it links your credit or debit card to your Zong account. Once you’ve registered a card with your Zong account, you then get the choice of either forwarding a mobile payment to your mobile bill (like before) or to your card. This basically just offers a new set of options to Zong customers.
Mobile payment company Obopay has moved into a pretty competitive market: on-line social gaming. The option to purchase virtual goods in social gaming networks is pretty established, but the average user of a social gaming site is pretty young. Credit cards aren’t always an option – but pretty much everyone has a mobile bill. So using your mobile bill to purchase credit for virtual purchases has become a very popular way to do it.
That’s not what Obopay is offering though. In contrast to other services, Obopay works through linking a credit or debit car to your mobile number through a secure PIN. This does have the advantage of speed and convenience (all you need to do to pay is enter your mobile no. and PIN), it remains to be seen whether enough of the audience Obopay is pitching at here has payment cards to make it worthwhile.
Vodafone mobile payment in India:
Not long after Nokia partnered with an Indian mobile payments company, Vodafone has announced it’s continued devotion to mobile banking in the country. Vodafone CEO Vittoria Colao said that despite restrictions due to “rules and constraints”, Vodafone is going to continue pushing to provide mobile banking services to the vast number of Indians who don’t have access to any other form of banking. Coloa said that India and China were the best potential markets for this business, despite the fact that initial profit margins would be very low.
CitiBank + Mobile Money in China:
Speaking of mobile banking in China, financial institution Citibank has teamed with mobile m-commerce company Mobile Money Ventures for a Chinese launch. This will be the first mobile banking service to be launched in China by a foreign company, and will allow customers to access and use their bank accounts through their mobiles. Citi Mobile is a browser-based application (no luck for low-tech phone owners) that will allow Citibank customers to view their bank accounts and perform basic transactions.