Oberthur and mBank target emerging markets with mobile wallet
Digital security firm Oberthur Technologies has partnered with mobile services specialists mBank in a project aimed at bringing “branchless” banking services to consumers in emerging markets.
The deal brings together the m:Wallet solution from OT’s MoreMagic subsidiary and mBank’s experience in branchless banking, to provide mobile branchless banking including merchant payment, money transfer, loans, credit and insurance. The tool will also include core banking and back-office abilities for running a branchless bank, risk management tools and business consulting.
“The fully packaged offer we are providing with mBank will enable banks to reach an untapped customer segment and to ensure the protifability of their mobile money offers,” said Pankaj Gulati, chief executive at MoreMagic. Mobile microfinance services are expected to create a significant shift in the take off of mobile money with stronger adoption and usage, not only because they are matching the expectation of local populations for real banking services, but also because they will generate higher transaction volumes.”
Gultai added that the partnership was aimed at serving millions of clients currently not reached by traditional banking and microfinance institutions. By taking advantage of the high rate of mobile penetration in many emerging markets, the two firms hoped to contribute to financial inclusion.
Several other mobile wallets have launched in recent months. In November, the telco-backed Isis mobile wallet service launched across the US, following 18 months of testing in Texas and Utah by owners AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. The country-wide roll-out is being backed by card issuers American Express, Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard and PoS terminal manufacturers Verifone, Ingenico, Vivotech and Equinox, which the backers hope will give the service impetus.
Earlier the same month Citi and mobile operator 3 Hong Kong co-launched an NFC mobile wallet in the form of a sticker for iPhone and mobile app for Android. A similar NFC-based mobile wallet was launched in Europe by Kalixa Group in July. The moneto prepaid wallet allows users to tap and pay for goods using their mobile. Users can check their balance, locate merchants and ATMs and make wallet to wallet transactions, supported by MasterCard’s PayPass technology. They can also withdraw cash at ATMs, make online purchases and shop at retail outlets that do not accept contactless payments.
In August, Western Union launched a mobile money service in Nigeria, which it said will help boost financial inclusion and provide new methods of money transfer for people sending and receiving money to Africa.