Nokia Enters Banking Business

by Rob on August 26th, 2009

nokia-money-obopayTalk about entering new markets! With a press release published today, Nokia has announced their entrance into the Banking industry with a service called Nokia Money. Its pretty self-explanatory: make all types of payments from your Nokia phone with money you put on the account. The crazy thing is that Nokia is working with physical locations so you can manage your accounts.

It sounds like Nokia is about to get into banking in a serious way. The Press Release is a really interesting read:

Nokia brings mobile financial services to millions
August 26, 2009

Nokia Money, a new mobile financial service enables financial management and payments from a mobile phone

Espoo, Finland – Nokia today introduced Nokia Money, a new mobile financial service offering consumers with mobile device access to basic financial services. For many consumers, this will be the first time they have had any access to such financial services.

Nokia Money has been designed to be as simple and convenient as making a voice call or sending an SMS. It will enable consumers to send money to another person just by using the person’s mobile phone number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards (SIM top-up). The services can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere, meaning savings in travel costs and time. Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts.

4 billion mobile phones but only 1.6 billion bank accounts
“We believe mobile financial services offer a market opportunity with long term growth potential. In many countries, mobile phone ownership significantly exceeds bank account usage, suggesting that many mobile phone users have very limited or no access to basic financial services. With more than 4 billion mobile phone users and only 1.6 billion bank accounts, global demand for access to financial services presents a strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with simple but powerful financial services such as Nokia Money”, said Mary McDowell, EVP and Chief Development Officer, Nokia.

Mobile payments will be the next step for delivering financial services to hundreds of millions of people, both urban and rural, who are underserved by existing payment means, especially in emerging economies.

“Rural consumers will particularly benefit from money transfers and, for urban consumers used to online services, we are enabling services such as payment of utility bills, purchase of train and movie tickets, top-ups, all through their mobile phones. Nokia Money is simple to use, secure and available across different operator networks and on virtually any mobile phone. This means millions of new consumers will soon be able to manage all their financial needs from their mobile phone”, said Teppo Paavola, VP and Head of Corporate Business Development, Nokia.

Building a new ecosystem for mobile payments
The Nokia Money service will be operated in cooperation with Obopay, a leader in developing global mobile payment solutions, which Nokia invested in earlier this year. The service is based on Obopay’s mobile payment platform, with unique and newly developed mobile elements. Nokia intends the service to be open and interoperable with other payment services as well.

“Obopay shares Nokia’s vision for bringing mobile financial services to millions of people worldwide. We’re excited that Nokia has chosen Obopay’s platform. Nokia’s leading market position, strong brand recognition and global distribution channel, using the Obopay platform with uniquely developed mobile elements, means the Nokia Money service is well positioned to bring the next generation of mobile payment services to the world,” said Carol Realini, Founder and CEO of Obopay.

Nokia Money is the result of a powerful collaboration Nokia is forging between different partners in different markets around the world. It is designed to work in partnership with mobile network operators and financial institutions, involving distributors and merchants in a dynamic ecosystem to seamlessly provide the new services.

“As a result of the innovative partnerships and comprehensive ecosystem we are forging with the banking and financial industry, as well as leading network operators, we believe Nokia Money will bring financial inclusion to many who currently have limited or no access to financial services. Uniting the strengths of the mobile and financial services industries will change the way people around the world can manage their money in the future”, added McDowell.

“Mobile financial services present a high growth sector for Nokia. Nokia’s asset strengths, including consumer brand awareness, distribution capabilities and global relationships should serve as logical and necessary extensions to drive innovation in the mobile payments and banking sector. To be successful Nokia must provide a legitimate bridge between operators, banks networks and security infrastructure in order to unlock the broad uptake of mobile financial services,” said Bob Egan, Global Head of Research and Chief Analyst, Towergroup.

The Nokia Money service will be shown for the first time at Nokia World on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany, and it is planned to be rolled out gradually to selected markets, beginning in early 2010.

About Nokia
Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices. Today, we are connecting people in new and different ways – fusing advanced mobile technology with personalized services to enable people to stay close to what matters to them. We also provide comprehensive digital map information through NAVTEQ; and equipment, solutions and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks.

I honestly have to give HUGE props to Stefan Constantinescu from IntoMobile. He wrote an article titled “An Open Letter To Nokia” in which he chastized and criticized his former employer, providing the honest recommendation that they become a bank or get into banking. Obviously Stefan knows what he is talking about.

This is a huge move and will be interesting to follow the development of Nokia Money. We’ll be here providing coverage and next week at Nokia World you can bet they’ll have plenty more info.

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