Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mobile Payments in India

The Financial Express of India carries an excellent article on PayMate's new mobile payment service here: Some excerpts:

Enjoying the first mover advantage, wireless transactions platform provider PayMate has launched India’s first purchase-by-text system, which allows shoppers to purchase a range of products and services directly from their mobile phone. And this is not limited to high-end mobile phones with integrated digital wallet technology or those that can scan barcodes. “All that you need is a phone that can send and receive text messages,” says PayMate’s assistant vice-president, marketing, Akshay Sharma

Currently, anybody who has an account with Citibank and Corporation Bank can log onto PayMate’s system. The company is looking at tying up with 12 other banks shortly, as part of the drive to increase its user base. “Once we strike a deal with a bank, all its account users with or without a credit card can register with us. As of now, 10,000 customers have signed up with us,” says Sharma.

"Growing the merchant base is key to driving this business. Some 3000 top merchants in India, including online portals, travel services, utilities, hotels, retail outlets, restaurants, bookstores and hospitals today accept payments through PayMate. Says Sachin Bhatia, co-founder and chief marketing officer,, “We are committed to providing our customers the best value – the lowest cost tickets, access to hotels, the best travel advice – and we are constantly looking for ways to improve customer access and experience. Our partnership with Paymate provides customers with an easy and hassle-free booking experience. Customers can purchase our products through their mobile phones with an easy-to-use SMS service.”

Sulake Payment Services? HABBO in the Payment Business?

Sulake is re-organizing yet again and this time around the former CFO, former COO, former Executive VP, Corporate Development and People, but still Deputy CEO, Juha Hynynen, is now Exec VP of Payment Services and Publishing. A recent press release states: "Sulake's long-term goal has been to broaden its product portfolio with new online services, which can be launched internationally by utilizing the unique international network Sulake has built for Habbo. Currently Sulake has offices in 19 countries with a staff of over 300, over 150 payment methods in 32 countries, global hosting centers as well as distribution and marketing partners all over the world. The objective of the deal is to launch a new social networking service based on IRC-Galleria concept to carefully selected countries using Sulake's infrastructure and experience. The IRC-Galleria concept has localized versions already in Russia, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany.

Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake Corporation: "Sulake's objective is to become a major global player in online entertainment by focusing on virtual worlds and social networking services. We want to build a portfolio of products, which offer a wide range of social interaction services and entertainment for different target groups and for different user needs. Our new service IRC-Galleria fits this goal perfectly. The company behind the service and its skilled employees together with Sulake's current resources gives us a magnificent opportunity to build up a new internationally successful social networking service. Sulake has managed to make Habbo one the most spectacular success stories in the area of virtual worlds and communities and I'm confident we can do this again."

Want to know about Mobile Payment trends?

Paul Ruppert compiled a compendium of 56 mPayment press releases from the last 6 months which “reveals the real action is already occurring with trials in the financial services and retail segments, plus through government central bankers around the world. These are the concrete emerging centers of influence for this developing market. The operators are just going to go along for the ride....” His blog and 56 articles