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ASB & Telecom develop mobile payment solution

ASB & Telecom develop innovative mobile payment solution

World-leading mPayment service to be launched in New Zealand

ASB Bank and Telecom are launching a world-leading mobile payment service that, in the future, will enable consumers to pay for goods and services from their bank account using their mobile phone.

The service, generically termed Mobile Payment or mPayment, is the first collaboration of its kind between a major telco and a bank in New Zealand.

The mPayment solution joins the customer’s mobile phone directly with their bank account, unlike micro-payment solutions which simply charge costs to the customer’s mobile phone account. Emerging examples of micro-payment solutions worldwide include vending machine purchases and prepaid parking tickets.

Initially, the service will enable consumers with a Telecom Prepaid mobile phone and an ASB Bank account to top-up their phone credit from their bank account via SMS text message. In the future, consumers will be able to purchase any number of goods and services in situations where they are not in front of the merchant or don’t have access to traditional payment methods of cash, EFTPOS or credit card.

For Telecom Prepaid mobile customers, the new mPayment solution will provide them with a further alternative to topping up their phone via scratch cards, credit cards, or ATM.

ASB Bank’s Group General Manager, Technology and Operations, Clayton Wakefield says launching the new Prepaid top-up for Telecom using the mPayment service is just the beginning for the creation of future mobile payment applications.

“The technology developed for mPayment provides the platform for any number of merchants to offer their customers a new way to pay for goods and services using their mobile phone.”

“We will be actively seeking new partners to join this initiative and ultimately we expect this technology to be available to all banks and telecommunications companies in New Zealand,” he says.

Telecom’s Chief Operating Officer, Simon Moutter says that the innovation will bring greater convenience to customers by enabling them to make mobile payments almost anywhere and anytime.

“The topping up of Telecom Prepaid phone accounts is only the beginning and we are delighted to be working with ASB Bank on a service that not only demonstrates innovation in the mobile technology space, but also gives our customers more options and a better mobile experience,” he says.

mPayment delivers a high level of security as it requires an alphanumeric password for authentication of the user’s identity. In addition, by providing payment direct from the user’s bank account, mPayment means the spending power of users is not limited to the amount of credit available on their phone account.

As more and more merchants begin to use the service, they will realise the benefits of increased revenue opportunities and reduced risk for their business. Merchants will be able to offer greater payment options to their customers, particularly those who are not physically present for the transaction, and will have an increased surety of payment in advance.

ASB Bank and Telecom’s Advanced Solutions group completed technical trials over the Christmas period, and plan to establish the mPayment capability and commercially launch the Telecom Prepaid top-up service to customers in late March 2004.

ASB Bank and Telecom have engaged the services of M-Com (Mobile Commerce Ltd) to assist in the creation of the technical and commercial aspects of the service. M-Com is a New Zealand organisation and is part of the Icehouse incubator, one of the several innovation incubators that Telecom sponsors.

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