Happy thanksgiving and pardon my hiatus from the blog. I just took up a new job and have been keeping busy with the transition. It’s a coast to coast (west to east) move with lots of moving parts as you can imagine. I will try and be regular, but in case I go silent for a while, you know why.
That said, I wanted to continue where I left off and I still want to keep hammering away on mobile payment paradigms. Thus far, I covered payment schema’s that are driven by MNO’s, Financial Services companies and Payment Networks. While in the end, any of these schemas have a chance for mass adoption; these established players have some serious competition.
Competition, that is disruptive and that could potentially steal their lunches.
In the past, I have mentioned some of these players and in this post I was hoping to go into some detail. But I quickly realized that there are a large number of companies in this space, and I will not be able to do justice. So, instead, I am listing quite a few of them out and I would encourage you to follow the links to see what they are up to. Furthermore, I know I have missed many firms – so apologies, it is certainly not intentional.
It must be noted that these disruptive forces are essentially using the current infrastructure that exists to their benefit. If you think about it, the communication infrastructure that surrounds the mobile phone is quite robust. And for these disruptive forces, this is good enough to offer a solution that will help add value to the end-user in the form of mobile payments.
While the list below is not exhaustive like I mentioned, it does contain important players. Companies, who could eventually make a difference in the mobile payments space. At the very least, these players do seem like juicy acquisition targets – perhaps not in the immediate future, but I am sure that they are on the radars of some firms.
So, here goes –
Admeris – Provides online and mobile payment solutions for credit, debit, loyalty and gift card payments.
Bango – Provides billing and analytics for app stores, mobile apps and websites.
Boku – BOKU allows consumers to make online payments using a mobile phone for payment of digital goods and social experiences across the web.
C-SAM – C-SAM’s main business is secure mobile transactions. The company offers a range of mobile phone based financial and non-financial services, which have been commercially launched in several markets.
Cimbal – This is a mobile promotion and payment network that allows for consumers to use their smartphones to find great deals and pay for the same using their phones.
ClairMail – An enterprise based mobile banking solution, that helps financial institutions connect with their customers (mobile and online).
Corduro – A payment solutions company that targets mobile payments to help consumers in target sectors to make donations to charities and the like via their mobile phones. It’s a start up like many others, with the exception that Google has infused Corduro with some Series A cash.
Elavon – A company that’s in the business of elevating payments to a higher level between the merchant and their financial institution(s).
Google Wallet – A NFC based solution that is integrated with the Nexus phones, developed in partnership with Citi and MasterCard (PayPass terminals).
Hypercom – Now called Equinox, is a POS equipment provider that develops tap friendly (read NFC, smartchips) payment terminals.
MoreMagic – MoreMagic’s mobile commerce and financial services technologies enable a global mobile financial ecosystem that links mobile operators, financial services organizations, retail distributors, NGOs and other businesses – together with the industry’s most comprehensive suite of applications.
Mitek Systems – Developers of an image capture technology that allows for recording of checks via a mobile phone and processing the same
OboPay – OboPay is a global mobile payments company that allows one to send or receive money using the mobile phone instantly.
mBlox – Provides a wide array of mobile commerce solutions that are based either on SMS, cloud, WAP etc.
mFoundry – mFoundry is a leading provider of mobile solutions to financial institutions and retailers.
PayPal Mobile – Most of us have head of PayPal, which was acquired by eBay not too long ago for $1.5B. It’s been a silver lining acquisition for eBay and by current estimates; PayPal is worth more than $15B. PayPal has more than 100 million customers and is now a force to reckon with in the payments industry. Using the PayPal Mobile app, consumers can now pay for goods or services using their phone (or email).
PayAnwhere – A Square clone (and there are many of them that are coming….) that allows for secure credit/debit card processing using a dongle and an associated app.
Point Group – A payments giant that mainly operates in Europe that helps process payments. Also, a key player in the mobile payments space and guess what – it was acquired by VeriFone (Global leader in secure payment systems and solutions) on Nov 11, 2011. Point had recently acquired PayBox, which was a multi-channel payments solution and one of the payment channels being mobile.
payByMobile – As the name suggests, it’s a mobile solution that allows consumers to use the mobile phone as a debit card – top off and then use SMS (texting) to pay merchants.
PayNearMe – Interesting concept. It’s a solution that allows consumers to pay for goods and services using cash only at select locations (6000+, 711 locations in the US). I believe this has a limited market – for those who are very reluctant to share their financial information or have been scammed before.
SmartSoft – SmartSoft provides secure payment solutions to the global payment and card issuance industry. The company provides end-to-end solutions for banking, financial organizations and payment companies.
Square – Square is a revolutionary service that enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere using a secure card reader that attaches to the mobile phone’s audio jack.
Sage Payment Solutions – Offers an array of integrated payment solutions including one that facilitates mobile payments (one of which is a card reader akin to the Square dongle).
txtNation – Provides mobile billing solutions comprising of SMS based payments, direct operator billing and WAP billing.
Text2Pay – Allows consumers to pay for virtual goods using the…what else – the mobile phone. The solution is backed by m-BILL, a company that has strong roots in the mobile content (marketing and billing) delivery.
Tagattitude – Tagattitude specializes in mobile payment and security technologies. Tagattitude’s core offers are strong authentication solutions for web access and mobile payment solutions designed for un-banked populations.
Tyfone – Provider of solutions that enable secure mobile banking.
Vesta – Vesta focuses on providing payment solutions that is targeted to the telecommunications industry and is a pioneer in the pre-paid phone cards business.
Zong – Acquired by PayPal in Aug, 2011, Zong enables online purchases using one’s mobile phone number.
Now, that’s a lot of companies and I know that there are more that I have missed. Apart from highlighting these companies, the point here is – “Incumbents beware!” There are many firms out there with some really nice innovations that could eventually capture the imagination of the end consumer and steal the thunder from MNO’s, Banks and Payment Networks.
I would be remiss if I don’t conclude by making an honorable mention of E-ZPass. While this may not be entirely relevant to the mobile payments discussion, this form of payment can certainly be regarded as a precursor to NFC based mobile payments.
Most folks who use toll roads should be familiar with E-ZPass. This is a technology that existed before smartphones came into being and could be regarded as the most mobile form of payment. For those now in the know, it’s a payment system that allows toll (for roads/bridges) operators to collect fee from automobiles that pass through automatically (meaning – no stopping required). It’s a system based on a transceiver that sends signals out and reads a secure code off of passing cars. Drivers fill up their toll account and money is automatically deducted from this account as the toll is collected.
My enthusiasm got the better of me and this article got way too long. In my last piece on Payment Paradigms, I promise that I’ll be brief with my concluding remarks. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts, please share.