Nokia has announced its new financial service ‘Nokia Money’, which offers consumers access to basic financial services via their handset.
The 24-hour service can be used either through SMS or by making a call. It will enable consumers to send money to another person by using the person’s mobile phone number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their utility bills, or top up prepay SIM accounts.
The Nokia Money service will be shown for the first time at Nokia World on September 2 and 3 in Stuttgart, Germany. It is planned to be rolled out gradually to selected markets from early next year.
Nokia said it is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents through which consumers can access accounts to deposit or withdraw money.
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.
Nokia executive vice president and chief development officer Mary McDowell said: “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.”
Nokia head of corporate business development Teppo Paavola added that the service would target rural residents and consumers in emerging markets.
Paavola said: “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.”
Towergroup chief analyst Bob Egan said mobile financial services presented a high growth sector for Nokia but it must provide a “legitimate bridge between operators, banking networks and security infrastructure in order to unlock the broad uptake of mobile financial services.”