Nokia brings mobile financial services to millions

Nokia has 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.

Said Mary McDowell, EVP and chief development officer at Nokia: “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.”

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.

Added Teppo Paavola, VP and head of corporate business development at Nokia: “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.”

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.

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.

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