Nokia is entering the mobile banking business in emerging markets, aiming at consumers who own a mobile phone but lack a bank account.
The Nokia Money service will launch next year, based on a mobile payment platform developed by Obopay, a privately-owned developer in which Nokia invested earlier this year.
It will enable consumers to send money to another account, pay merchants for goods and services, pay utility bills or recharge their pre-paid SIM cards, Nokia said.
“With more than 4 billion mobile phone users [in the world] and only 1.6 billion bank accounts, global demand... presents a strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with simple but powerful financial services,” Nokia executive vice-president Mary McDowell said.
The system has been designed to work in partnership with mobile network operators, banks, distributors and merchants, she added.
Towergroup chief analyst Bob Egan said the service’s prospects hinged on whether Nokia could forge strong partnerships in these areas.
“To be successful Nokia must provide a legitimate bridge between operators, banks networks and security infrastructure in order to unlock the broad uptake of mobile financial services,” he said.
The Obopay system works with both Nokia and non-Nokia handsets.