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U.S. Mobile Payment Market Expands

Wed, 02/24/2010 - 10:40am
Monica Alleven

Another mobile payment provider has entered the U.S. market to challenge BOKU and Zong. Mopay, a unit of the MindMatics group, is bringing its 10 years of experience in other countries to stake a claim in the United States.

“We believe it’s really time for a well-established player to join the market,” says Kolja Reiss, managing director of mopay, who is responsible for heading up the company’s new North American headquarters based in Palo Alto, Calif.

The U.S. market has matured enough over the past several months and years to make this the right time, he says. Mopay’s main target audience is those people who want to buy digital goods – like a character in a game or a virtual pet – but don’t qualify for or don’t want to use a credit card. Reiss calls them the “unbanked” and the “underbanked.”

Online gaming and social networking providers are the primary client segment for mopay. The sums added to cell phone bills typically are anywhere from 10 cents to $10.

Credit card penetration is relatively low in Europe, Asia and Africa compared with the United States, Reiss notes, although it’s getting tougher to get a credit card in the United States these days. Nowadays, mopay is seeing more awareness in mobile micro payments on the part of pretty much every segment of the industry.

 

The recent outpouring of support to help relief efforts in Haiti, organized by the Mobile Giving Foundation, helped spread awareness of mobile payments using SMS. Usually when commercial transactions are conducted, carriers take a share of the payments, but they forfeited those in the donation efforts and hastened their payments to get funds out there faster.

 

Mopay is different from some of its competitors in that it is not just another startup, Reiss says. It aims to be the No. 1 mobile payments solutions provider globally in the next three years.

The company employs about 100 at locations in Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and the United States. It has more than 400 customers globally. Some of the global brands served by mopay include Bigpoint, Gameforge, Innogames, Sulake and Travian.

 

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