Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rabobank adapts Minitix to penetrate m-payments market

See the news of last week on and Emerce, explaining that Rabobank is adapting its e-purse application Minitix (10.000 users and 100 shops) for use with the mobile. Ths user may now load the purse with 99,99 euro (this was 10 euro) and then pay for all kinds of digital stuff, that you usually pay with the mobile phone. Paying with Minitix can be done by using a shortcode.

The benefits are really there for the merchant; they are now glued to the mobile phone companies which only allow for payments of 1,50 euro max and then take a slice of 40-50 % as all-in merchant service fee. So Minitix add to the range and competition. Of course they will outsmart the sms; that is not so complicated: see the list of payment mechanisms (and cost) to buy a ringtone of 99 eurocent (with a popular radiostation radio538) are:
- 0900 (€ 0.31 extra)
- 0909-Pay Per Minute (€ 0.41 extra)
- Click&Buy (€ 0.15 extra)
- iDEAL (Rabobank, Postbank, ABN AMRO, SNS Bank)(€ 0.65 extra)
- MasterCard (€ 0.44 extra)
- MiniTix (€ 0.32 extra)
- PayPal (€ 0.40 extra)
- SMS (€ 2.01 extra)
- VISA (€ 0.44 extra)
- Waardecoupon (€ 0.00)
- Wallie-Card (€ 0.18 extra)
- YourGift (€ 0.00 extra)

Well, whats the use of such a payment mechanism if it is not freely available across closed mobile portals? Not so much, so that's why Rabobank also focused on the Open Mobile Internet initiative (OMI). This aims for open m-portals rather then the current closed shops where customers of Vodafone can hop around in the vodafone portal but really get charged when outside that portal (with Vodafone of course taking in the kick-back fees from content-providers on their own portal).

As it turns out that the customer doesn't like this closed shop idea (imagine that the internet started with a bunch of paid content available from the start, rather than as the free web it was) even the mobile operators feel that they have to change their business model (and there may be of course a bit of a concern that competition regulators start to understand their current business model with extraordinary high merchant service fee charges). So thats why they're also in the OMI.

By the way, the Rabobank Minitix is operator and bank-independent; just the same as earlier initiatives (that may have been too early in the market): Moxmo, Digipay (read the public report on their liquidation here). So let's see if this next shot at the m-payments market will have an impact.