Mobile payments blow as paybox pulls back from consumer market

Mobile payments blow as paybox pulls back from consumer market

German mobile payments provider paybox is pulling out of the consumer market, citing discord between banks and telcos as a significant hindrance to mass-market adoption.

The company, which claims 10,000 merchants and 750,000 subscribers for its mPayment service across Europe, recently underwent a change of ownership following the sale by Deutsche Bank of its majority shareholding to incumbent management.

Under a major restructuring, paybox says it will focus on the profitable B2B business with regional payment processors, telcos, and banks. The company's consumer-facing operations in Sweden and the UK are to be wound down while the Austrian business is being sold to Mobilkom Austria. The company will maintain consumer services in its home market.

Paybox CEO Mathias Entenmann, says: "We deeply regret this step. We are not only losing customers and merchants, but also the highly qualified team that made paybox what it is today: the world-wide market leader for mobile payment.“

He says the company's business-to-business operation will be intensified through the founding of a new company, paybox solutions AG, which will develop and oversee paybox payment solutions and other m-commerce services for other companies. All of the brand and licence rights, as well as the patent, which protects the key components of the paybox system, remain in the possession of the paybox group.

Entenmann says the slow development of the m-payment market as well as the prolonged poor investment climate and the high costs of consumer servicing forced the retrenchment. He also blames lack of cooperation among banks and telecommunications providers as major factor slowing uptake. "The necessary growth and profitability can only be reached with many active market players, which have so far failed to appear."

Deutsche Bank quietly offloaded its stake in paybox late last year as part of a strategic decision to divest itself of non-core business.

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