Serbian telco Telenor introduces mobile payments with G&D

Source: Giesecke & Devrient

In Serbia, mobile network operator Telenor has introduced a new payment service called PlatiMo, which for the first time allows customers to pay their bills and perform other financial services via their mobile phones directly from their bank accounts.

In opting for G&D's SIM cards and SmartTrust Over-the-Air (OTA) server software and Halcom's mobile payment system, Telenor has chosen one of the most competitive m-payment offerings currently present on the market worldwide. With G&D's 150 years of financial experience and its technical expertise in managing applications on SIM cards and Halcom's know-how in the field of electronic payments, Telenor is guaranteed a first class mobile payment solution.

Since early mobile payment market adoption was stunted by a lack of awareness that collaboration between banks and mobile network operators is essential, considerable attention was paid to this issue in the case of PlatiMo. Telenor worked closely with banks to provide a state-of-the-art mobile payment scheme to their customers. Telenor has chosen Halcom to provide mobile payments software and G&D to supply SIM cards and manage mobile payments applications on its delivery platform. The Telenor mobile payments scheme has so far attracted the involvement of four banks: Komercijalna bank, Erste Bank, Credit Agricole and Raiffeisen Bank. These four banks between them serve more than 50 percent of the Serbian market.

Telenor and the partner banks are currently in discussions with merchants and are eager for them to join the scheme as quickly as possible. Telenor will soon be able to offer the option of paying utility bills for electricity, cable TV, water, Internet etc. through mobile payment. Moreover, Telenor and the partner banks would also like to extend the scheme into the area of ticketing, offering users the opportunity to pay for cinema, theatre and concert tickets, taxi rides, and public transport.

For now, subscribers using the PlatiMo application can pay mobile phone bills issued by Telenor, send money to other PlatiMo users, make online purchases, buy airplane tickets via the call centre of Serbia's largest national air company JAT Airways and top up their prepaid accounts in the Telenor network.

After the promotional period, which ends in April, new banks will be introduced to the PlatiMo system, increasing the potential customer base.

What is more, thanks to cooperation with e-government, all PlatiMo users will have access to e-government services through the scheme and will be able to order personal documents, such as birth or citizenship certificates.

In order to obtain a sustainable customer base, a mobile payments service needs to be simple, yet completely reliable and secure. A key success factor in achieving a high take-up is the impressive simplicity of the new Telenor service. To perform a mobile payments transaction, the user only needs to take three steps.

In step one, a payment request containing all essential information (payment amount, vendor's name and similar details) is sent to the user's mobile phone. The second step sees the user confirming (digitally signing) the payment request with their sPIN. After confirmation, both merchant and user receive information about the transaction status in step three. This procedure minimizes end user data input, providing a very convenient and easy payment experience without compromising transaction security.

PlatiMo is simple to use, versatile and suitable for all commercially available mobile phones. It also meets the highest security standards for electronic payment transactions: The phones use special WPKI (Wireless Public Key Infrastructure) SIM cards from G&D, which provide an electronic certificate issued by the Halcom certificate agency. During the encrypted transactions, data are exchanged between the SIM card and a G&D SmartTrust Mobile Transaction Gateway server which is connected to PlatiMo's four participating banks via Halcom's 123 Pay! platform.

Consumers are protected in the event of cell phone loss or theft, since payments can only be made by entering a special additional PIN - the sPIN - which is different from the cell phone's SIM PIN. Such security technology has been widely used in electronic banking for years and so far these systems have not seen any cases of misuse or fraud.

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