At Mobile World Congress, MasterCard Worldwide, today announced its collaboration with Beam, a revolutionary mobile and electronic commerce wallet, to launch a first-of-its kind, low-cost, MasterCard mobile companion pre-paid card that will allow over 14 million mobile wallet consumers of Beam to transact at physical merchants, online and access ATMs.
With over 850 million mobile subscribers in India today the potential for scale and benefits to a growing community cannot be overstated. According to the latest MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index, India achieved a score of 31.5, which puts the country in the middle of the pack with regard to overall readiness for mobile payments.
This collaboration is another step by MasterCard toward its vision of a world beyond cash, bringing new and innovative electronic payment solutions to a new generation of customers, both banked and underserved. Now, consumers in India can connect their existing mobile wallets to the world of MasterCard acceptance and electronic payments to pay utility bills, make fund transfers, book movie or travel tickets, and even withdraw money from ATMs as well as Beam franchisees. The prepaid card will seamlessly synchronize with the customer's existing Beam account. Beginning July/August 2013, these cards will be issued instantly by Beam franchisees (many of whom are educated, unemployed women) across the country.
"There's an increasing need for electronic payments in markets such as India, where more than 40% of the adult population do not have access to banking services. In 2012, we launched the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program seeking to provide consumers living in remote areas of the world with access to mobile money services. The launch of this revolutionary product will not only help bring more Indians into the financial system, but also benefit merchants especially those who currently do not have point-of-sale acceptance, which is roughly around 6 million merchants in India," said Philip Yen, Group Head, Emerging Payments, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.
"Our collaboration with MasterCard Worldwide's pre-paid card system enables us to offer our customers a unique product that fits their lifestyle and provides access to ATMs and card-transactions at merchants, further extending the reach o of our Mobile Wallet to a wide range of cashless solutions and our endeavor to make Beam an aspired brand," said Anand Srivastava, Chairman, Beam.
The collaboration is a win-win strategy for a host of stakeholders. Beam customers will be able to add more functionality and utility to their current mobile wallet offering. The MasterCard merchant community will benefit from a higher volume of electronic payments given that a significant section of consumers are predominantly cash-based in India. Beam franchisees will be further empowered with their new capability of distributing mobile companion pre-paid cards and conducting on-behalf-of electronic payment transactions for consumers with limited and one-off electronic payment needs.
It will also help Beam realize its vision to be a globally-recognized corporation and its unique digital commerce coupled with its distribution tie-up with India Post to sell Beam services at post offices will greatly enhance the reach of this new service.
In fact, the collaboration with Beam could trigger far-reaching innovations in the mobile and payments industries. One, it is a low cost pre-paid account that is linked to a mobile-based store value account. Second, while there will be one account, there will be two form factors i.e. phone and plastic. Third, it is issued instantly, linked to the mobile wallet in real time and authenticated via the mobile phone of the consumer. This service marks a significant step towards the coming together of mobile-commerce and banking entities in the payment space.
Consumers can easily enjoy Beam services by registering for an account via SMS, Beam's website, wapsite or app and transacting at anytime from anywhere. Beam services include telecom/DTH-TV/data card recharge, utility bill payments, rail, air and bus travel bookings, mobile/e-commerce, movie tickets, ringtones, wallpaper, songs, games, COD/home delivery and more. The registration is free, paperless and hassle-free - it does not require a change in SIM card, download of software or a credit, debit or net bank card, and works on all mobile phones.