Remember back in July when a handful of Nokia’s trademark applications were uncovered, launching unending speculation about tidbits such as “C Series”, “X Series” and “Booklet”? Well Booklet ended up being a netbook, as suspected, and we’re still waiting to see how the C and X series end up materializing. One of the trademarks that didn’t receive much attention however, was “Nokia Money”. We all assumed it had to do with a mobile payment platform of some kind and as it turns out, it does. Nokia announced its new Nokia Money platform built on top of Obopay this morning, that will provide a Paypal-like service using mobile phone numbers as identifiers rather than email addresses. From the release:
Nokia Money has been designed to be as simple and convenient as making a voice call or sending an SMS. It will enable consumers to send money to another person just by using the person’s mobile phone number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards (SIM top-up). The services can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere, meaning savings in travel costs and time. Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts.
We don’t anticipate seeing the service become available in the US any time soon, if ever. It would be nice to see a company step up to make mobile banking more of a reality in America but considering Nokia’s lack of presence here, we doubt it will be the company to lead the pack. Abroad however, where Paypal isn’t quite the force it is here — the Paypal service isn’t even available in many regions — Nokia is poised to supplement its dwindling mobile revenues with a service that could see big returns initially and bigger returns in the long run. More details will be revealed next week at Nokia World and we’re definitely looking forward to it.