Nokia’s $70 million investment in Obopay earlier this year appears to be paying off. Or, at least, that would be the idea behind Nokia’s introduction today of Nokia Money, a system for sending money to other people by using a mobile phone as well as paying merchants for goods and services.
There’s no mention of the system coming to the United States. But worldwide, Nokia is building a network of Nokia Money agents, whereby consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts. The service will be shown for the first time at Nokia World on Sept. 2 and 3 in Stuttgart, Germany, and Nokia plans to roll it out gradually to selected markets beginning early next year.
“We believe mobile financial services offer a market opportunity with long-term growth potential,” said Mary McDowell, executive vice president and chief development officer at Nokia, in a press release. In many countries, mobile phone ownership significantly exceeds bank account usage, suggesting that many mobile phone users have very limited or no access to basic financial services, she added.
Nokia notes that with more than 4 billion mobile phone users and only 1.6 billion bank accounts, global demand for access to financial services presents a strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with financial services.
Nokia Money is based on Obopay’s mobile payment platform, and Nokia expects the service will be open and interoperable with other payment services.