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Taking a look at Anam’s SMS Money Transfer service

Last week I met Jote Bassi, Marketing Director, of Anam for an orange juice at the Langham Hotel in London.

When Jote speaks, it’s clear that he knows his mobile industry. Before joining Anam, he was instrumental at launching mobile email, GPS, and satellite navigation services at T-Mobile UK.

Jote is now heading up marketing for Anam – who, if you haven’t come across them, are all about beyond messaging. That is, they’ve been busy pioneering the ‘value-added’ text services market for quite a while. Principally their products and services are targeted at mobile operators across the world (quite a number of whom are clients). However my interest in Anam was piqued at the consumer front-end because they’ve got a brand new service called SMS Money Transfer (it does what it says on the tin) that I really liked the sound of.

(We also talked about Anam’s other services and I’ll post about those later) Anyway, I wanted to learn more about their Money Transfer service. I’ve see other mobile payments solutions working – and I wondered just how this would work.

It’s rather smart.

Here’s the concept – first of all, your operator needs to implement SMS Money Transfer on their backend. That’s critical, because it enables a really simple user-model. More on that in a moment.

So, first of all, you need to register at an ATM machine for the service to get yourself a secure PIN number and to tie the service to your bank account. You also need to ensure your friend has done the same to ensure their bank account is setup and tied to their device.

Then, when you want to send cash to a friend, you simply create a text message with this text:

#CASH 50.00

(Where 50.00 represents £50.)

Then send the text message to your friend. Just as you were sending a normal text message. No messing around. Just use your phonebook and your text application like normal.

Then transmit the message.

Now, here’s the science bit: At the operator level, your message is picked up by Anam’s systems (the hash-cash bit at the start acts as the identifier), passed to Anam’s financial partner, TR2 and the cash transaction is executed.

For added security, you then immediately receive an IVR call asking you to confirm the accuracy of the transaction. You need to type in your PIN number to do so.

Upon doing so, £50 is debited from your account and added into your friend’s account and they receive a text message from your mobile phone number reading ‘I have paid you £50′.

Smart. It is incredibly efficient.

Jote reports that operators are reacting very positively to the service concept – and that they’re talking to operators globally. I can see this being a very valuable service for migrant workers wanting to easily send cash abroad. No need to arse around with money transfer services provided your network and your friend’s network abroad have implemented the system.

I really would like the ability to do this on my handset. No news yet on the status of T-Mobile implementing the service though.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “Taking a look at Anam’s SMS Money Transfer service”

So just like the paypal system for mobiles then (aside from not needing a paypal account obviously).

How does the system make a profit then?

I quite like this..

The main differentiator between this and the Paypal service, is that this is very much a carrier value add proposition rather than a 3rd party standalone service.

What’s great about the Anam service is also what’s bad about it.. It’s easy to use, due to the fact they are getting the carriers to effectively set up the keyword ”#cash’ and simply pass all messages to this keyword to them directly. This will make for an awesome user experience, but due to the reliance on the carriers to have implemented this system, it will be default only ever work on a limited number of carriers. Many carriers won’t go for this, and similarly lots won’t be able to technically/logistically. There will need to be a lot of work done by Anam to court the carriers, however If they manage to get some decent networks on board it could take off.

Now that’s not to say Paypals task is easy.. They don’t need to persuade the carriers to set up a universal keyword, rather they use a short code. This in itself is an arduous task, but I guarantee more networks offer shortcodes than will easily be persuaded to take up Anam’s system (at least in the short term).

Personally I like both services.

I would like to create a proof of concept for money/currency transfer both here in the UK, USA & Europe, possibly using a combination of smart card technology or preferably an m-wallet/ M-PESA via a mobile phone. Is there anyone in your organisation that could help or give any practical advice and cost could be upwards of $500,000-$5,000,000?

KInd regards
Haydn

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