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 Ã¢â‚¬Ëœvalue-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:
(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 Ã¢â‚¬ËœI 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.