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Nokia, Obopay launch mobile payment service

Nokia has teamed up with payments giant Oboplay to launch a mobile service called "Nokia Money."

Powered by the Obopay platform, Nokia hopes to put mobile banking in the hands of millions of consumers. Nokia Money can be accessed 24-hours a day from any location.

"Obopay shares Nokia's vision for the opportunity that mobile financial services brings to billions of people around the world, as well as the long term growth potential," said David Schwartz, senior director of product and global marketing for Obopay, Redwood City, CA.

"Since the company launched in 2005, it has partnered with many leading financial service providers, operators and handset manufacturers in order to bring our service to consumers," Mr. Schwartz said. "Given Nokia's leading market position and strong brand recognition in the market, it is a great opportunity to extend our service even further."

Nokia is a Finnish manufacturer of mobile devices.

Obopay is a mobile payment service in the United States. The company lets users instantly get, send and spend money.

Nokia Money was designed to allow users to send money to another person by using the person's mobile phone number. Consumers can also pay merchants, utility bills or recharge their prepaid SIM cards.

A network of Nokia Money agents are being deployed so consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts. The Nokia Money service will debut in select markets in 2010. Obopay would not disclose the target markets.

Mobile financial services are not a new venture.

In May, MasterCard launched a fully integrated on-demand person-to-person mobile payments platform for issuers in the United States powered by Obopay.

With this new platform, MasterCard's participating bank customers -- including Bancorp -- are able to offer mobile person-to-person payments to their customers via MoneySend. The consumer payments platform provides a way to send and receive funds via SMS, mobile browser, mobile applet or an Internet-connected PC (see story).

In March, Nokia invested millions of dollars in Obopay.

"Nokia recognizes Obopay's capabilities and clear leadership in mobile financial services," Mr. Schwartz said. "Obopay is present, both in the developed world and in emerging countries enabling the service. It has a platform which is already proven, working with operators and banks such as Verizon, Aircell, and Citibank and is already a core part of the MasterCard mobile offering.

"By codeveloping Nokia Money with Obopay, Nokia is able to transform the mobile phone into a financial services delivery platform, and bring consumers access to basic financial services that they had limited or no access to before, all from their familiar and trusted mobile device," he said,

Nokia and Obopay will use a variety of marketing tactics to promote Nokia Money.

"[It] will include marketing through Nokia's established retail distribution channels, and employing tactics consistent with other Nokia products to support these," Mr. Schwartz said. "The service will also be marketed in conjunction with partners of the Nokia Money service, as well as through mobile and on-line marketing."