mGage

Upaid Rolls Out Mobile Payments in Serbia

David Murphy

Mobile payments specialist Upaid has announced the national launch of its Mobile Payment Service (MPS) marketing campaign in Serbia. Including all three mobile operators and 10 banks in Serbia, this national launch is an expansion to a service started in October 2006 with Visa International and Serbian mobile operator Mobile Telekom Serbia (mt:s). Serbia is the third in a series of markets to sign up to the MPS, with operators in Jordan and Morocco already using Upaids payment platform.
Customers of all three Serbian mobile operators: mt:s, Telenor and Vip mobile, who register their Visa cards to the service will be able to recharge (top-up) their mobile phones instantly with a simple SMS message. They can also use an SMS message to top-up the prepaid phones of friends and family against the same card. Upaid anticipates increasing the portfolio of its services with the operators in the future.
mt:s has been using the service for the past year, while Vip mobile launched the service yesterday, and Telenor is finalising the pilot stage, ready for live transactions in November.
All customers of the MPS consortium of banks in Serbia who have Visa payment cards and a mobile phone service can sign up to the enhanced service at no cost, setting a new standard for recharge services in Serbia.
The MPS consortium is currently made up of 10 banks and all three mobile operators in Serbia, and like the operators they represent, the consortium includes a mix of local and international banks, including Continental, Komercijalna and Piraeus, as well as Austrias Raiffeisen, Frances Socit Gnrale, Greeces Alpha bank and Italys Banca Intesa. Together they represent over 75% of card holders, and more banks have applied to join. Together, these banks and operators are cooperating to bring a full mobile payments system to the countrys 6.6 million phone users. Banks will be including MPS in their own marketing campaigns from November.
Upaid has provided consortium members with a marketing toolkit to ensure a coherent national marketing campaign, and leads this effort with a print and billboard campaign which broke yesterday and runs through to the end of the year.
Upaid has also created and launched an information website in English and Serbian for customers to learn how to practically use the MPS service. The MPS site contains instructional demos on how to top-up mobile phones with each mobile operator, and how to contact banks to sign up for the service.
Compared to other recharge options, such as electronic recharge in shops, or scratch cards, this mobile service gives consumers the freedom to top-up instantly and independently at shops and merchants, says Jean-Marc-Tonti, Vice President, South East Europe, Visa CEMEA. We are delighted to see more banks and operators signing up to this service. Upaid has been instrumental in our expansion in the Serbian market and we hope to repeat and even exceed the success we had in Jordan and Morocco here in Serbia.
For Upaid, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, Terence Trench, adds:
Since launching this service a year ago, we have seen great progress in the Serbian market, and have expanded to include 10 banks and growing. With the addition of mobile operators such as Telenor and Vip mobile to our service already offered by mt:s, we are confident that we will reach the majority of Serbian mobile users and Visa card holders. This market is perfect for Upaid to roll out additional services in the future, such as utility payments.
There are currently 2.2 million Visa card holders in Serbia, a large proportion of whom will have access to the new Upaid service. Serbia has 6.6 million mobile phone users, and a population of 7.6 million.