Coming hot on the heels of Orange's announcement about its mobile payments rollout and the Cityzi trial in Nice, comes another announcement from France that adds impetus to the development of mobile payments. Atos Origin, Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR have formed a new joint venture called Buyster
. It is aimed at a different market from NFC contactless payments.
With support from major online retailers in France including Aquarelle, Brandalley, Darty and Rue du Commerce, Buyster is a remote payment solution for fixed and mobile web purchases. Subject to approvals, it will be available in France from mid-2011.
This is yet another positive sign for the future of mobile payments in my view.
Customers will use their mobile phone number linked to their bank card number, in order to make payments. From the perspective of the user, people who are familiar with these online retailers will presumably be just offered another alternative mechanism - which happens to be mobile and, by the way, backed by their mobile operator.
So, whilst the brand might be new to users, they will draw some security from the knowledge that it is provided by their mobile operator and well known retailers. Good move - this is the sweetspot of the announcement - plus of course the linking of mobile with online commerce.
Although this latter aspect has been done before and, from the competitive angle, the service will be up against companies such as PayPal with its Mobile Check Out, this new announcement does offer a USP in my view due to its readymade integration with retailers and operators. We'll see how it progresses later in the year!