Mobile financial services wallets have gone far beyond
simply offering mobile banking and payment options. Carsten Kress,
EMEA director of sales for SAP subsidiary Sybase 365, tells Meghna
Mukerjee that the vendor’s upgraded 3.0 offering will provide an
integrated range of services over the mobile platform.

 

Bar chart showing mobile payment users by region, 2009-2010Sybase has
upgraded its mBanking 365 3.0 product to differentiate its mobile
wallet in the market through the white-labelling of the product.
Sybase says that this will give banks and operators the opportunity
to customise the wallet as their own.

Carsten Kress, the EMEA director of
sales for Sybase 365, told RBI: “We are very neutral. We
are not looking to monetise. Sybase 365 provides a platform that
can be completely customised to what banks or operators need,” said
Kres.

Kress said that in comparison to a
number of its major rivals – such as Fiserv, Monitise and
Clairmail, who are looking to monetise the mobile wallet,
particularly in the UK – Sybase 365 gives clients the chance to
“really venture out using a Sybase platform”.

Kress added: “If you are using an
existing service in any other platform – say if you are using
Google wallet – it is still Google wallet. It is not your bank’s
platform or the operator’s, but it is Google’s.

“So that’s the main difference with
Sybase 365.”

Mobile financial services is an
access tool, and in the banking environment the general notion is
still fixed on the offerings being an extension of internet banking
over mobile phones. But the mobile platform has possibilities to
add many other services such as marketing, loyalty, couponing, and
location-based offers that are now coming into play, said
Kress.

“The difference between the old
mobile banking and the new 3.0 is really the enhancement of value
added services and functionality over and above the classical
banking features,” Kress added.

“It is parking, ticketing,
insurances, micro-lends – ready to use financial services that,
from a platform perspective, an operator could develop and enable
and service out to customers through banks.”

Among banking clients, Commercial
Bank of Qatar (CBQ) is about to finalise the launch of Sybase
mBanking 365 3.0 services.

Dutch-Bangla Bank in Bangladesh has
recently launched its mBanking wallet based on Sybase’s software.
Sybase 365 teamed up with Mexico-based Ixe Bank to launch a
multi-channel mBanking service last year as well.

“When you log into the mobile
banking app of CBQ, for example, CBQ will have analysed your
behaviour, profile, what you are dealing in, what you are doing,
and combine this with location based services,” said Kress.

“This is not proactively pushing
something but if you log in, you will receive an offer. CBQ will
look into where you are currently and give you the most likely
campaign out of 10 or 15.”

Approximately six other mBanking
customers of Sybase – “a mix of banks and operators” – are in a
migration process to Sybase mBanking 365 3.0, and two of those
firms are about to complete the migration.

Kress added: “There are variations
to what they actually use in the platform.

“For Dresdner Bank in Germany,
before they go into traditional mBanking, they have to prove that
this mobile platform will provide margins for the bank.

“So they try to establish value
added services before they actually connect to the consumer’s bank
accounts and provide traditional banking services.”

The ability to drive margin through
the mobile channel gives the mobile wallet an advantage.

“A mobile top-up service actually
makes profit over the mobile channel and brings additional value as
a direct revenue stream. And the benefit of topping-up through a
bank is that there is no fraud,” said Kress.

“When you build and promote your
wallet, it should not only hold your payment needs but also the
marketing needs, analysis needs, customer behaviour, and so
on.”

On the one hand, where developing
economies are targeting financial inclusion through mBanking, in a
developed market – “where everyone has a bank account” – it is the
value additions that are particularly important.

The value additions are redefining
a traditional mobile wallet, providing customers with an entire
lifecycle of products.

One of the most popular value added
services that banks are offering over the mobile platform is good
rates on international remittances.

“It is not only operators, but
banks that are going into mobile remittances, enabling their own
money transfer services,” said Kress.

“Interestingly, even classical
money transfer services such as Western Union have opened up to
mobile remittance deals, whereas they have tried to stop such
initiatives until, maybe, end of last year.”

In May 2010, Germany-based software
giant SAP took over Sybase, and the acquisition has “hugely helped
both companies” said Kress.

“The Sybase products are a perfect
entry to the SAP applications.

“SAP comes with core business
applications like HR, CRM. They now have the technology to securely
launch them over mobile.”

Looking ahead, Kress said the
mobile banking market will experience a growth in international
remittance deals, and an integration of two to three mobile apps
into one.

Sybase is working with Citigroup
globally now and providing them with a range of mobile banking
services.

One of them involves the removal of cash from the street dealer,
especially relevant for fast moving consumer goods companies.