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Nokia Announces Financial SMS Service

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I said it before: there will be nothing left for Nokia World next week...

Following the announcement of its impressive Booklet 3G netbook and tasty 5230 the the Finns have now unveiled 'Nokia Money', a mobile financial service offering consumers access to basic financial services with their handsets.

From the off, users will be able to send money just using a person's mobile phone number, pay merchants for goods and services, utility bills and top up pre-pay sims. The services can be accessed 24 hours a day and Nokia plans to build a nationwide network of 'Nokia Money agents' (sounds sinister) where consumers can withdraw cash or make deposits into their accounts.
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"We believe mobile financial services offer a market opportunity with long term growth potential," said Nokia EVP and Chief Development Office Mary McDowell. "In many countries, mobile phone ownership significantly exceeds bank account usage, suggesting that many mobile phone users have very limited or no access to basic financial services. With more than 4 billion mobile phone users and only 1.6 billion bank accounts, global demand for access to financial services presents a strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with simple but powerful financial services."

Nokia Money will operate using the mobile payments platform of Obopay, a business Nokia invested in earlier this year. The plan is to keep Nokia Money open and interoperable with other payment services.

Nokia Money will get see its debut at Nokia World next week and while there clearly aren't nearly enough specifics here to make a credible judgement call, it certainly appears to be an ambitious plan. The potential for mobile and contact payments is pretty much taken as read these days too with everyone from Swatch to O2 and TfL investigating the matter.

The stakes are huge for whoever gets it right...

In related news talk is Nokia may be tiring of Symbian. This seemingly unthinkable development would see Nokia dump the platform it bought to give away in favour of Linux, and specifically 'Maemo'. The N900 may be the first handset to try this and whatever the outcome I don't really care just as long as another major phone maker realises it's not the hardware that counts, it's software.

Link:
Press Release
Nokia courts Linux via Reuters

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