Mobile Payments vs. GeldKarte

Irakli asks: Mobile Payments: Why exactly? and lists a lot of reasons why mobile payments don’t exactly come naturally when compared with other stuff in your wallet.

Let me first name some things that are possible with mobile payments that no other payment scheme offers:

  • Probably the biggest thing: communication combined with payment. That will allow you to update your customer with the latest details about his or her purchase – shipping notification, link to tracking, whatever.
  • Mobile content. What you consume on your mobile needs to be paid for on your mobile.
  • P2P payment. Paybox was soooo good at this it actually broke their neck (no fees for P2P payments).

Now, regarding your GeldKarte arguments: I was the product manager for germany’s first product that allowed to pay with the GeldKarte on the internet. Let me tell you one thing: it’s not the complexity of the system, it’s the lack of ZKAs ability to deal with technology. As long as they require class 3 smart card readers and all that other crap (which is by no means more secure than the cheaper ones…), this is NEVER going to take off. Also, the prepaid system and the limitation to 200 Euros makes it useless for a lot of stuff. Loading via Internet (WITHOUT requiring expensive hardware) is also crucial.

All in all, the GeldKarte’s success depends on the banks’ support for it. Currently they’re not to keen to push it – you’ll find that most germans have no idea what it is, even if they are carrying one in their wallet.

I’m not sying that mobile payment is the alternative to card based payments – but both have different usage scenarios, advantages and disadvantages, and are probably not comparable.

Right now, both are driven by the respective business owners (banks and telcos) – but where exactly is the customer demand?

Bill Swanson’s ’25 Unwritten Rules of Management’

From CCGMag:

Bill Swanson’s ’25 Unwritten Rules of Management’
1. Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.
2. It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
3. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
4. Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there, but few can see what isn’t there.
5. Viewgraph rule: When something appears on a viewgraph (an overhead transparency), assume the world knows about it, and deal with it accordingly.
6. Work for a boss with whom you are comfortable telling it like it is. Remember that you can’t pick your relatives, but you can pick your boss.
7. Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they are supposed to be. Avoid Newton’s Law.
8. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts.
9. Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don’t be known as a good starter but a poor finisher.
10. In completing a project, don’t wait for others; go after them, and make sure it gets done.
11. Confirm your instructions and the commitments of others in writing. Don’t assume it will get done!
12. Don’t be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.
13. Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get it done.
14. Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.
15. Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.
16. Don’t overlook the fact that you are working for a boss.
* Keep him or her informed. Avoid surprises!
* Whatever the boss wants takes top priority.
17. Promises, schedules, and estimates are important instruments in a well-ordered business.
* You must make promises. Don’t lean on the often-used phrase, “I can’t estimate it because it depends upon many uncertain factors.”
18. Never direct a complaint to the top. A serious offense is to “cc” a person’s boss.
19. When dealing with outsiders, remember that you represent the company. Be careful of your commitments.
20. Cultivate the habit of “boiling matters down” to the simplest terms. An elevator speech is the best way.
21. Don’t get excited in engineering emergencies. Keep your feet on the ground.
22. Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean-cut decisions.
23. When making decisions, the pros are much easier to deal with than the cons. Your boss wants to see the cons also.
24. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor.
25. Have fun at what you do. It will reflect in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump.

Shot Code / Semacode

Russell and The Pondering Primate post application ideas around codes that can be read with a camera phone:

“The PP suggests a great application for eBay. Say you’re running an auction and you want to maximise local impact. Maybe for something better sold locally anyway (like a bike), but want to tap into eBay’s familiar platform. You can print out a flyer, complete with Shot Code, to put in your local supermarket. People “click” on the Shot Code and can see the price reached and place a bid – all from the comfort of their own phone :-)”

I had some similar thoughts that might turn into business one day, but since I won’t be doing anything in that area in the foreseeable future, I might as well post them here:

Mobile Payment

This one is obvious. Mobile payment is lacking (not talking about lack of users again…) an easy way to get the process started, i.e. how does the payment information get to your phone? As most people will not be shopping in a WAP context, this might mean typing in a URL or code, or transfer via infrared or bluetooth.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just point your phone camera at a small code picture on the product to start the process?

Even better, this is not limited to a store environment: the code may be on a poster on a wall, or on an advert in a magazine. Combine this with a price search engine that links you up with the cheapest vendor, automatically transfers payment and address information and does the deal, and you’ve got a pretty nice solution.

That even works offline: Some phones may have a camera, but that can not be accessed by J2ME applications (thank you, Nokia!). You can still snap a picture and process it on your desktop PC, though.

Mobile Marketing

All those people putting up ads must be wondering who if they really do reach their target audience. Put a code on the advert, and have people “shop” the code, which in this case means take part in some kind of price drawing. You’ll get excellent data, including locations (which you can include in the code).

A provider of a mobile marketing platform like this could manage the customer information to be disclosed, based on the customers preferences.

Got any more ideas? Let’s hear them!

G&D: Secure MMC cards

Another thing that I worked at with a previous employer: Giesecke & Devrient announce a secure MMC card.

“Giesecke & Devrient has added smart card security functionality to flash memory cards for flexible and secure use of digital applications. The new Secure MultiMediaCards™ permit professional Digital Rights Management as well as a wide spectrum of other applications.

Whatever the device – mobile phone, PDA or MP3 player – MultiMediaCards™ (MMCs) are the ideal data carrier for mobile applications in both professional and private environments.These memory cards already have a capacity of up to one GB, yet weigh only two grams. The chief benefit they offer is implementation of the MMC Association open standard, which allows the flash cards to be used in more and more mobile terminal devices. New-generation smart phones or PDAs already boast integrated MMC slots, so that storage media can be transferred from one device to another quickly and easily without the need for additional infrastructure.

The high-performance data carrier is not a SIM card substitute, but a separate storage medium with integrated security adopted from smart card technology.Individual security features – such as digital rights or secret keys for data encoding – can be safely stored in the smart card controller.This means that all sensitive content can be encoded and protected against unauthorized access.An important benefit is customized programming (personalization) of the SecureMMCs. The expertise in personalization of smart card chips that this requires has been a core competence of G&D for many years.”

This ipens up a whole new area of applications on smartphones that use MMC (unfortunately, all the new ones go for the reduced size versions nowadays…).

I wonder if there are any device manufacturers already working on drivers…

iTunes 4.9 (with podcasting support) AVAILABLE!

Get it NOW!

Oh and while you’re at it: don’t forget to pick up the new iPod updater as well.

First quick impression: cool stuff. The interface still needs a little polishing, though – the menu navigation seems inconsistent. The tags are not properly filled, probably due to Apple’s extensions to RSS.

I bet it won’t be long until every serious podcaster supports these tags, no matter how non-standard they may be. Tough luck for all the iPodder developers, I dare say…

UPDATE: It’s starting – a german podcasting directory closes down and moves to iTunes

More updates:

Russell’s got a new blog

Russell Buckley of “The Mobile Technology Weblog” fame has parted ways with Creative Weblogging (tell us why!) and started his new blog:

So – everyone, update your subscriptions!

Mobile Payment: Bye bye Simpay!

“Following the decision of one of its founding Members not to launch Simpay for the foreseeable future, the decision was made today at a General Meeting of Simpay not to pursue its activity on a pan-European scale as originally planned.

Instead, Simpay’s operations will be scaled back with immediate effect. Member operators will be able to exploit Simpay’s intellectual property rights at a national level, although international interoperability remains a goal. The members will make known their individual plans in due course.

All of the operators involved in Simpay continue to share the vision of the enormous potential of the mobile commerce market and the importance of providing a robust and straightforward payment facility to content providers.”


This is sad. Having worked with one of the founding members for a few years, I find it especially depressing to see how many great minds have worked in vain getting the technology ready.

I guess “scaled back” in this case really means “buried in a patent pit” – I can’t imagine how this could ever get momentum again.

OK, time for the small niche players to fill the demand (is there any?) – what do you think?