Point Roberts WA, January 31, 2013, - Investorideas.com, a leader in sector research for independent investors, issues a sector snapshot for the mobile commerce sector in India. With data supporting mobile payments on the rise in India, new players are entering the market, with different approaches and solutions for Indian consumers. Calpian(OTCQB:CLPI) and Western Union (NYSE:WU) are addressing the needs of the millions of underbanked Indians, while Citibank, a subsidiary of Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C), builds on the services of 320 million card customers in India.
Calpian (OTCQB:CLPI) strategically placed itself in India in March 2012 with its investment in its subsidiary, Money-on-Mobile, that allows users to make simple financial transactions for anyone with a text-enabled phone.
Calpian recently reported that, as of December 31, 2012, Money-on-Mobile is now being supported by over 118,000 retail locations and has been accessed by approximately 32.5 million unique phone number customers since April 1, 2012. The December 2012 processed transaction volume, measured in Indian rupees, was 620.4 million INR - an approximate 90 million increase over November 2012 processed volume. At current exchange rates, December processed transaction volume was approximately $11.4 million.
Cynthia Bailey, Chief Marketing Officer of Calpian(OTCQB:CLPI) notes, "part of the problem in India is that most of the population, well over 50 percent according to a 2012 Mastercard study, do not even have a bank account, much less a credit card, so our solution addresses the issue of "financial inclusion" to allow these unbanked people the ability to pay their bills, send money to other individuals, etc. Previously, they had to rely on cash which was not a safe, fast or particularly effective method to use."
The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) has addressed the same problem, joining forces with ICICI Bank and MasterCard last October to launch the Western Union® ICICI Bank Prepaid Card in India.
The card offers millions of underbanked Indians - many who carry cash 24/7 - a safe way to store and access their money anytime along with new options for saving and spending.
"Western Union's vision is to promote financial inclusion in India with ICICI Bank and MasterCard," said Mike Hafer, Senior Vice President, Global Prepaid, Western Union. "The new card will give Indians benefits similar to those offered by mainstream banked cards without the restrictions of maintaining an average daily balance limit or being denied for creditworthiness."
Citibank, a subsidiary of Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C), announced earlier this month the launch of a fully integrated and certified mobile payment solution in India and across the Citigroup network, globally. The mobile payment solution, developed by Citi's partner, Ezetap Mobile Solutions, allows for more than 320 million card customers in India to make payments through their debit and credit cards at the point- of- payment. The secured paperless transaction not only does away with managing charge slips but also combines the many benefits enjoyed by Citibank card customers, including instant redemption of reward points, accelerated rewards as well as the ability to opt for the popular EMI payment option while using this new payment alternative. Merchant partners using this device for customer payments and collections will be given real time information during the payment and collection process, providing an integrated, secured and efficient receivables payment solution.
"Our partnerships with leading brands in India stand testimony to the fact that the solution is already a market leader driving digital payments in our country," said Muge Yuzuak, country head of Cards and Personal Loans, Citibank India. "We believe that this payment and collection device has the potential to dramatically increase the penetration of card terminals from the current low level of 700,000 units in India."
Cynthia Bailey, Chief Marketing Officer of Calpian(OTCQB:CLPI) commented following the news, "it sounds like it's a solution that will enable people who already have credit cards and bank accounts to make mobile payments at the point- of -sale - if there were more cardholders and point- of- sale terminals, this might be a good option, but that really isn't the problem. The problem is, it's a big country with a huge population of individuals who are basically excluded from the banking/credit/electronic payment system completely, and this is not a solution that will address that while Money-on-Mobile does."
The industry is poised for explosive growth. According to Calpian this is a $200 Billion opportunity. Google India recently reported that 30 per cent of online shopping queries last year came from mobile phones. A recent article in Businesstoday.com notes that month-on-month transactions carried out through mobile banking are surging both in volume and value terms but consumers in India have not yet fully embraced mobile payments. So it may come to who has the easiest solutions and services to convince consumers.
About Calpian (OTCQB: CLPI)
Calpian, Inc. (CLPI) is a publicly traded company with corporate offices in Dallas, Texas and mobile payments emerging-market operations through its subsidiary in India. Calpian's U.S. business focuses on the 10,000 Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) that serve approximately 2 million small merchants across all industries in the U.S. who pay an estimated $1 billion in annual residuals. Calpian's Indian subsidiary offers Money-on-Mobile, a pre-paid mobile payment solution, to over 32.5 million unique Indian phone number customers at more than 118,000 Indian retail locations. Calpian's management team has over 70 years in combined experience in the payments business. Calpian's CEO, Harold Montgomery, is a recognized industry leader who has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress and Federal Reserve Bank on payments-related issues and regularly appears in numerous industry publications, such as Transaction World Magazine. www.calpian.com and http://www.money-on-mobile.net/ for more information.
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Disclosure: I am long CLPI.OB.