O2 have recently launched the O2 wallet, a “safe, simple and easy” way to send or receive money just by entering a mobile number. We caught up with Phil Edwards, Head of Business Development at O2 Money to find out a bit more about their exciting new offering and what it means for the consumer and for mcommerce…
Q. Hi Phil, tell us a bit about yourself and your role at O2.
I joined the O2 Money team in 2010 to head up the business development function and I am responsible for developing and forming key partnerships with service providers as the market for the m-Wallet evolves. My background is in the financial services industry rather than telecoms, having spent over 10 years at companies such as MBNA, Alliance & Leicester and Tuxedo Money Solutions and our objective at O2 Money is connect people with their money so they can buy the things they want in a safe, secure and convenient way whilst on the move.
Q. It’s exciting news about the launch of O2 wallet. What does it mean for O2? What impact do you think it willhave on your business?
O2 has been working in this space for several years and already has a range of financial services products on the market, such as O2 Insurance. We are totally committed to financial services and now have a dedicated team of 250 expertsfrom a variety of specialist fields including financial payments and e and m-commerce.
O2 has 22 million customers and we’re constantly looking to develop innovative new products and services that help our customers. Our insight and focus groups have told us that consumers see the benefit of solutions that help them juggle their day to day finances and make managing their money quicker and more convenient. Smartphones provide the means for such solutions – they’re effectively remote controls for life and we rely on them in ever increasing ways.
Mobile banking is also growing at an extremely fast pace. In the UK, the proportion of people using mobile banking doubled from 9.7% in 2010 to 20.4% in 2011 (TNS Mobile Life), and we’re seeing a range of companies from network providers to banks to ISPs are working towards solutions in this space and want to make sure we can offer the UK market the best product.
We believe this is an area key to our future growth and financial success.
Q. How does O2 Wallet differ to other mobile wallets that are out there in the marketplace?
What benefits does O2 Wallet offer to consumers? O2 Wallet is a seamless and secure digital wallet service that will deliver the benefits of mobile money to more UK consumers than any other product or service currently available. It’s the new way to send and receive money, compare prices and shop via your mobile; and you can use it whether you’re with O2 or not.
We think it’s the most comprehensive service available today, combining the following functions:
Money Message – O2 Wallet enables consumers to securely transfer money to any UK mobile phone number as easily as sending a text. Money Messages allow consumers to make daily transfers of between £1 and £500; and will make lending, borrowing or repaying money to friends and family easier than ever.
Shopping via your mobile – O2 Wallet makes shopping via your mobile a breeze. A comprehensive barcode and search engine function compares the prices of millions of branded goods from more than 100 online retailers. In addition, consumers will enjoy unique daily discounts and deals via the ‘My Offers’ icon. At launch these will include discounts and money off offers from retailers such as Debenhams, Comet, Sainsbury’s Direct, and Tesco Direct.
Your phone as your wallet – O2 Wallet enables consumers to digitise their existing debit and credit cards making it quick and easy to pay for things via their mobile. Customers can load money into their O2 Wallet account via one of their debit cards, by receiving a Money Message or with cash at more than 30,000 locations including O2 stores, PayPoint and epay retail outlets. O2 Wallet’s ‘transaction history’ helps consumers keep on top of their expenditure with texts alerts when the account balance changes; a 30-day payment history on the app; and a 12-month history online.
O2 Money Account Card – O2 Wallet offers both a physical and a virtual O2 Money Account Card. Both are based on a Visa prepaid account making them ideal for customers wanting to manage their finances as they can only spend what they put in. The ‘virtual’ O2 Money Visa Account Card is perfect for online shopping. Consumers can also apply for the physical O2 Money Visa Account Card to pay for things on the high street or withdraw cash from ATMs. This is a contactless card allowing tap-and-go payments at more than 100,000 contactless payment points across the UK; it’s fast, easy and convenient.
Q. The scan and compare functionality is a really smart feature, how can advertisers get their products and services included within O2 Wallet?
We’d welcome hearing from any retailers wanting to be involved in the O2 Wallet, please email O2moneypartners@o2.com.
Q. What is the future for O2? Do you have plans to roll out further capabilities such as near field communication (NFC) or launch new mobile products?
O2 Wallet is intentionally not NFC-enabled at this stage. Whilst we see great potential in this technology, we don’t feel that the infrastructure (both in terms of NFC-enabled handsets and within retailers) is in place yet. O2 Wallet will become NFC enabled in the future.
We have a number of other exciting services that we’ll be launching within O2 Wallet in 2012 including airtime top up and train ticketing. We’re also looking to make significant progress towards contactless payments through NFC technology. This is only the start of the journey; but the O2 Wallet will, we believe, begin to change the way that people think about using their mobile for financial transactions.
Q. How many consumers have downloaded O2 wallet?
We do not disclose forecasts. Suffice to say, there has already been significant interest in the service. We have been delighted by the scale of response, and have seen really engaged customers giving us great feedback on what they’re enjoying about O2 Wallet, and how we can help them get even more out of it.
Q. How many advertisers feature their products within the shopping section?
There are currently over 100 retailers on board for our shopping experience including large high street retailers, specialist retailers and ecommerce brands. We currently offer over 2 million products across categories such as books, CDs, clothing, DVDs, electricals, gaming, home, DIY & garden, jewellery & watches, parenting, sports & leisure, toys and gifting. We want our customers to be able to search a wide range of products across a wide range of retailers to make sure they can buy the products they want at the most competitive prices whilst on the move.
In her leisure time Lauren enjoys live music events, spontaneous adventures, vintage shopping and making attempts to master Italian.
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