Another great event organized by Clarion Events which brought together mobile payments experts from around the world. This APAC event was more global than I expected, bringing together professionals from Bahrain, Somalia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, France, Kenya, and many more. (If you’d like to see my real-time tweets of the event, go to: www.mpayconnect.com where I have the tweets on the right side of my site.)
What I particularly liked and appreciated about this event was the final post-conference field trip where we got the chance to try out GCash and SmartMoney for ourselves. Both Globe Telecom and Smart provided us with prepaid account and SIMs to test at malls. The user interfaces were incredibly intuitive, the loading of the accounts were convenient (we prepaid our GCash account at PR Bank) and loaded additional funds for SmartMoney at a kiosk. So many hurdles we struggled with elsewhere have been figured out nine years ago in the Philippines. To corporations out there seeking to launch mobile payments, but tightening their belts… whatever you do, don’t cut your travel budgets!!! The time/money you can save by learning from what has been done elsewhere is invaluable!
One more thought… the send money service worked great for both services. What I found was that it was difficult to find locations that took GCash, however (a new rail) vs. Smart Money (which uses MasterCard rail with a card.) Another surprise to me was that SmartMoney has 8-9 million users of their remote topup services via the mobile phone, but less than 10,000 cards issued…. which reinforces the idea that it is very difficult to get users to change their behavior in stores. (On the opposite spectrum, I flew through the Tokyo airport and saw the Edy POS at the airport stores.)
I will keep my GCash SIM and account active in the US and try to load it here in California to remit back to the Philippines. I will bring the phone/SIM and SmartMoney card to my next Mobile Payments Panel Jan. 7 to show to those who are interested. For the YouTube on the G-Cash and SmartMoney research I conducted, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxZA02CV1nU
Next up: Jan. 7, next Mobile Payments Panel in San Francisco “Will mobile payments ever replace cash in the last mile? When, where, and how?” For registration info, sign up for this linked in group: Mobile Payments Series – mPay Connect.