Boku launches white label mobile wallet service - Mobile World Live

Boku launches white label mobile wallet service

23 FEB 2012

US company Boku is offering a white-label wallet service to mobile operators. The company has not announced any operators as customers although it says the service should be running in the UK after Easter (early April) when “a major mobile carrier will be involved in the scheme”.  End users of the service, which is called Boku Accounts, will receive an online app, mobile app (iPhone or Android), MasterCard debit card and NFC sticker for their existing mobile handset. Boku’s service is designed for users to make payments when they go shopping. The user tops up their Boku account which is linked to the MasterCard debit card so allowing them to make payments via their digital wallet and mobile phone with NFC sticker attached. In the absence of NFC in a retail outlet, the user pays with the MasterCard debit card instead.

The company says mobile operators will be attracted to its scheme for several reasons including ease of upgrade and the chance of tapping into a new revenue source. In addition for smaller operators Boku’s service is a way to obtain a mobile wallet service without having to invest in one themselves. While many leading mobile operators are committed to introducing their own NFC-based services, some smaller operators might consider a white-label solution. Not least because Boku’s choice of NFC stickers removes the need for an operator to invest upfront in their own NFC-enabled handsets. Backing for NFC stickers is unusual in developed markets.  Stickers are typically seen as a strategy for emerging markets.

Boku has told GigaOm that it will initially focus on Europe for operators ahead of the US market where leading operators are already locked into their own NFC ventures.

The announcement of the white-label service is a change of strategy for Boku which has previously focused on carrier billing services.

The company says end-users will be attracted to the service because they can receive personalised discount offers from retailers as well as make P2P payments with other Boku account holders.  The service also helps user to track their spending and set budgets.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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