Today sees the global launch of a groundbreaking system that will revolutionise the way consumers pay for goods and services.
BOKU is a mobile payments company (www.boku.com). Forbes magazine recently named it as one of America’s top 20 most promising companies (http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mee45eedm/boku/).
Today sees the unveiling of BOKU Accounts – a payments system that effectively allows shoppers to use their mobile phones as digital wallets. Central to the launch is a technology called Near Field Communications – a development that is radically transforming every part of the retail sector.
Under the scheme, users of the service will receive a BOKU Account from their mobile carrier which will include:
– an online app
– a mobile app (iPhone and Android to begin with)
– a Mastercard debit card that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted
– an NFC sticker that attaches to the back of their phone that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. This sticker will work on all existing mobile phones.
After topping up their BOKU Account, it’s then linked to the customer’s individual Mastercard debit card, allowing them to use their mobile phone to pay for goods at NFC-enabled cash tills. Where a merchant doesn’t offer an NFC payments option, the system allows you to use the Mastercard debit card in the traditional way.
For consumers, additional advantages the BOKU Account include:
– the ability to save money by receiving personalised discounted offers from retailers
– the ability to transfer money to other BOKU Account holders (ie. peer to peer payments)
– assistance with budgeting by tracking spending, setting budgets and receiving real time alerts about spending patterns
There are also considerable benefits for merchants using the scheme including:
– the ability to connect with mobile subscribers around the world, without any change to their current checkout systems
– the ability to create easy to manage loyalty programs
– the provision of sophisticated analytics, allowing the to manage and modify these programs to maximise consumer redemption and repeat business.
For carriers BOKU provides:
– a turnkey white label solution that can plug into any existing system
– a new source of revenue. The platform is free for carrier and advertising revenue is shared
– a differentiated customer experience – spend control, offers & discounts and wide acceptance combined into a cohesive mobile payment experience
Up until now, attempts to launch an effective NFC payments system have effectively been hampered by the need to have (ie. buy) a mobile that supports NFC technology.mn The BOKU Accounts system gets around this problem by supplying users with the NFC sticker.
“BOKU Accounts brings together the best parts of mobile payments and technology, leveraging NFC, smartphones and global payment networks for a better consumer experience,” said Mark Britto, BOKU CEO.
“We are leveraging the power of the device in your pocket to improve every transaction you make, anywhere in the world, and helping our mobile phone networking partners expand into the off-line world, while bringing tremendous value to their subscribers and merchants alike.”
It’s also worth noting that a demonstration of the system will be taking place next week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday (27th Feb) and Tuesday (28th Feb) where BOKU co-founder and president Ron Hirson will be available for interview.