UK wireless telco O2 moves into personal finance unit



image Mobil? phone giant O2 has set up a personal finance unit and launched two pre-paid cards as it looks to tap into the growing mobile banking market. Besides, the Telefónica subsidiary and high street bank NatWest have partnered for the free Visa cards; Cash Manager, for adults and Load & Go, targeted at teenagers.

According to O2, the cards will help people better manage their money and ring-fence disposable income, never spending more than has been loaded onto the card. In addition, they will be available next month and can be topped up online and in stores, with customers receiving real-time balance updates sent to their mobile phone. They can be used in store, online and at ATMs.

According to recent research from Berg Insight, Global mobile banking take up is set to rise over the next five years, with the number of people using the technology growing from 20 million in 2008 to 913 million in 2014.

Furthermore, contactless mobile payments offer an opportunity for telcos. O2 has already worked with Transport for London and Nokia to trial a scheme enabling customers to pay for tube journeys using mobile handsets.

ECJ




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