As the rest of the world knows, much of Scandinavia tends to shut down in July and August to take well-earned holidays during the best period of weather they have all year round.
Not so for the Norwegian company Contopronto, which has stepped up efforts to launch a payment system which works independently of telcos, credit card issuers and banks, and requires no involvement from them.
“This technology will help revolutionize the payment industry,” claims CEO Morten Hofstad. “The system is quick, easy, reliable and totally intuitive for the user. We are the first movers in the field of offering secure, instant, distant payments.”
Based on SMS (and soon to be Bluetooth and IR compliant) the system is by far and away the fastest MPW has seen demonstrated, with P2P payments going instantaneously from one phone to another. While Hofstad admits that there are many other mobile SMS based solutions “out there, they are specific to one or two parts of what Contopronto has launched, and none represent a completed circle of payment products.”
With Contopronto transfers being made in real time, the payer and recipient see the balance change immediately without the need to disclose bank card numbers over the phone or on-line, since payments are made from a mobile wallet.
“Contopronto lets you send money to anyone in the world who has a mobile phone. The cash is automatically converted into your local currency and instantly available,” Hofstad says. “It is used in stores, petrol stations, bars, buses, taxis, on-line shops and now also for payment of movies and betting.”
Apart from the P2P, Contopronto also offers payment solutions to a significant number of other channels, including TV and PCs.
Other payment possibilities via Contopronto include:
Pay per view: Choose your favorite movie on your mobile, and payment is instantly sent to the media distributor.
Restaurant: You get the bill as usual, and pay it with your mobile phone. The receipt is printed from the cash register.
Pre-pay Top Up: You buy virtual pre-pay time from your mobile, and codes are sent instantly.
Airline: Payment and booking codes distributed via mobile phone (system in development).
Taxi, buses, on-line shops etc: All have been integrated using standard technology.
Bank: Send funds to a bank account with a simple SMS. Retrieve cash from ATM connected to bank account.
Betting services: Contopronto technology facilitates real time, instant betting and payment.
Pay TV: Instant opening of decoders will be implemented in the near future.
TV shows: Contopronto used for voting/paying.
The whole system is backed up by a web site to which users can go to check balances and transfers. So far the system has been trialled by “thousands” of users and this is a figure which is growing all the time.
Recently, Contopronto’s majority shareholder is now Global Payment Systems in Amsterdam, which has “thrown a massive marketing budget behind it. Contopronto will start pilots (in Europe) shortly and a roll out will take place ultimo 2003,” concludes Hofstad.
Morten Hofstad, CEO
Tel:00 47 23 33 25 80