PayPal Wants Piece of Airtime Mobile Money
By Ina Steiner
Consumers in France can now use PayPal to reload mobile devices and transfer airtime globally, so immigrants and foreign workers, for example, can easily transfer prepaid minutes to family and friends back home using PayPal to fund the transaction. According to PayPal Mobile Reload's partner TransferTo, money transfer operators do not provide a suitable and economically viable solution for transferring such "small amounts of value."
Topping up mobile phones with prepaid minutes is called airtime in the payment industry. In a blog post on Tuesday, PayPal explained that a unique feature of top-up is that some mobile operators offer their prepaid customers mobile-to-mobile minute sharing. "This airtime sharing monetization is a new form of Mobile Money and a widely used practice around the world, representing an estimated $20 billion market."
TransferTo calls itself the leader in international prepaid airtime remittances. In a 2010 article about the company, VentureBeat wrote, "Users aren't really transferring minutes; rather, they are transferring the cash value of those minutes."
PayPal Mobile Reload was developed in partnership with TransferTo, which is owned by payment provider company Ingenico. Users go to PayPal Mobile Reload, select the recipient's country, enter the recipient's mobile phone number, the amount they want to send to their mobile phone, and then pay with PayPal. The mobile phone is reloaded instantly. Once the reload has been completed, the sender will receive an email from PayPal confirming the transaction and the recipient will receive a text message.
According to a document on the TransferTo website, the average amount sent per transaction is $8, with an average of 3 transactions per month per user.
"PayPal Mobile Reload is a first step to connect 200 million people worldwide working and living in a country other than their own with their friends and family and to tap into the $300 billion that is sent cross-border every year," PayPal wrote on its blog.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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