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BELGACOM, BNP PARIBAS FORTIS INTRODUCE BELGIAN MOBILE WALLET


(The following press release from Belgacom SA was received by e-mail. The sender verified the statement.)

Belgacom and BNP Paribas Fortis jointly launch the Belgian Mobile Wallet to bring in-app commerce to merchants and consumers

The arrival of "in-app commerce": a complete shopping experience seamlessly integrated in the various apps on your smartphone. That's what BNP Paribas Fortis, Belgacom and Accenture say the future holds for Belgian merchants and consumers. This first "in-app commerce" solution will be based on a true Belgian mobile wallet that integrates mobile payments, virtual ticketing, e-couponing and loyalty programmes with great convenience and high security. The pilot is planned end 2013 with full rollout as from spring 2014.

Bart Van Den Meersche, EVP Belgacom Enterprise Business Unit: "Belgacom has always endeavoured to be a pioneer in innovation and in finding ways to make people's lives easier. So, naturally, we are thrilled to be at the heart of THE Belgian mobile wallet. An initiative which will, even more than before, turn the smartphone into a true companion for our customers."

The time seems right for this kind of fundamental innovation. The smartphone penetration in Belgium is booming, with already 4 out of 10 belgians already having one. This impressive growth is largely driven by the success of mobile apps and this is yet the beginning, as the total number of app downloads is expected to further increase by 5 times in the coming 3 years.

But what does this mean for merchants, how can they drive sales through apps? Until today the possibilities are rather limited due to lack of open solutions for "in-app" payment, security and consumer convenience.

Therefore, BNP Paribas Fortis and Belgacom decided to launch a Belgian Mobile Wallet that fully integrates all missing components needed for a full shopping experience within the merchant app.

From a consumer point-of-view, this is how it will work. Suppose you plan a movie night out. You use the app of your public transport provider to check timetables and buy a ticket. Payment and storage of the ticket will be handled "in-app". On the way, you launch the app of the local movie theatre, select the film you want to see and directly buy the ticket. Here too, payment and ticket happen smoothly "in app". Having arrived at your destination, you have just enough time for a burger. From the app of your favourite fast food chain, you make your order while walking over to the restaurant. You accept their special offer that is stored in the app, and the coupon is automatically applied when you make the payment. In the process, your membership rewards are also directly credited to your loyalty account. With your order confirmation on screen, you skip the line and pick up your order. And you can do all of that simply from your own smartphone.

For merchants and other service providers, this opens up a whole new world of sales opportunities while reducing costs and increasing security.

From a consumer point of view this innovation will enable to put the wallet in your smartphone, gain time by avoiding queues and get access to better shopping deals. This is exactly in line with what the consumer demands for extra convenience and services on his smartphone

Peter Vandekerckhove, Managing Director at BNP Paribas Fortis : "Just 3 weeks ago we announced the launch of the MasterPass as a future solution for e-commerce. Today we take one big step further and expand the use of MasterPass to "in-app commerce". This makes mobile payments available in the exact spot where we think consumers will make their purchases in the near future: in the app. Both the mobile app and MasterPass are completely free for consumers. By bundling the payment module with a range of value added services such as ticketing, e-couponing and loyalty programmes, we are convinced of the benefits our solution will bring to both merchants and consumers."

This innovation is unique in the market as it is the first time that the whole shopping experience gets integrated and can be organized within any merchant app. This creates the possibility for merchants to offer their customers a simple and secure full in-app sales. For the consumers, they can easily enrol and make free use of their unique mobile identity and wallet across all participating merchant apps.

In addition, the Belgian Mobile Wallet is based on an open eco-system and is accessible to any Belgian smartphone user with a bank/credit card from any Belgian bank and a mobile data plan from any Belgian Mobile operator.

The platform, intended to be provided by Accenture, will offer 5 components to merchants and app developers, who can integrate them into any mobile app. Core components deal with mobile identity, security and the link to payment sources, starting with BNP Paribas Fortis' recently announced MasterPass. Other modules take care of delivery and storage of tickets (transport tickets, concerts, theatre, sports, ...), of distribution, storage and redemption of coupons, and of the link with loyalty programmes.

Fernand Dimidschstein, Managing Director at Accenture for Management Consulting France & Benelux: "We firmly believe in the potential of this project, on the one hand because of its openness to all customers regardless of their bank or mobile operator and, on the other hand, because of its integrated approach, providing payment and other services directly inside the apps for a seamless user experience. In addition, Accenture has the proven experience and software platforms needed for this structural innovation and make Belgium a great example for the rest of the world."

The preparation phase for the platform is largely done and the actual development will start soon. Pilots are planned end of 2013 with a selection of key actors in the transport, retail, entertainment and app development industries. Full rollout is planned as from spring 2014. *** Demo: http://youtu.be/j0WotDkRCuk

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***** Disclaimer ***** http://www.belgacom.be/maildisclaimer

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