Earlier today at the annual Nokia World conference in Stuttgart, Germany, the mobile provider introduced Nokia Money, a new service that will allow customers to do basic financial transactions through their mobile devices.
Given that there are more mobile phone users than banking customers worldwide (about 4 billion mobile phone users versus 1.6 billion bank accounts), Nokia believes the service will be of particular benefit to people with little or no access to traditional banking services. According to Nokia, transactions will be as simple as sending a text message or making a call.
With just a mobile phone number, customers will be able to make payments from person to person, make purchases, pay for utilities and top up their SIM cards. Users can send any amount of money up to $1000, for a payment of 25 cents, and receiving payments will be free. The service will be active 24 hours a day, and consumers will also be able to deposit money or withdraw cash in person through Nokia's network of Nokia Money agents, which the company is building now.
The service was created in partnership with Obopay, a mobile payment company that Nokia had invested in earlier this year. Nokia Money will be rolled out in selected markets beginning in early 2010. Watch Obopay CEO Carol Realini give her Cash Goes Mobile presentation at Nokia World.