Nokia gets rid of Money

The handset maker is looking to gradually halt its Nokia Money financial services, a two-year-old mobile-to-mobile payments effort that was set for a worldwide rollout but only really got established in India
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Nokia has revealed plans to gradually wind down Nokia Money, its phone-to-phone payment service that aimed to reach around the globe but took root only in India.

The mobile financial service launched in August 2009 with the promise of enabling people to use their handset to pay bills, buy goods and services, and transfer cash to another person. Nokia hoped to attract both rural and urban customers in countries worldwide, with a staggered rollout beginning in early 2010.

Barclays Pingit app

Nokia is to halt its Nokia Money financial services. Other companies have branched out into mobile-payments systems, such as Barclays with its Pingit app (above) Image credit: Barclays

On Monday, the Finnish handset specialist said it is looking at options for a structured exit from its mobile financial services business, including Nokia Money.

"We set up the Mobile Financial Services business at a time when our strategic vision included becoming an internet services provider across multiple platforms and device vendors," Nokia's head of communications Mark Durrant told ZDNet UK. "We're now focusing on our services being differentiators for our devices and that would not work for Nokia Money as currently set up."

We recognise the importance of mobile payments; however we have concluded that an independent Mobile Financial Services business would not be core to Nokia given our evolving strategy.
– Mark Durrant

Last year, Nokia began a shift in strategy from relying on self-developed mobile OSes to Windows Phone. It is now focusing its efforts on Microsoft's platform, which means it is no longer looking to provide a service that cuts across a range of devices.

"Of course, we recognise the importance of mobile payments; however we have concluded that an independent Mobile Financial Services business would not be core to Nokia given our evolving strategy and the business environment," Durrant said.

Nokia's move comes despite a growing appetite for mobile payments services among providers, shown by the buzz around near-field communication (NFC) technologies at Mobile World Congress 2012 in February. For example, Barclays bank recently introduced its Pingit service, which allows mobile-to-mobile payments of up to £300 in one transaction.

While the company initially aimed for a worldwide release, Nokia Money services is available to users only in India. The company stressed that there will not be a sudden end to provision there.

"Our services will continue to operate whilst we work with our banking, market and technology partners as well as our employees, agents and others to plan future options in accordance with all customer and regulatory requirements," it said in a statement.

Nokia is concentrating its efforts on lower-end smartphones, with releases such as the Lumia 610 and its recently expanded Asha range of feature phones.

Durrant suggested the company will stick with non-financial services such as Nokia Life, which used to be called Life Tools. 

"These give great differentiation for our devices, including the Asha range, and do not require us to build a device-independent ecosystem across all banks and device vendors," he noted.

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