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Upaid launches Serbian national payment service

Mobile payments specialist Upaid has launched its Mobile Payment Service (MPS) marketing campaign across Serbia. Including all three mobile operators and ten banks in Serbia, this national launch expands the service started in October 2006 with Visa International and Serbian mobile operator Mobile Telekom Serbia (MT:S).

Serbia becomes the third in a series of markets to sign up to this mobile payment service, with operators in Jordan and Morocco already using Upaid’s platform. Customers of all three Serbian mobile operators (MT:S, Telenor and VIP Mobile) who register their Visa cards with the service will be able to recharge (top-up) their mobile phones instantly with a simple SMS message. They can also use an SMS message to recharge the prepaid phones of friends and family against the same card.

Upaid anticipates increasing its portfolio of services registered with the operators in the future. To date, MT:S has been using this service for the past year, VIP Mobile launches the service simultaneously with the Upaid announcement, while Telenor is finalising its pilot stage, ready for live transactions this month.

All customers of the MPS consortium of banks in Serbia who have Visa payment cards and a mobile phone service can sign up to the enhanced service at no cost, setting a new standard for recharge services in Serbia. The MPS consortium currently constitutes ten banks as well as the three mobile operators and, like the operators, they represent a mix of local and international banks. In fact, they represent over 75% of card holders and more banks have applied to join. Banks will be including MPS in their own marketing campaigns from November, using MPS marketing materials, through to the end of this year. Together, these banks and operators are cooperating to bring a full mobile payments system to the country’s 6.6 million phone users.

Upaid has provided consortium members with a marketing toolkit to ensure a coherent national marketing campaign, and is leading this effort with a print and billboard campaign starting to the end of 2007. Upaid has also created and launched an informational website in English and Serbian for customers to learn how to practically use the MPS service. The website contains instructional demos on how to top-up mobile phones with each mobile operator, and how to contact banks to sign up for the service.

Jean-Marc-Tonti, Vice President, South East Europe, Visa CEMEA, comments: “Compared to other recharge options such as electronic recharge in shops, or scratch cards, this mobile service gives consumers the freedom to top-up instantly and independently at shops and merchants. We are delighted to see more banks and operators signing up to this service. Upaid has been instrumental in our expansion in the Serbian market and we hope to repeat and even exceed the success we had in Jordan and Morocco here in Serbia.“

Terence Trench, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at Upaid stated: “Since launching this service a year ago, we have seen great progress in the Serbian market, and have expanded to include ten banks and growing. With the addition of mobile operators such as Telenor and Vip mobile to our service already offered...we are confident that we will reach the majority of Serbian mobile users and Visa card holders. This market is perfect for Upaid to roll out additional services in the future, such as utility payments.”

There are currently 2.2 million Visa card holders in Serbia, a large proportion of whom will have access to the new Upaid service. Serbia has 6.6 million mobile phone users - out of a population of 7.6 million. * Upaid's services range from payment services for a Parisian retail group to a fully managed Serbian national m-commerce service to a wide-scale mobile recharge implementation throughout Brazil. Upaid has offices in the US, UK, France and Brazil.

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