- Mobile Banking Roundup: MasterCard Mobile; Banking In Developing Countries; iPhone App

Matt Kapko
Friday, October 31, 2008; 6:00 PM

The financial system may be teetering, but the area of mobile banking is piquing some interest.

In the U.S., mobile banking has only reached about 7.2 percent of working adults, according to recent survey by Compass Intelligence. Adoption is highest among young adults, frequent travelers and males. MasterCard has introduced an over-the-air service that allows cardholders' mobile phones to be used for electronic payment at PayPass-enabled terminals. The points of sale, which allow cardholders to wave a credit card to process payment, can now link with personalized mobile phones to do the same. MasterCard has opened up the platform to credit and banking card issuers, which will have to enable the feature for their cardholders and make it available on their banks' websites. Release.

Some investors and grant-givers are targeting the billions of people in the world who don't use banks. About 1 billion people have a bank account, but 3 billion have a mobile phone. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently gave a $1.7 million grant to PlaNet Finance, which is co-developing a mobile-banking project with Orange to provide poor people with limited access to banking services to pay bills and apply for microloans. Release (PDF).

Finally, there's a new iPhone application that could speed up the lines at retail stores, farmers markets or crowded bars. Inner Fence's Credit Card Terminal, which sells on the App Store for $50, accepts credit-card payments directly from the iPhone or iPod Touch.

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