Economy, Business And Markets

Jiring Mobile Payment Review

Jiring Mobile Payment ReviewJiring Mobile Payment Review

Iran’s mobile payment system may be in its early stages and not widely used, but the largest Iranian mobile phone provider is now putting its weight behind its latest side project.

Trials of MCI (Hamrah-e Aval) mobile phone payment system began in 2011, with Iran’s largest telecoms provider aiming to follow other emerging markets by offering an alternative to traditional payment services. The company chose the name “Jiring” as in the Persian language it is the onomatopoeia for the noise coins make in your pocket.

MCI’s subsidiary company called Pardakht-Aval-Kish began operations developing the new service over the period and has just now in the past few months began to offer a wider range of features to its growing customer base. The service now boasts a full range of services including the Jiring service in which people can do their day-to-day transactions among other things.

The first service the company offers is the mobile wallet or “Jiring M-Wallet” this service is the initial service offered by the company, where you phone –charged with credit – acts as a mobile payment system.

The idea originally designed for the rural poor as they say. “Although the initial idea was to cover areas where not catered to by any bank branches, Jiring M-wallet soon became popular in large cities thanks to its high security and ease of use.”

The company doesn’t provide information on how many customers are using the M-Wallet but it acts as a service for people who have little access, physically or digitally to banks in surrounding towns.

The next service Jiring offers is “M-banking.” The service is a jointly-organized procedure between Jiring and a major local bank and credit institutions. This service allows mobile subscribers to conduct a part of their financial transactions through their phones based on secure mobile connection. The site says it facilitates quite a few transactions this way with many new subscribers joining the service.

The latest service the company offers in “Jiring-Card” is what they say is a USSD-based banking feature in collaboration with the national card payment system, Shetab.

The virtual debit card offers a unique bank card code to the subscriber, along with a diverse range of options including checking ones bank balance, mobile phone top-up, utilities payments, charity donations and M-Wallet charging feature.

 Rival service

MCI isn’t the only company offering these services. Irancell, MCI’s largest competitor, also has a “fully fledged payment system” called Bajeh (booth). The 24-hour banking and online payment system is meant to be painless.

Irancell subscribers can use top-up vouchers to pay for different services related to mobile system. MTN-Irancell parent company however has a much larger operation in its native Africa.

MTN Uganda offers its customers a service called MTN Mobile Money. The service, run in conjunction with Western Union, allows its users to transfer funds to even pay school fees amongst other mobile wallet payments.

The service throughout Sub-Saharan Africa has been so well received that the company has tied up with dozens of companies to take on the traditional banking system.

Just this week, MTN’s online money transfer service signed an agreement with WorldRemit to enable people to forward money to their mobile numbers in African countries according to Telecoms News.

The agreement allows WorldRemit to take on position as the leading provider of remittances to Mobile Money users at a time when the technology is experiencing rapid uptake, especially in Africa.

MTN Mobile Money is increasingly an important part of MTN’s service offering, and the partnership with WorldRemit further strengthens the operator’s position in cross border remittances.

 Open to Abuse

MTN’s Uganda operations have seen its fast-growing mobile money service come under criticism for failing to act on multiple cons which happened in that market.

Richard Mwami, the company’s revenue analyst, had informed the local CEO of ‘unusual’ activity on their mobile money platform. After a six-month investigation, over a quarter of a million dollars was stolen from “bad accounting.” In this case the client wasn’t the loser but the company, as it had to take the hit for the bad accounting practices.

Security flaws like the ones prior discussed show the system is open to abuse, not to say this is going to happen to Hamra-e-Avals system.

Also changes in mobile technology like NFC mobile payment systems, which are common around the world these days, suggest that although a good start, the system hasn’t been future proofed to take on these systems coming online.

Perception has also been a major issue for take-up of this service, a quick questionnaire around the Financial Tribune office in a business area in Tehran told us that although the service was “known”, people struggled to understand what exactly it does. They also thought they could use their smart phones like they see advertised by foreign companies like Apple, Mastercard and Visa.