Smartscape is the name of this website which is promoting a new US mobile payment service named Universal Payment System or UPS. Click to watch video (1 min)
UPS is unique as it was a tried product. I say this in frankness. It had failed in the past for many reasons (notwithstanding bad timing - dot com bust and luckless) for which I had to take the main responsibility. I am resurrecting this 10 years later, as the timing is right again (euphoria is in the air again). My current strategy is to solicit intermediaries to do this (once they are accredited) instead of setting/running a payment service on my own.. The focus is to provide the API tools (for others to build applications) and licensing the technology to those who are able to aggregate users (say social sites). So instead of being a competitor, I will stick to developing a platform, by offering licensing and integration services. This time, I am evangelizing UPS to others, including those who want to run their payment service. Obviously, if I am wrong then I'm back to square one, poorer but smarter again (and wait for the next 10 years).
I am also inspired by another fellow Malaysian who in his middle age mortgaged his home to venture into the airline business. 10 years later, his company is now well known all over Asia as AirAsia. My view is the same and that is everyone should be able to pay another as easily and at the lowest possible costs (preferably free) with the entire business model subsidized by something (most likely to be financial rather than merely advertising). Personally, I have a preference for financial - such as charging credit fees (like banks) over advertising. By spearheading this, the traditional players here (read banks) will have to lower their fees (currently costing $4 or more than US 1 for inter-bank transfer & 2 says) or compete at costs.
While the payment system is the root (platform) here, the fact that users need to make payments is a reflection of us as social creatures (and therefore should be made an added feature in your web services). While banks are touting the same (See ClearXchange.com) for small transaction, I would not recommend this as paying into/out of your bank account has inherent risk (read the terms/conditions - banks are often quick to offer products but steadfast refusing to accept liability) and crackers gaining access is not uncommon given the target prize of your entire savings account. My systems uses a one-time pwd which I am trying to ask Telcos to embed into their SIM (if not then I will develop my own SIM which can be used in 2 SIMs phones).
You can use the prepaid portion of your mobile account for payment to another on any mobile network. You simply provide the payee's mobile number and charge it your mobile, you will be presented with a screen that includes clear information, about the payee or the merchant you are buying from and how much it will cost you.
Once you authorise payment by pressing ‘Pay Now’ or ‘Subscribe’, a payment request goes directly to your mobile operator for validation, deducting the amount and sending a message to the payee/receiver to acknowledge the same.
Similarly, you can use your mobile number to shop online like a credit/debit/prepaid card only better, as you need to confirm the payment (read more secure) with a password of your choice (if required).
As an user transfering funds to another the transaction is irrevisible and occurs in real time. When it comes to online merchant offering physical goods, no transfer is made (save to an escrow) until the physical goods has arrived and confirmed by the buyer. In this way both merchant and buyer's interests are protected. This feature is not offered for digital goods though
You’ll see a confirmation screen, telling you that your payment transaction is complete or in the case of a merchant, you will be able to receive the content/service you’ve just purchased.
UPS has been designed to be very simple to use. If you make a call, you can send funds (air-time currency) directly from your mobile in a matter of seconds to another. As an incentive, for non-digital goods, users will be allowed to pay by installments and as mentioned funds will only be released upon confirmation by the user. As an example, say you wish to buy a cup of coffee, all you need is to send a code (usually some display at the shop - buycoffeeblack either by app or sms) and it will return an unique code which you need to re-entry at checkout (obviously with your coffee in hand). As for web-based merchant, the invoice will include an unique code which you have to enter to complete payment. Obviously if you failed to provide this unique code then after 7 days your account will be debited with contracted amount & additional charges. If you are not satisfy then you will need to return the goods and inform the merchant for pickup.
No. What’s more, you don’t even need to type in your mobile number when you are browsing and shopping on the mobile internet – UPS automatically detects your number from your mobile network as soon you reach the payment page.
You don’t need to download anything to use UPS, although you will need to be able to browse mobile internet sites from your handset.
There’s no need for a bank account or credit/debit/prepaid card. Any purchases you make will be charged directly to your monthly phone bill, or deducted from your prepaid credit.
There are no additional charges for using UPS for digital goods but there is a transfer fee (to be decided) when sending funds to another. If you elected to paid by installment then there will be an attached credit charge built into the price (for example - pay up front is $100 but by installment over 10 months - $110 - 1 dollar for every month)
*Please note, for downloads, as well as the price of the service you have ordered, you will also be charged browsing costs in accordance with your Operator data tariff.
No, there’s no need to sign up to be able to use the service for merchant purchase. Whenever you see the smartscape symbol on a mobile portal, you simply follow the on screen instructions to pay for your digital content.
No but this is provided we could arrange access to all the Licensed Mobile Network Operators in the world then the payment process is the same across all networks. At this time, still work in progress.
UPS has initially been designed to support low value transactions (‘micropayments’), typically less than USD 100 per day.
UPS is available as a payment option on regular websites too (using with pwd) but most importantly the funds are crediting directly to the account of the payee in real time (save for non-digital goods where users have the option to pay by installment and to ensure fairness (to merchants) funds will only be released upon arrival of goods). Watch this space for details on new services being added.
Customer helpline details for the site you’ve bought from are available when you go through the purchase process. UPS controls the payment processing aspect of your purchase only, so you should contact the selling merchant if you have any questions on the content/service you have purchased.
Updates on the UPS service will appear on this website, including details of new featured mobile sites where UPS can be used.
You will see a screen that tells you your transaction failed and perhaps a failure reason. It should also indicate that you have not been charged. It is possible that you are either a post pay customer who has reached their credit limit, you are a pay as you go customer who needs to top up or your network operator may be experiencing a temporary billing outage. In the latter case, you should try to make the purchase again. If the problem continues contact your network operator.
Still work in progress. I am still working with Mobile opertors in the US to get their consent, raising funds and soliciting intermediaries. In short, whether UPS will be available depends on luck, my determination and your support. BTW if you like to contribute either in kind or cash do contact us.