RA Question – The RA Banker

With banking being the hot topic at the moment, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the next generation of Telecoms services – the mobile credit card(mobile wallet). For years the Telco industry watched the banking sector with envy, they’ve seen them making up to 7% on every credit card tansaction and how – by having a fixed line telecoms network into all retail outlets and (supposedly) oodles of cash to lend to the consumers. 

The mobile industry spotted the synergies between the banks and themselves and decided that they could offer the same services(all be it by sitting on the back of the existing architecture),  the operators have acquired banking licenses and now a few years on, the service would appear to be ready for launch – the idea being that you’ll swipe your phone instead of your credit card

So the question/discussion I wanted to have is: What does this all mean for Revenue Assurance?

There are a few topics that need to be considered:

Regulatory – currently operators only have to deal with Ofcom, however by offering credit card services things like the consumer credit act come into play as well as bodies like the FSA

Technically – To offer credit card services, the operators are going to have to add new systems – a seperate billing system  for credit card transactions(I would hope), seperate accounting, third party revenue share systems, maybe seperate CRM.

Fraud – Obviously the scope for fraud grows 10-fold by introducing consumer credit. Credit card companies charge high interest to cover the cost of fraud, so what are the implcations for the operators?

Revenue Assurance – where do we start? There will be the need for transactional monitoring systems ie all events pass from A to B successfully, rating assurance –  interest charges are applied correctly, billing verification, third party revenue share assurance etc etc. 

 For anyone thinking this doesn’t sound too complex consider the following scenario : I pay for my mobile phone bill via direct debit to my mobile credit card, upon receipt of my phone bill I notice that I have been charged 2 line rentals. I contact the operator and tell them of the mistake and they promise to reverse the mistake on the next bill. I do not pay off my credit card this month and as a result pay interest against the balance – including the extra line rental. Who owes me the interest?

The Mobile Credit Card is probably going to be the single biggest change to Revenue Assurance that we will ever see. Whether the operators push forward with it in the current economic climate is still to be seen, however if they do – what do we need to do to be ready?

Dave Stuart
Dave Stuart
David is an experienced manager, having worked for a variety of international telcos. He has hands-on knowledge of fraud management, revenue assurance, risk management and software development. David is currently the Group Director of Revenue Assurance & Fraud Management at Vimpelcom.