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Mobile Money

An economical approach to Mobile Money?

It’s clear to all that the advance of mobile money and NFC services has become an unstoppable force, with the latest estimates putting global NFC m-payment transactions at US$50 billion by 2014. For the Fraud & Security teams in mobile operators this heralds arguably the single biggest change in the risk landscape since the original proliferation of mobile services back in the late 90s and early 00s.

Where there is money, there is fraud. It was therefore inevitable that when mobile phones became a financial instrument, they would immediately become a target for fraud. Mobile phones were already a very popular target for fraudsters and the combining of the 2 is simply irresistible. This has presented Fraud & Security teams with a fresh sets of challenges and opportunities, the first of which is how they are going to monitor the new services.

Many operators are looking to the financial services industry for best practice and whilst this certainly makes sense, I’m not so sure that the purchase of monitoring tools from the financial services environment is as wise. By buying in such systems, mobile operators run the risk of creating a siloed view of their customers, with one system looking at mobile money usage and others looking at calls, SMS etc. Surely the most effective way forward is to have a single view of every customer, assessing risk across all services.

Almost all operators have some form of Fraud Management System (FMS), monitoring their customers’ calls, SMS and data traffic. Mobile money services are relatively simple when compared to those offered by banks and insurers and the same is true of the data that they produce. It is therefore well within the capability of an FMS to take in mobile money and NFC transaction data and present it alongside the calls, SMS and data usage.

To avoid unnecessary expenditure and inefficient use of resource, my advice to mobile operators is to challenge your FMS supplier to provide you with a solution for monitoring your mobile money services. Only if their answer is ‘no can do’ should you be looking elsewhere!!

Morgan Ramsey

Business Consultant– Morgan has 12 years’ experience of fraud management in the telecommunications industry. Starting as a Fraud Analyst in the fixed-line environment, he worked for GTS and Primus before moving to Vodafone where he spent 6 years working in a number of roles covering fraud management, information security, new product risk and investigations. Whilst initially based in the UK, Morgan moved to Vodafone Group and worked across 16 locations globally. After leaving Vodafone, Morgan spent 2 years working as Senior Fraud Manager and an Investigations Consultant at CPW Group in the UK. Morgan joined Subex in March 2011 and works as a Business Consultant, specialising in fraud.

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