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« Anyone Who Says the iPhone is Killing Blackberry is an Incompetent Fool - its Android that is Killing RIM | Main | Introducing My 12th Book: Tomi Ahonen Pearls Vol 3: Mobile Money »

September 19, 2011



So Tomi, what you are saying is that if I know your mother's maiden name and your place of birth, I can call your bank and steal all your mobile money, using any phone (even an untraceable prepay SIM that I bought from an automatic vending machine located in the train station).
Cool!!! :P

Tomi T Ahonen

Haha good one virgil

Thats what you can do with ANY payment method if you know what their security system asks for and you know the answers. If you steal your colleagues PIN code and grab their bank card while they go to the toilet, you can go empty their bank account too.

I would guess that the various banks would perhaps have a few more security checks haha.. In any case mobile can always be made most secure, and in most cases, more secure than anything else..

But thanks for playing

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Mobile money can replace plastic cards, no doubt about that. Banks and visa/mastercard will surely resist that no matter what, becausr the piece of plastic in you wallet carries brand logos in front of you eyes all the time, something that mobile does not do. But it can happen.

But cash will never disappear. i used to be a credit card man, never carried cadh with me, always paid with a card. But a friend of mine opened my eyes. If you do a short leirure trip, a pile of cash is your travel budget. Easy to understand and hard to overspend. If I want to pay something "off the record" cash is the only way. It leaves no money trail. If I want to bargain, credit card makes it difficult. Put a couple of euro notes on the table and a deal s yours. And the action at cash register is soooooo slow with those machines. On busy periods, for example during breaks of a football or a hockey game, shopkeepers lose sales because of slow automated payments. Cash is quick.

If cadh does disappear, unfortunately it hurts the consumer. Credit card companies are greedy already today and cut a fat slice out from shopkeepers' profit margins if someone uses a credit card as a payment method. Mobile money will make it even worse.

Tomi T Ahonen

Jukka, never say never. Did you read the blog? The Swedish Parliament has already started the deliberations of not 'if' they should end cash, but 'when'. The UK is following suit, and in the Netherlands the retailers are begging to have it too. Many African countries also already considering. Cash will go before you have retired, Jukka, in some early countries they will stop making coins before I retire and stop making banknotes before I die haha..

It will happen. Why would Visa dare to say future of payments is mobile? I am not inventing nonsense here. Just be prepared Jukka, the more you are prepared for this future, the more you can take advantage of it as it happens.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@tomi, paper money had been used 1000 years ago for 200 years in China till it was aborted due to hyper inflation. I am thinking mobile gold would truely be the next big thing.


Tomi had already published a very interesting post on "the end of cash" last year. I had already pointed out a few issues:

a) Cash had already started to disappear (to the point of being forbidden) for a major kind of economic activities: paying taxes. The evolution is accelerating, but is nothing new.

b) As long as there is no simple, direct way to transfer money between individuals (without a hassle of account debits/credits, authorization codes, and so on), cash will live on. Think about buskers, restaurants waitresses, or simply donations among relatives.

c) The State loves everything that has a central point of control. If it wants to turn your life into hell, just disable the SIM. No money whatsoever afterwards. If you think this is an exaggerated concern, then read about the abuses in asset forfeiture in the name of fighting terrorism/drug trafficking/whatever. Cashless mobile money is a dream come true for authoritarian States (and for democratic regimes that are alas becoming increasingly arbitrary).

d) The State does not have to insure cash. Turn all cash into electronic bank accounts (which, whether it is a credit card company, a bank, or an operator mobile money ultimately is) and the State has that many more financial assets to insure. The current crisis will make it loath to add to its risk burden, and if it does not insure those accounts, people might keep a preference for cash (after all, they do not lose it if the correspondent financial institute goes bust).


Tomi, your post is so true!

It is quite sad that this small northern country of ours decided to skip the opportunity to be the leading forerunner on mobile payments. I personally worked with (and for) mobile pay, or mPay as we called it, since the beginning of last decade. We shared the information and our experiences in order to gain more active users as much as we could. We even encouraged our competitors to move for it, despite the fact that they stated earlier that they don't believe in cell phone as the "wallet".

The biggest obstacle was, by far, the telecom operators. Their policies from ancient times gave them a legitimate change to charge ridiculous amounts of money, and they refused to see the power of potential volume. Another, but smaller part preventing the wider use were played by the banks & credit card companies.

Eventually, in 2009 one telecom operator decided to step up and we were able to launch more diverse and cheap mPay-application with a signifanct help from another Häme-located company. By that time I moved on, but felt relatively satisfied when I saw & heard the new, my manuscripted system taken over.

And this year, just two weeks ago, I heard that Finnish Visa-representative is about to roll out their mobile platform.

Slowly but surely we're getting there!


It won't. This would mean that you would have to have a mobile phone in order to have access to money.

Many african countries considering doing away with physical money!!! Yeah right, the markets of Africa spring to my mind, the goat herders walking with NFC mobile phones also spring to my mind. The poor african family paying the doctor by connecting their NFC mobile phones also spring to my mind. Families connecting their NFC enabled phones while paying for church services every sunday!

There is more to life than Google Wallet commercials!


Dear Mr. Ahonen.

I would like to ask for permission to translate this blog post to Spanish and reproduce it in my blog:

Of course, we would credit you appropiately and link to this post.

Thanks in Advance,

Administrator of Sólo Es Política


Governments choosing to make less work for themselves is not quite the same as a product winning customers in a free market.

I like the idea of mobile payment for p2p transfers and micro-payments, but I also like having a couple of credit cards at home in a drawer, in case I lose my wallet. Not to mention that plastic doesn't need batteries, can get dropped in a puddle and still work.... You've probably heard all the reasons people like plastic.

Sure, CC companies will love to offer more sophisticated authentication tools, carriers would love to pump more revenue through customer accounts, and merchants will love to simplify their checkouts. But I still like robustness and redundancy, and I guess I'll have to pick somewhere other than Sweden to visit as a tourist.

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Tomi: The Finnair example is definitely a mobile success story, but I do not see the connection to mobile money/payment. The key to the system is quick communications with customers. It does not require nor even need a mobile payment system in order to work. Sure, it would be easier if you could accept the offer and pay all at once, but not so much that Finnair would not happily accept other forms of payment.

Also, I do not think mobile money will completely kill cash, just as cheques, credit cards, debit cards, etc have failed to do so. Yes, they have all made us less reliant on cash, but we all still use it. Using the Finnair example, its not like many people pay for their flights with cash right now. Mobile money will more likely have the biggest impact on all non-cash transactions.

Finally, there is a big difference between domination and complete replacement. Mobile dominates portable music and cameras, but people still buy iPods and Nikons.


There is definitely going to be an industry shake out in the future. Living in the US, I'm currently going with PayPal, only because I have an account with them. When third party carriers like TracFone (my carrier) start offering NFC smartphones, then I'll know the end of paper currency is near. At that point, coinage will revert to gold stampings being issued by banks and companies like Franklin Mint. The criminals will easily accept gold and silver coinage. Perhaps the better way to say it is that government issued paper currency will disappear in the future. But I am looking forward to mobile money!

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Available for Consulting and Speakerships

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009

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