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Boku launches new mobile payments network to make it easier for retailers to accept smartphone payments

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Boku has launched what it says is the world’s largest mobile payments network in order to make it easier for retailers and other merchants to accept payments via mobile. The M1ST Payments Network offers more than 330 mobile payment methods, including mobile wallets, direct carrier billing and real-time payment schemes. 

The launch of the network, which Boku says enables merchants to reach 5.7bn mobile payment accounts in 90 countries through a single integration, comes at a time when more people are shopping online, and moving straight to mobile as they do so. Boku cites Brookings Institute figures suggesting that more than 1.7bn consumers have joined the middle class in the past decade, of whom more than 90% are in emerging markets. It points to World Bank figures suggesting that 45% of global shoppers use mobile wallets, contrasting with 18% who use credit cards to pay and says that by 2025, almost 60% of global consumers are expected to use mobile wallets. 

Currently, however, mobile payment acceptance has been complex and fragmented, says Boku. It says its M1ST network solves the problem by offering digital native and standardised payments that can be settled in a single global payments. M1ST is also capable, it says, of accepting regulated payments in nearly 50 countries. 

Jon Prideaux, chief executive of London-based Boku, says: “We’ve seen a fundamental shift of consumer purchasing power from west to east, from established to emerging markets, and from credit cards to mobile payments. Today, we’re launching the M1ST Network to enable global merchants to acquire, monetise, and retain mobile-first consumers. 

“For merchants to capitalise on the massive potential of mobile-first consumers, they need to accept the payment methods they have and prefer, which are increasingly behind glass screens, not rectangular pieces of plastic. We’ve spent the past decade delivering new customers to our merchants through mobile payments. Now that mobile payments have overtaken credit cards globally, merchant acceptance has moved from a competitive advantage to a strategic imperative.”

London-based Boku’s mobile payments platform is used in 90 countries and handled more than a billion transactions in 2020. It is used by companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, MIcrosoft, Netflix, PayPal, Tencent and Sony. 

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