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NEEDHAM, Mass. – Those credit unions that have jumped to the leading edge and started offering wireless banking services will be pleased with the results of just-released TowerGroup research. The research shows that by 2005 the number of U.S. mobile payments users is expected to rise to 3.5 million and will play a much larger role in a consumer’s relationship with their financial institution. TowerGroup defines mobile payments (m-commerce) as those conducted via an end-user’s mobile telecommunications network. The payment may be charged to a consumer’s debit/credit card; debited from a consumer’s financial institution account; charged directly to a user’s telephone bill or deducted from a pre-stored value on a user’s mobile device. So far m-commerce has been hindered by security, connectivity and device limitations in the U.S., which lags Europe and Asia in m-commerce. Over the next 18 months TowerGroup expects that these obstacles will begin to wane and thus create an opportunity for financial services institutions to leverage their relationship with consumers and facilitate m-commerce. There were only 38,000 U.S. users of mobile payment services last year. TowerGroup believes that by 2005 the number of U.S. mobile payments users to rise to 3.5 million.

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