Cellum Offers New Payments Option for Those Without Banks

April 10, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

It’s easy to forget that a lot of people don’t turn to a bank for services in the United States. Considering the growing number of mobile payment options out there—and indeed, the growing number of mobile-only banks—this is actually not as hard to do as it once was. Cellum, meanwhile, has a prospect in mind for those without banks: Connected Card.

Interestingly, many mobile payment systems are actually connected to banking systems; they use credit or debit cards for a base. This leaves those without credit or debit cards at something of a disadvantage, and that’s not just an issue in the United States, but also in developing markets like the African and Asian markets.

Many have turned to prepaid cards for common banking issues, a measure which shows in the overall size of the prepaid card market: around $45 billion annually. That represents opportunity for measures like Cellum’s Connected Card, built around a clever concept.

A smartphone application is all that’s needed to get started, as it provides the user with what amounts to a virtual prepaid card. Simple activation processes follow, and the card is ready to go.

It offers not only online payment options thanks to a MasterPass connection, but it also works in physical stores using near-field communications (NFC) systems. It can even handle peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, something many mobile payment systems don’t.

Given the size of the prepaid card market, it was kind of a matter of time until someone set something like this up, though in all honesty, I’m shocked it took this long. Still, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes as long as it arrives. It seems like it might be easy to use, allowing users to readily convert cash to a more digital form.

That could actually make things a bit safer for the unbanked; carrying quantities of cash can be dangerous, and reducing it down to a mobile-friendly format could be much less so.

It will be interesting to see what the users think after this has been around a while, but Cellum may well have a winner in the mobile payments field.