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The

Evolution of mPOS: The Payments


Industry in Flux



Prepared for:









2015 Mahindra Comviva. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this white paper by any means is strictly prohibited.

The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................................................................................................................................... 3
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................... 4
METHODOLOGY ......................................................................................................................................... 4
THE RISE OF MPOS SERVICES .......................................................................................................................... 5
THE APPEAL OF MPOS ............................................................................................................................... 7
MPOS IS A CATALYST FOR MOBILE PAYMENTS GROWTH ......................................................................... 7
CREATING NEW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES ........................................................................ 9
CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTATION ....................................................................................................... 10
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .............................................................................................................. 12
ABOUT MAHINDRA COMVIVA ....................................................................................................................... 14
CONTACT ................................................................................................................................................. 14
ABOUT AITE GROUP ...................................................................................................................................... 15
AUTHOR INFORMATION .......................................................................................................................... 15
CONTACT ................................................................................................................................................. 15

L I S T O F F I G U R E S
FIGURE 1: THE EVOLUTION OF MPOS EQUIPMENT ........................................................................................ 6
FIGURE 2: CARD TRANSACTION GROWTH IN LEADING ECONOMIES .............................................................. 8

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux, discusses the development of mobile
point-of-sale (mPOS) acceptance methods from their origins as electronic payment services for
small merchants to a channel used by larger enterprises to extend and enhance their customer
service.
Key takeaways from the study include the following:

As they evolve, mPOS services allow businesses to re-engineer their operating


models, engaging with customers in new ways previously not available to them. This
might be in the customers home or place of work, at an event, or within a
redesigned store or showroom.

mPOS initially allowed businesses to roll out payment and other services using
tablets or smartphones, accompanied by secure card reader devices. But todays
mPOS offering delivers more than just an easy way to accept payments. Tablet-
based services allow demonstrations of products, provide information on offers,
permit deliveries to be scheduled, and enable application forms to be filled in as
well as accept payments.

As mPOS moves beyond the small-business environment, application software is


becoming the centerpiece of new POS systems increasingly tailored to the
merchants particular business. Systems can be customized by means of associated
software applications designed and downloaded to specific market segments and
geographies. The era of one-size-fits-all POS systems is disappearing.

mPOS juxtaposes mobile services with the rise of digital payment instruments. It
enables new sales and fulfillment channels, empowers staff, allows retailers to
develop more engaging store designs to interest shoppers, and more. mPOS services
can be configured in many ways, and the growth of this payment acceptance
channel is just starting.

Traditional payment service providers are addressing this opportunity, but as it


grows mPOS is bringing a host of new suppliers into play, including new specialists
such as Mahindra Comviva as well as software developers, often bringing more
innovative product offerings to the market. The payments industry is poised to
undergo significant change. The beneficiaries will be those organizations with the
imagination to embrace the potential this new payment and communications
channel offers.

2015 Mahindra Comviva. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this white paper by any means is strictly prohibited.

The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

INTRODUCTION
mPOS solutions have taken the payments world by storm in the last few years. As a leading
embodiment of the secular trend toward mobile device ubiquity throughout social and
commercial life, mPOS services have been standard-bearers of mobile in the retail ecosystem.
That the phenomenon has been led by businesses that were not traditional players in the
industry is even more remarkable.
Despite their recent emergence, however, mPOS services have already evolved into a number of
distinct offerings targeting different commercial opportunities. Starting from serving the needs
of small merchants, recent developments have seen mPOS services embraced by larger
enterprises, including not only major retailers but also a variety of other types of firms, such as
insurance companies, healthcare companies, distribution and courier firms, agent-based sales
operations, and more. mPOS has grown from its initial starting point remarkably quickly, and an
increasing range of organizations recognize it as offering new ways to interact with customers
and better opportunities to convert leads into sales. This trend will accelerate in coming years.

M E T H O D O L O G Y
In preparing this paper, Aite Group drew upon existing internal analysis supplemented with
interviews of a number of leading organizations active in the payments industry. Additional
information was gathered through desk research.

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

THE RISE OF MPOS SERVICES


The idea of turning a smartphone or tablet into a payment acceptance device arrived with
Square in 2009, which disrupted the payments space by enabling micro-merchants that had
previously been unable to accept card payments. This simple idea caught the imagination of
rival entrepreneurs, and a host of competitors rapidly emerged to transform the payments
industry. Today, mPOS specialists have emerged in all parts of the world, extending electronic
payments into new environments and capitalizing on the secular trend toward mobile services
at the global level.
The success of these entrants was impossible for incumbents to ignore, and they have
scrambled to deliver their own versions of mPOS services, in some cases by simply forming
partnerships with new entrants and in other cases by developing their own card reader devices
and sales channels. In early 2015, the industry has a multitude of mPOS offerings in every part of
the world.
Because of the nature of the devices and the fact they are distributed by a multitude of new
entrants to the payments industry along with incumbents, reliable data is hard to obtain. But
discussions with leading point-of-sale (POS) vendors indicate that mPOS solutions presently
account for at least 10% of their total shipmentsand this proportion is increasing year on year.
At the global level, that implies that the incumbent hardware vendors sold some 2.5 million
mPOS devices in 2014. But that figure excludes many of the mPOS specialists that pioneered the
channel in the first place, such as Square and iZettle. Factoring in these companies and their
many peers around the world indicates that total sales of mPOS hardware in 2014 amounted to
some 10 million devices.
The evolution of mPOS services is illustrated in Figure 1. The type of device used within an mPOS
configuration results from each businesss needs, operating environment, and strategy. mPOS
allows a broader range of businesses to accept payments in a wider variety of acceptance
environments than in the past. The increasing variety of devices has driven the spread of mPOS
services far beyond their starting point in the small-business community.
Alongside the evolution of mPOS hardware, the way payment is accepted is changing in parallel,
from the traditional card-based environment to cloud-based services. This move is stimulated by
the wave of investment in mobile-device-based payment, developments in NFC contactless
technology, and the emergence of host card emulation and tokenization technologies. Next-
generation POS services will be increasingly cloud-enabled, easing the transition from card-
initiated to smartphone-initiated payments.

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

Figure 1: The Evolution of mPOS Equipment

Scale of opportunity

Large
corporations
Rugged
devices for
enterprise
applications

Small and
midsize
businesses

Micro
merchants

Tablet-based
POS

Audio jack
donglechip
and sign
Audio jack
dongleswipe
and sign

Embryonic

EMV chip-and-
PIN Bluetooth
card reader

Segmentation
emerges

Next-generation POS

Market maturity
Source: Aite Group

A key question that any mPOS service provider must consider is the profitability of the service it
offers. The majority of industry participants initially adopted a price of 2.75% per transaction,
but as mPOS has evolved to attract larger enterprises and nonretail organizations, a broader
range of pricing options has emerged, driven by commercial logic. Hardware costs and the
relatively low transaction volume generated by the initial target market, small and midsize
businesses, makes it challenging for mPOS providers to achieve profitability if they stay within
this narrow target market.
Instead, mPOS providers have adopted products, pricing, and targeting strategies to attract
larger merchants that can drive more payment volume, and therefore revenue, and cover the
upfront hardware cost. Strategies include targeting larger merchants and providing additional
revenue-generating software services around the core hardware.
Merchants value mPOS additional capabilities, particularly the range of analytical and
management tools that assist them in running their businesses. At the enterprise level,
however, pricing, and therefore margins, are much lower. Off-the-shelf applications might not
be required by larger businesses capable of developing or configuring software to their precise
requirements, but the ability to provide application programming interfaces (APIs) is of
significant value to larger clients. It offers the flexibility that more traditional payment service
providers lack and represents another aspect of mPOS that merchants value.
These services play to the strengths and flexibility of the mobile device. In doing so, the
merchants proposition is enhanced, and its operating model is altered. Mobile devices allow
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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

retail outlets to be reconfigured by reducing the number of fixed sales points, allowing staff to
engage with customers around the store. POS services can be dovetailed with other innovations,
such as information kiosks, bringing the concept of the endless aisle to the store. This
approach allows shoppers to search for and order items that may not be currently displayed,
effectively extending a retailers product range while simultaneously reducing the physical high
street or mall footprint.
mPOS services lie at the heart of these initiatives, integrating the payment facility with an
improved shopping experience for the customer. They form one key component among a range
of technologies that, in combination, can radically transform the retail outlet and shopping
experience.

T H E A P P E A L O F M P O S
The ability to simply accept card payments regardless of location has captured the interest of
businesses both large and small in every market. What started as a service for those small
businesses that were unable to accept cards has blossomed into a channel for extending the
reach of much larger enterprises. mPOS now extends far beyond retailing, enabling any business
to accept noncash payment wherever it chooses to interact with customers. This includes
courier and distribution companies; organizations that provide services at a customers home or
place of business; firms that deploy pop-up stores either in the high street or at public
gatherings, festivals, and events; and many more besides. Payment services have extended the
POS from limited fixed points to almost any location or venue.
mPOS-based service providers are revolutionizing the way business of all sizes and types accept
payment. They are transforming the way customers interact with businesses and are enriching
the customer experience.

M P O S I S A C A T A L Y S T F O R M O B I L E P A Y M E N T S G R O W T H
Payment cards, which are regarded by some as outdated and on the point of becoming obsolete
by phenomenal smartphone growth, are central to the emergence of mPOS, and their
importance is in turn reinforced by it. But as mPOS grows it will enable new forms of payment to
flourish, including via NFC-enabled mobile devices.
Much analysis focuses on the mobile phones potential to transform payments and replace the
plastic card, but within an mPOS environment, both forms of payment can be accommodated,
bringing greater flexibility to the act of payment acceptance. Mobile commerce developers gain
meaningful traction with mobile wallet services or in-app payments while merchants benefit
from the ability to capture a variety of payment instruments without limiting the options
available to their customers.
Cards are a familiar starting point as new smartphone-based payment methods become
established. In the short-term, however, the irony of mPOS solutions is that they use mobile
devices to dramatically extend the reach of the card-present environment far beyond what

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

August 2015

could be envisaged just a few years ago. Instead of killing the plastic card, these devices and
services are breathing new life into it while they allow other forms of payment to emerge.
Card transaction volume in leading economies has continued to show strong growth from 2009
onward. Forecasts indicate that, in the 22 countries reported by the Bank for International
Settlements, cards will account for 273 billion transactions at a combined value of some US$30
trillion by 2018. Cards will remain the most important payment instrument for many years to
come, their role supported and enhanced by mPOS.
Throughout the business world, however, much attention is being focused on developing the
next generation of mobile-phone-based payment services, and these applications too can
benefit from mPOS. Newer devices have NFC capability, allowing contactless tap-and-go
transactions from card or phone. Their flexibility allows them to be reconfigured over time to
adapt to changing circumstances, and this is another powerful aspect of the new generation of
mobile payment acceptance devices. The flexibility of mPOS terminals in an increasingly digital,
omnichannel payment environment is a key strength.
Figure 2: Card Transaction Growth in Leading Economies
Card Transactions in Leading Economies, 2009 to e2018
(In billions)

273
253

CAGR 9%

158
127

2009

174

186

201

217

234

139

2010

2011

2012

2013

e2014

e2015

e2016

e2017

e2018

Source: Bank for International Settlements and Aite Group

It will take time for mobile transactions to rival card transactions in volume. For that to happen
there needs to be greater standardization in approach and message handling, and international
payment networks need to fully embrace the channel. This is happening, but true mobile-
phone-initiated payments are still at the early stages of development. Aite Group research
indicates that from 2015 to 2018, contactless mobile transactions have the potential to reach
4% to 5% of retail payments, with growth in transaction volume accelerating after 2020.

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

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CREATING NEW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT


OPPORTUNITIES
As payment acceptance throws off the historic limitations of bricks and mortar, the relationship
between the merchant and its payment service provider is changing, but these changes are not
the same for all businesses. mPOS services initially appealed to small businesses, but more
recently the technology has been readily adopted by larger organizations, and not just those
involved in mainstream retailing. Mobility brings many opportunities to enhance customer
engagement and has been grasped by healthcare providers, insurance companies, home
delivery firms and couriers, and companies involved in the transport and leisure sectors, among
others.
For the larger enterprise, mPOS brings an ability to accept payment at a location that is
convenient to the customer. The mobile device brings together online access to services and
information, and loyalty and customer management tools, delivering linked applications that, in
combination, transform customer service. Service configuration and delivery is unique to each
company, bringing opportunities for differentiated propositions, but the ability to complement
information and ordering with an on-the-spot sale is powerful.
In addition to the benefits of the endless aisle, companies are also exploring new technologies,
such as augmented reality, to further enhance their customer engagement. As a result, furniture
can be visualized in situ in the customers home, and clothes can be viewed in different colors or
with alternative accessories and shown against an image of the customer. mPOS becomes a
platform in which tactical tools, such as context-driven offers and loyalty scheme benefits or
redemption, sit alongside back-office functions like reporting services, product ordering, and
stock control. Payment becomes just one part of a range of services all capable of being
delivered through the same device. Firms are transforming the way they do business as a result.
As the market matures, mPOS providers are seeking additional sources of income through the
provision of further services to their smaller clients. This might come via a range of software
applications that help the merchant run the business. Tools include product catalogues,
inventory management, linked accounting software, customer relationship management and
loyalty, data analysis and reporting, and more besides. Many merchants value the support these
software tools provide, and they add stickiness to the mPOS suppliers proposition, making it
harder for the merchant to consider taking its business elsewhere. They deliver new revenue-
generating services and thus enhance the value of the overall relationship between the mPOS
provider and its client. For small businesses, this is a large step away from the historic take-it-or-
leave-it approach that they had encountered with many acquirers and sales organizations.
Larger businesses have embraced mPOS for different reasons. The rapid growth of Internet
retailing has posed challenges for many traditional stores. Shoppers have become more
selective, comparing prices in high street stores with online deals for similar goods. Many retail
outlets have become victims of so-called showrooming (consumers viewing goods in retail
outlets and subsequently seeking lower-priced deals via the Internet), and in-store purchase
volume has stalled as a result. In response, retailers are embracing omnichannel retailing and

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

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taking a holistic view across their entire businesses, and mPOS can be a central plank in this
strategy.
The use of mobile devices in store means that staff can roam the aisles and engage proactively
with shoppers. They can better respond to queries, look up product details on their devices,
exploit the immediacy of the payment function if the customers decide to buy, and potentially
provide instant offers, discounts, or loyalty-based promotions. Retail formats can be refreshed,
and shoppers can order goods that are not currently on display either via stand-alone kiosks or
with the help of a sales assistant equipped with a mobile terminal. Importantly, staff
empowered by mobile terminals can complete the sale in-aisle, saving the customers time and
lessening the risk of them turning elsewhere.
Beyond retailing, mPOS is being enthusiastically adopted by a range of companies, including
many large businesses that had little need for payment terminals in the past. This is new
territory for many payment service providers. Nevertheless, their solutions are proving
increasingly popular. mPOS tools are being adopted by businesses in the healthcare business, by
larger home-servicing companies (e.g., heating engineers, air conditioning service companies,
and many more). Insurance companies are adopting them as important tools for home sales
personnel. Doorstep and party-selling operations (promoting anything from jewelry to
kitchenware or clothing) find these services useful, eliminating the need for agents to carry large
amounts of cash or checks and bringing the benefit of immediate electronic payment.
Rugged devices are attractive to larger businesses in sectors such as transportation, allowing at-
seat sales by airlines, trains, and long-distance bus operators. Courier and delivery firms use
such terminals to receive payment upon deliverystill an important service in many countries.
mPOS devices can even be found in use for payment of on-the-spot speeding fines by police
forces. In all examples and more, security of payment is improved, with cash removed from the
equation, and some transactions (such as many of the transportation examples) are made with
online rather than offline authorization. This encourages efficiency, opens up new channels, and
removes or reduces certain categories of risk.
The companies using mPOS are extremely varied, but the attribute they share is the ability to
use mobile payment devices to transform their relationships with their end users or customers.
It is this rapidly emerging segment of larger businesses that holds the most promise for mPOS
service providers in the future. Larger businesses are demanding clients and will insist on very
fine pricing, but they also value the range of software services that can be built around the core
payment service, and this brings the service provider many opportunities to develop deeper
relationships over time.

C H A L L E N G E S O F I M P L E M E N T A T I O N
Many larger companies have no interest in adopting stand-alone mPOS solutions but still value
the flexibility of the mobile payments model. Integrating mPOS solutions alongside existing
systems and infrastructure can pose a headache, however. The solution comes in the form of a
software development kit (SDK) that allows firms with their own customer-facing applications to
integrate payments functionality seamlessly, feeding data via APIs into other systems, such as
inventory management or data analysis services.
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Innovative mPOS players are now providing SDKs and APIs to the enterprise marketsome via
proprietary toolkits, others through third-party white-label solutions. This kind of flexibility
brings large businesses a greater degree of control over their IT infrastructure evolution. It is a
move away from the packaged solution that appeals to the small merchant, but equally it shifts
away from the inflexible stand-alone payments solution offered by many more traditional
acquirers. It is stimulating interest from a number of third-party software developers, which
previously might have had little involvement in the payments industry but which are now
working in partnership with payment service providers and acquirers.
The SDK environment allows new customer-facing applications with embedded payments
functionality to be more easily launched and integrated within a firms wider IT architecture.
The use of APIs allows information to be fed into other specialist systems to meet the firms own
specific needs. This also opens doors to the use of other flexible technologies, such as cloud-
based delivery models. Payment capability is thus positioned to operate seamlessly at the heart
of a flexible delivery infrastructure.
Stand-alone payment services are, as a result, losing their appeal. The rise of omnichannel
retailing means that merchants expect their payment service provider to meet their needs
across all customer outreach channels, including in-store, in-app, and mobile payments. More
traditionally positioned acquirers have had to adapt their business models to maintain their
position. Alliances with software specialists are increasingly important in helping them maintain
this role. The nature of the payments processing industry is changing fast as a result and will
continue to evolve rapidly.
From its beginning as a single stand-alone service for small businesses, mPOS has quickly
evolved into a transformative set of technologies that will drive change across the entire
payments value chain. In the process, it is bringing new players into the market and forcing
incumbents to re-evaluate their methods of operation. The world of payments is at the start of a
process of change more fundamental than it has experienced before. New business models and
partnerships, and more flexible solutions with payment acceptance at their heart are the order
of the day, but the key ingredient that weaves through the rapidly evolving landscape is
mobility; the ability to accept payments at the customers convenience and at greater variety of
locations than ever before. mPOS is moving from a niche service into the mainstream of modern
commerce.

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The Evolution of mPOS: The Payments Industry in Flux

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CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

Cards matter: With much attention paid to the growth of mobile payment services and
their potentially disruptive ability, the application of mobile payment acceptance via
mPOS has reinvigorated the role of payment cards. But mPOS nevertheless provides a
platform for new mobile payment methods to emerge.

For payments industry incumbents, the emergence of mPOS represents both an


opportunity and a threat: Handled badly, the transition may prove painful, but where
incumbents are prepared to engage positively with proactive partners, such as
Mahindra Comviva, significant benefits and new services can be delivered to payment
service users of all types. This, in turn, creates opportunities for all players in the
industry.

The growing demands of end users, rather than the payment service providers, are
likely to be the key drivers in the future evolution of mPOS: Increasingly sophisticated
services are being developed around the POS that deliver significant value for users.
Merchants are increasingly able to deploy services and capabilities that are tailored to
their own situations, differentiating them from their peers. The payment service at the
heart of these new POS ecosystems allows those organizations operating in the
payments market to develop new revenue streams but in turn requires them to amend
their businesses to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding clientele. mPOS is the
key to unlocking value in payment services once again.

The secret ingredient to engineering this transformation is software: Hardware can


be replicated easily, but software and services are much harder to copy, and this is
where sustainable competitive advantage lies. Payment service providers need to
understand what the right combination of products and services looks like and develop
appropriate alliances and skills to deliver the vision. Their first step must be to develop a
clear picture of what businesses of different types require and value from new POS
solutions. They need to understand that they are delivering a solution rather than a
basic undifferentiated commodity service.

Partnerships are a vital element in the new model: These may come in several flavors.
Payment service providers exploring mPOS solutions may choose to work with banks
(which can provide marketing referrals, distribution, merchant on-boarding, access to
local payment networks, etc.), acquirers and processors (which can deliver
authorization, clearing, and settlement, and provide merchant accounting services and
support), distributors (which may provide new ways to get the product out into the
marketplace and allow new verticals to be targeted), and, perhaps most importantly,
independent software developers (which play a vital role in delivering a rich ecosystem
of tailored apps that add significant value to the core mPOS proposition).

Showrooming has become a risk for the high street retailer: But mPOS helps combat
the threat by empowering sales staff to complete on-the-spot transactions in the store
and reduce the chance of customers walking away. If staff can offer discounts on the
spot, this is an even more powerful tool. This is one example of how mPOS is changing

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the nature of high street retailing. The flexibility mPOS brings means that it can be
integrated with other new retailing technologies, such as endless aisle kiosks and
augmented reality display systems.

mPOS has a role in rejuvenating the high street and slowing the drift to online and
digital retailing: By helping refresh retail concepts, it allows town center stores to
become destinations again, giving consumers reason to go shopping once more.

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ABOUT MAHINDRA COMVIVA


Mahindra Comviva is a global leader in providing mobility financial solutions with more than 120
deployments catering to an addressable base of more than 750 million consumers globally.
Mahindra Comvivas award-winning payPLUS, an integrated payment solution for large
enterprises as well as small and midsize businesses, transforms the mobile phone into a POS
device. The solution has been deployed by leading global merchant acquiring companies.
Merchants benefit from improved transaction volume by allowing consumers to use cards and
other payment instruments. payPLUS combines the power of a lightweight, customizable, and
personalized mobile app, and a compact card reader to fully comply with EMV chip-and-PIN and
chip-and-sign global standards. payPLUS has built-in support for NFC and Apple Pay,
improving payment acceptance options for merchants.
Enabling a POS device comes in different flavors, depending on the size and the category of the
business. payPLUS leverages the power of the cloud to deliver a range of compelling business-
enablement services to merchants, including campaign management, offer management, and
cash register in line with custom business needs. The solution also enables businesses to
leverage location-based services to deliver promotional campaigns with offers and discounts to
customers based on their proximity from the store. The product focuses on faster time to
market through cloud-compatible deployment, an open services framework, and out-of-the-box
adaptors for faster ecosystem enablement.

C O N T A C T
For more information on Mahindra Comvivas payPLUS solution, please contact:
info.payplus@mahindracomviva.com

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ABOUT AITE GROUP


Aite Group is an independent research and advisory firm focused on business, technology, and
regulatory issues and their impact on the financial services industry. With expertise in banking,
payments, securities & investments, and insurance, Aite Groups analysts deliver
comprehensive, actionable advice to key market participants in financial services.
Headquartered in Boston with a presence in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, London, and
Milan, Aite Group works with its clients as a partner, advisor, and catalyst, challenging their
basic assumptions and ensuring they remain at the forefront of industry trends.

A U T H O R I N F O R M A T I O N
Andrew Copeman
+44 7736 645695
acopeman@aitegroup.com

C O N T A C T
For more information on research and consulting services, please contact:
Aite Group Sales
+1.617.338.6050
sales@aitegroup.com

For all press and conference inquiries, please contact:
Aite Group PR
+44.(0)207.092.8137
pr@aitegroup.com

For all other inquiries, please contact:
info@aitegroup.com

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