Hungary’s state-owned Nemzeti Mobilfizetési Zrt. (National Mobile Payment Plc.) recently announced that it will launch the planned National Mobile Payment System, a single system for paying transportation-related fees throughout the country via mobile phones, this September. The company will both develop and operate the system.
Companies that offer mobile payment services at present will operate as resellers in the new state-run system. Upon launch, the single system will support the payment of parking fees and highway tolls (Hungarian motorists are required to purchase vignettes for using the highway system) beginning on September 30.
According to plans, the system will later be extended to also support ticket purchases for railway and public transport lines sometime between 2014 and 2017. Though the government’s move to interfere with the market has been criticized, Nemzeti Mobilfizetési emphasized that the National Mobile Payment System does not primarily entail the centralization of mobile payments, but serves solely to make it possible to pay for public services, mostly transportation services, via mobile phones.
Contrary to expectations, the new public system will not do away with convenience fees, although accoding to the company, users may eventually still find lower charges on their phone bills than at present. Current mobile payment service providers are welcome to join the system early next year. If they choose to do so, they will become resellers of Nemzeti Mobilfizetési’s services.