The first-ever European e-money license issued
By maddy
Norwegian-based virtual bank Contopronto has been issued the first-ever European e-money license allowing for payments and money transfers to any bank, credit card, business or individual through mobile phones from Europe.

The Norwegian Royal Ministry of Finance issued the license. The terms of the e-money license promises to allow the international expansion of Contopronto's mobile-based payment system and revolutionise mobile and online betting, money transfers targeting an affluent 550 million strong European market.

The Norwegian horse betting association, Norsk Rikstoto, is another Contopronto adapter. Arne Herberg, its CEO says online gambling is among the most popular uses of mobile payment technology and with Contopronto’s e-money there is ease of use which creates new opportunities for industry growth.

Big corporates like McDonald's, Peppe's Pizza have already been participating in the e-money pilot program since early 2003. Customers of McDonalds for instance instead of paying by cash or swiping their credit card can now text their billing code into their mobile to transfer payments from Contopronto to the restaurant's account.

With more than 10,000 active users already in Norway, Contopronto claims their service is carrier-independent, and the system has also been adopted for paying salaries direct to mobiles and online gambling. The company adds that e-money will soon be made available in taxis in 25 cities in Norway.

With new offices in London, the bank is believed to be negotiating with Norwegian and UK airlines to offer the e-money service to passengers.

According to Contopronto CEO Morten Hofstad, its users only need to send a text message and in seconds funds can be transferred from any point in the world in any currency. Its clients are paying their employees salaries directly into their mobiles.

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