Nokia to exit mobile money business


Finland-based Nokia Corp., the world’s largest handset maker by unit shipments, said Monday it is planning to shut down its Mobile Financial Services business, including a Nokia Money service launched recently in India, as part of its strategy to move out of non-core business areas.

Nokia didn’t say when the unit will close. “It’s not going to happen overnight and consumers already using the service are not at risk,” Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told Dow Jones Newswires.

Nokia established the business in 2009 aimed at bringing secure electronic payments to people without a bank account, with a focus on emerging markets. As part of this process, it formed a partnership with Yes Bank in India two years ago, and later with the larger Union Bank of India. Three months ago, Nokia launched Nokia Money, a scaled-back version that allows for cash transfers between mobile phone owners.The service was only launched in India.

“Our services will continue to operate while we work with our banking, market and technology partners as well as our employees, agents and others to plan future options in accordance with all customer and regulatory requirements,” Nokia said.

The struggling handset maker said the change of plan is a result of its “evolving strategy and the business environment.” In 2010, Nokia hired Stephen Elop, a Microsoft Corp. veteran, to help revive the company, which was losing ground in the lucrative market for smartphones.