The multimedia evolution of the SMS messaging format (RCS) is getting much of the telecom world to review existing models and businesses for enterprise communication. Recently, the first trials of mobile payment in RCS have been launched, generating plenty of interest. The potential of friction-free transactions and interactive messaging could drive change in the industry. MEF’s latest whitepaper “Getting Ready for RCS Payments” explores the potential of true conversational commerce. Here MEF CEO Dario Betti introduces the main findings.

Excitement is growing around RCS, the multimedia evolution of the text-only SMS message. Payment is the next natural step to add to this format. In the MEF community the world of payment and messaging are meeting again, just like 20 years ago at the beginning of mobile entertainment.

The eyes of the industry are now fixed on the potential of ‘Conversational Commerce’ the new possibility to let consumer talk to their brands, use their services via a flow of relevant buttons, pictures, maps orchestrated by AI-assisted questions and answers.

However, there is no commerce without buying: payment must be included in this flow at some point to reveal its full power. To fully understand transactions in conversational commerce will be to position yourself as a leader in a very large market. Many are keen to know more; you should be too.

To fully understand transactions in conversational commerce will be to position yourself as a leader in a very large market. Many are keen to know more; you should be too.

The parallels from the early 2000s continue though; there is also plenty of skepticism here, just like at the beginning of the century, when many claimed that the mobile medium would only be good for making calls and not for interactive services.

In truth, as of 2019 RCS business messaging campaigns are mostly experimental, and there is no agreed payment mechanism as part of the standard from GSMA. However, we are seeing creative and practical approaches for enterprises to transact with customers.Both KDDI and Vodafone have already launched live services that support payment. Today, many options are available, such as new Fintech solutions or device-based payments systems.

Developed through interviews with MEF members and other stakeholders our latest whitepaper explores these options and looks at the steps required to friction-free transactions.

  • Industry stakeholders are exploring the best way to implement a payment button inside RCS
  • Payment in RCS is possible now – by migrating to a payments’ web page
  • Chat bots will be pivotal to the RCS payment experience

It also includes some fantastic uses cases including:

  • Vodafone and Wegal: RCS payments for ticketing
  • Orange: RCS/payment with Mobile Connect
  • Netflix proof of concept: streaming subscription service

The pathway to payment in RCS has been traced now. Look and understand its evolution. In an omnichannel world this might be the first proper messaging payment models to be used. Learn now, deploy everywhere.

Dario Betti



Register Now for the MEF Webinar – July 25th, 4PM BST

Some of the members who contributed to the paper, will be discussing the topic in a MEF webinar later this week.

Speakers include Vodafone, Dimoco and Digital Virgo – find out more or register now

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