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ACN to Develop First Belgian Mobile Wallet

Zacks Equity Research

Accenture Plc. (ACN) has been selected by Belgacom and BNP Paribas Fortis to develop and launch Belgium’s first mobile wallet, a mobile e-commerce ecosystem for merchants and consumers to facilitate secure shopping and payments via smartphones. The agreement was announced at Sibos in Dubai.

The solution will help consumers to make ‘’in-app” payments, avail tickets and coupons online and access loyalty programs in a secure environment.

To be launched jointly by Belgacom and BNP Paribas Fortis, the model is expected to be rolled out in spring 2014.

The solution will integrate seamlessly with merchant mobile apps, thus developing an ecosystem for improving mobile commerce. Consumers can use their debit or credit card from any Belgian bank to make their payments. The solution can be accessed from any smartphone notwithstanding the model or mobile operator to make payments across all participating merchant apps.

A mobile wallet is also referred to as mobile payment, mobile money or mobile money transfer and enables payment services via a mobile device. Its features include banking facilities, payments at point of sale (:POS) terminals, linking multiple credit and debit cards to the phone and enabling quick and secure transactions.

According to a recent survey by Accenture conducted among 4,000 smartphone users in the U.S. and Canada, the majority of respondents were likely to make payments through phone if they could track receipts. However, security, convenience of cash and credit cards and privacy were cited as major hindrances to mobile payment growth.

Competition from Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), a strained spending environment and Accenture’s broad European exposure (roughly 40.0%) may temper Accenture's growth to some extent.

Currently, Accenture carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Investors can also consider stocks like Arrow Electronics, Inc. (ARW), with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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