This week Visa Inc added significant incremental mobile payment and banking capabilities – acquiring Fundamo, a mobile money transfer software company and announcing a five year deal with Monitise.
The Fundamo deal is designed to bolster Visa’s position in developing markets where the mobile operators are increasingly able to leverage the lack of a traditional banking infrastructure and their customers’ trust into providing ‘banking for the unbanked’ (or at least mobile enable payment and money transfer). In contrast, Monitise provides a sophisticated platform and links to the banking ecosystem that enables banks in the developed world to provide mobile banking solutions. See this recent post on the launch of the Monitise sponsored Future Foundation’s report on their research into consumer adoption of mobile banking for more background on why adoption rates are likely to increase over the near future.
Visa’s announcement follows Google’s recent announcement of its (so far available only in the US) mobile wallet, which will exploit NFC technology in the current generation of android smartphones to enable users to use their phone to make payments. The announced functionality seems similar to that provided by Orange / Barclays in the UK, shortly to feature in a TV ad.
I have been trying to use contactless payment wherever possible, but judging by the blank looks from retail staff when I try to use it to buy a coffee it is clearly in the very early stages of adoption, and is still not a familiar technology.