March 19, 2013

When Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS completed its acquisition of mobile banking and payment solutions provider mFoundry last week, it was not just a one-off business transaction but part of a larger mobile strategy the company is planning over the next decade.

"We see mobile as being a huge part of our future at FIS and the future of the clients we serve," Susan Hawkins, Group Executive and General Manager of eBanking, Mobile and Commercial Treasury Solution at FIS, recently told Bank Systems & Technology.

When the deal was first announced in January, FIS had already held a 22 percent stake in mFoundry, which was founded in 2004 and serves more than 850 clients in financial services and retailing.

Hawkins described the full acquisition of mFoundry as the natural progressions of the relationship between the two companies.

"We already integrate and resell the mFoundry platform into FIS backends, so we know the technology really well and we have graduated it into a highly secure multi-tenant environment," she says. "So it made a lot of sense to make the acquisition since we already have been successful with it."

For example, FIS already integrates mFoundry's Fin.X mobile banking platform into its offerings. Fin.X offers mobile financial services, including remote deposit capture, P2P money transfers, account funding, mortgage rate checks, auto insurance quotes, account opening, gift card issuance, merchant-funded offers, and retail bar-code scanning, among other features.

Hawkins says not only is the technology that mFoundry has attractive, but also the "mobile talent" among its employees, as FIS plots its mobile strategy "over the next five to ten years."

Hawkins says this strategy not only includes products like mobile banking and RDC, but mobile offerings in their nascent stages such as mobile payments, mobile ATM access solutions and mobile prepaid services.

"We really think the mobile wallet and mobile payments space will evolve dramatically over the next 24 months," she says, adding that many FIS clients are seeking to roll out wallet products for their customers. In fact, she says FIS "is piloting a mobile wallet solution with about a dozen clients," with an eye for a larger rollout in the near future.

Another aspect of mobile FIS clients are looking to take better advantage of are tablets, says Hawkins. She says many FIS clients are looking to make their online banking service more "tablet-friendly," such as if an online banking customer logs on from a tablet, the system would be able to recognize that and present a more tablet-friendly interface.

"Clients are also really looking to leverage the tablet's unique characteristics," she adds, like its rich data display and the ability for a tablet to be used as a shared device. Also, Hawkins says FIS' bank customers are seeking ways to tailor the tablet experience for specific customer segments, like private banking customers, or business segments, such as agriculture.

Equally important, says Hawkins, is FIS' ability to help its small bank and credit union customers compete in an increasingly mobile world. She says many of FIS' smaller bank clients are looking to offer more robust mobile solutions.

"Smaller financial institutions know they need these mobile capabilities to stay competitive and relevant," she says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...