Redwood City, Calif.-based Obopay announced Tuesday the release of its new Mobile Money for Banks product, which gives banks the ability to deploy branded mobile payment offerings to customers.
The Mobile Money for Banks product includes the ability for customers to receive payments of any type, mobile P2P payments, the ability to distribute money among family members and transfers. Michael Diamond, Obopay vice president of business development believes customer awareness of mobile payments is at its peak, particularly in light of the SMS donation campaign that followed the January Haitian earthquake. But while banks didn't drive that effort, he added, though customers are starting to demand more services.
"The first wave of mobile payment options didn’t really occur through the banks," Diamond said. "Banks missed out on first wave, need to catch up quickly to take advantage."
Further, the growing number of consumers buying smart phones could drive demand for bank-branded mobile payment services, something Obopay says it can have up and running within 30 days. Obopay's head of product and corporate marketing, David Schwartz, cautioned that if banks wait on developing mobile payments, they run the risk of losing transactions to third parties and wireless service providers.
When millions of Americans sat on their couch and sent money to Haiti for Hatian relief, they found that to be a fun and useful service," Schwartz said, adding that people might then interpret mobile payments as something they do with their carrier, and not their bank. "That’s dangerous for banks."
Obopay's Mobile Money for Banks product includes SMS services, mobile Internet and downloadable apps for RIM Blackberry and Apple iPhone users.
"It’s a service, so the banks don’t have to install any hardware or software on their end," Schwartz said. "We provide the service. What the banks do need to do is be prepared to describe to their customers what this is and why it’s relevant."