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CPNI, eCommLink join forces to offer mobile prepaid debit services

Mobile payments software provider CPNI Inc. and prepaid debit processor eCommLink have partnered to offer CPNI’s mobile services to the prepaid debit card industry.

In the first step of a broader strategic relationship, the companies will jointly market to eCommLink’s existing program manager and financial institution customers, mobilizing card programs already in place. CPNI’s Phone Authorized Transfer (PAT) mobile commerce technology will allow eCommLink clients to offer their cardholders the ability to manage their cards, check balances, view transaction histories and execute card-to-card person-to-person transfers.

“We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to connect the prepaid debit card industry to mobile technology,” said Victor Newsom, chief operating officer of eCommLink Inc., Las Vegas. “As we go into banking relationships to provide a prepaid platform to complement their credit and debit offerings, the partnership with CPNI allows us to offer a consolidated consumer experience with many layers of reinforcement, providing access to both the banking and prepaid side via a single system.

“With a mobile capability, consumers can send money, make purchases and transact in real time, whereas there is a lag time in traditional checking or credit accounts,” he said. “The reason prepaid is currently in focus is for customer retention—banks are having to reduce or reject credit requests and checking account applications, so they’re asking ‘What’s a way to keep this relationship with consumers?’

“From banks’ perspective, it’s seen as a valuable for keeping deposits—there’s not a huge revenue-generating component, it’s about retaining customers they’ve gotten through other types of accounts.”

ECommLink Inc. enables program managers and financial institutions to maximize revenue from their prepaid debit programs.

The company’s prepaid processing platform lets clients create customized prepaid programs for their specific markets while ensuring security and time to market.

ECommLink supports an array of prepaid debit programs, including general spend, payroll, teen, gift, travel, government and loyalty cards.

CPNI Inc. is a private software development company headquartered in Toronto. For financial institutions seeking mobile financial services, CPNI provides Phone Authorized Transfer, a global, bank-branded solution for remote payments and banking services.

PAT allows people to transfer funds via PATsend, make purchases via PATbuy and access banking services via PATbank.

Financial institutions can leverage their existing accounts, security processes and settlement channels.

Mobile prepaid debit services
Mobile is the most convenient way for people to manage their prepaid card accounts and the majority of prepaid card users are unbanked.

With a single integration, the partnership with eCommLink provides CPNI access to a large number of prepaid card schemes as customers.

ECommLink will be able to add mobile functionality to its systems currently in the market.

CPNI distinguishes itself from other mobile commerce providers by offering a secure, global, multichannel, bank-centric service set.

CPNI provides the infrastructure for individuals to initiate payments to unbanked recipients, users not yet registered for the service and people belonging to a bank that does not yet offer the service, increasing the number of potential customers for financial institutions.

“From a mobile and financial services perspective, organizations have been focused on mobile banking, but now as the functionality has expanded in that area and has deeper penetration, we see movement in the space to the payments side of things,” said Rusty Carpenter, Boston-based general manager for the U.S. at CPNI.

“Our focus has always been around mobile payments, and the interest in the payments side is really coming to a crescendo now, with many major organizations making plans for deployment in 2010, on the merchant side as well,” he said.

CPNI believes that mobile payments are on the verge of blowing up.

“Mobile payments’ potential is vast, both person-to-person, basically a digitized Western Union, and person-to-merchant, being able to order something on Amazon from your phone,” Mr. Carpenter said. “You’ll see person-to-person move first, which will cause a real shakeup in that market.

“Person-to-merchant is following because it has more moving parts and is more complicated,” he said. “The market is moving sequentially.

“First people became comfortable with mobile banking, and now companies are moving into person-to-person mobile payments, which provide a huge competitive advantage over other methods.”