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CU*Answers, CashEdge partner with Firethorn for mobile banking services

Firethorn Holdings LLC is partnering with CU*Answers, a credit union service organization, and CashEdge, a payment service provider, for two new mobile banking and payment initiatives.

CU*Answers is leveraging Firethorn’s SMS alert services to let members receive account alerts and Firethorn’s mobile banking application. CashEdge is integrating its person-to-person-payments service with Firethorn’s mobile-wallet services to let consumers send payments to other consumers via the mobile banking application.

“By working with CU*Answers, Firethorn has the ability to offer its mobile-commerce solutions to well over 100 credit unions with a single integration,” said Dave Vigil, senior vice president at Firethorn, Atlanta.

“This is a first for Firethorn, and a strategy we believe will not only benefit our company by increasing subscribers, but also benefit CU*Answers and its credit unions,” he said. “Specifically, this partnership will allow CU*Answers to offer more value to its credit unions, and in turn allow the credit unions to meet consumers’ growing demand for these services.”

CU*Answers is a 100 percent credit union owned service organization with 165 credit unions nationwide.

Firethorn is a mobile commerce service provider that gives consumers access to their accounts, offers and transactions while on the go.

CU sees mobile
CU*Answers will offer Firethorn’s mobile banking application and SMS service to its credit unions in the second quarter of 2010.

With the application, credit union members will be able to check their balances, pay their bills, transfer funds and receive offers from their mobile devices.

In addition to the mobile banking application, CU*Answers will use Firethorn’s SMS capabilities that allow members to receive account alerts, provider messages, initiate requests for transaction history or balance information all via SMS.

Mr. Vigil said that the partnership provides Firethorn the opportunity to reach hundreds of financial institutions and that the member credit unions do not have to individually negotiate and integrate Firethorn’s services into each system.

CU*Answers provides services to credit unions that have varied demographics, so Mr. Vigil said there is no target age group.

Firethorn and CashEdge, a dream team?
Firethorn also announced a partnership with CashEdge for mobile person-to-person-payments.

Mr. Vigil said that Firethorn and CashEdge’s partnership is collaborative.

“Teaming up with CashEdge allows Firethorn the ability to combine two innovative services and offer them to multiple clientele – the strategy is truly collaborative,” Mr. Vigil said. “We already have many common customers and prospects who have been asking for a holistic P2P solution, and now we can put those customers on the path to mobile commerce.”

CashEdge provides payment services such as mobile and online person-to-person payments to financial institutions for their retail and small-business banking customers.

Mr. Vigil said that the CashEdge partnership will allow financial institutions and consumers to fully benefit from Firethorn’s services. CashEdge’s services help Firethorn because many financial institutions have not implemented person-to-person infrastructures yet.

The partnership’s integrated mobile person-to-person services will let financial institutions offer customers the ability to send electronic payments using CashEdge’s POPmoney from within their Firethorn mobile banking application.

Consumers use the email address or mobile phone number of the recipient to direct the payment.

According to CashEdge’s 2009 consumer survey, 77 percent of consumers would prefer to use a person-to-person payments service offered through their financial institution instead of an independent service.

Mr. Vigil said that there are several benefits for utilizing a mobile platform for banking.

“For consumers, it’s convenient and offers them the ability to view their financial accounts anytime, anywhere,” Mr. Vigil said. “And, with Firethorn’s application in particular, consumers can view their accounts in one place, on one screen – effectively allowing consumers to understand their full financial picture at once.

“It helps them make more confident purchase decisions and allows them to manage finances without having to find a PC to log onto or a financial institution branch to visit,” he said.