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Green Dot acquires Loopt to enhance mobile services for prepaid cards

Green Dot Corp., which sells prepaid debit cards through retailers such as Walmart and Kmart, has acquired check-in application Loopt for $43.4 million as it looks to build a mobile payments offering.

The deal should enable the companies to tie together check-ins, deals and loyalty with mobile payments. Initially, Green Dot will leverage Loopt’s location-based services technology and strong user interface design to enhance its existing mobile apps for its prepaid debit card business but will also look to develop new mobile payments products going forward.

“We know that everything ultimately will end up in the palm of your hand,” said Steve Streit, chairman and CEO of Green Dot, Monrovia, CA. “We really believe that having core competencies in this area is going to be key to Green Dot continuing to be competitive and to grow our business over the long term. 

“Having a mobile user interface that is engorging, accurate and secure and being able to roll out to financial services companies is really important,” he said.

“Offering real-time benefits based on who you are and where you are is a great way to serve our customers in a more modern and efficient way.”

Mobile payments
Green Dot sells prepaid Mastercard and Visa debit cards in retail stores. Its technology for selling cash loads and opening up accounts is already built into the POS for retailers such as Walmart and Kmart.

The company has a large customer base, a financial services infrastructure and retail point-of-sale transaction capabilities that are already deployed at major retailers nationwide.

Green Dot said it will leverage Loopt’s technology to enhances its existing prepaid debit card products, develop new banking and payment products as it looks to become a leader in mobile wallets, rewards and payment solutions at retailers.

The company will look to create high-utility apps in the mobile payments and mobile banking space.

Green Dot also acquired Loopt for its patent portfolio, which includes patents that are applicable to mobile marketing in the context of location-based messaging delivered real-time to a mobile handset.

Check-in consolidation
Green Dot’s mobile technology and product development team will be based out of Loopt’s current headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

Loopt offers a check-in app that includes a deals and loyalty component that will be shut down at an unspecified date.

Gowalla, another location app was also recently acquired – by Facebook – and saw its product shut down.

Green Dot said it is also looking at creating new products such as a checking account that would leverage Loopt’s technology.

“We are looking at checking account products that service other customers beyond our prepaid accounts that would be a checking account for the Facebook generation,” Mr. Streit said.

“Having a really slick app is table stakes, here,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York