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Obopay, Star Network team up to enable mobile money transfers

Mobile payment service Obopay is incorporating Star Network’s Star Expedited Transfer Service to offer mobile money transfers to account holders.

The agreement lets consumers immediately transfer funds from their Star accounts into Obopay’s Mobile Money for Banks offering. The Obopay platform lets banks and credit unions present their own branded mobile money services, putting their accounts at the hub of each transaction.

“By partnering with Star, banks and credit unions can leverage their existing connections and operational processes to quickly and easily bring their own branded mobile money services to market,” said David Schwartz, head of product and corporate marketing for Obopay, Redwood City, CA.

“The Star network brings access to over 4,800 banks and credit unions in the U.S. and over 80 Million accounts, all of which can now take advantage of this offering,” he said.

“Obopay’s strategy to offer its service to these banks and credit unions is tied to its research— and third party research— that shows that users want to get mobile money services from their trusted financial services provider, their own bank.”

Obopay claims to be the first comprehensive mobile payment service nationwide.

Star Network is a First Data company and one of the country’s first PIN-protected debit networks.

Star bucks
Mobile Money for Banks lets banks combine total brand control and an entire range of transactions and applications. The Star Network claims that it offers transaction speeds that are not possible with Automated Clearing House transfers, which usually take days to process.

With the service, financial institutions are able to offer consumers a way to send and receive money with their mobile devices.

“The service enables banks to offer a complete range of mobile money solutions, including the ability for bank customers to send and transfer money, as well as payment card and electronic check acceptance available for everyone,” Mr. Schwartz said.

Obopay’s service application can be used on smartphone, BlackBerry and iPhone platforms. It can also be accessed through a mobile Web site, SMS, IVR and the PC Web.

Convenient cash

Mobile money services and person-to person mobile money services are in high demand by consumers, and banks and financial institutions have responded accordingly.

Key Bank launched its SMS mobile banking option last month  (see story), while Chase Bank enabled a check-deposit functionality via its iPhone application (see story).

Additionally, Bank of America has begun testing remote mobile deposits (see story).

Despite the convenience of mobile banking, it does come with risks.

According to Consumers Union, if merchants or processors make mistakes when processing the transaction, it could come at a significant cost to consumers (see story).

Regardless of the risk involved, mobile payment options have great potential.

“Mobile money services in the U.S. are at a tipping point for adoption,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Users are demanding these services and banks have targeted offering them as a high priority and one of the top areas of investment this year.

“The market is a multi-billion-dollar revenue opportunity and can service millions of Americans, with over 24 million out of 30 million Americans that are selling goods and service not yet taking electronic payments for them,” he said.

“Also, over 75 million American families can take advantage of family money transfers.”

Final Take
Kaitlyn Bonneville, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York