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Visa, Monitise expand partnership to ramp up mobile financial services

Retail electronic payments network Visa Inc. and Monitise plc, which specializes in the development and operation of mobile financial services, have formed a joint venture that will provide a technology platform for financial institutions and wireless carriers to offer a range of mobile financial services to consumers.

Based in India, the new company will combine Visa’s expertise in enabling secure, globally interoperable financial transactions with Monitise’s know-how in developing customized mobile financial technology for various handsets. The joint venture builds on an existing partnership between Visa and Monitise.

“Our partnership with Monitise provides us with a strategic development and deployment partner for Visa’s mobile services, including mobile payments, mobile money transfer, mobile transaction alerts and mobile marketing offers,” said Dave Wentker, San Francisco-based head of mobile contactless payments at Visa.

“And our ongoing mobile strategy is furthered by building on the existing partnership with Monitise with this new plan to deploy the Monitise platform in India,” he said. “This joint venture is intended to offer banks and other partners a robust platform to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services.

“Regarding our commerce and payments goals, mobile payments will likely be one of the key services offered through the platform.”

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to digital currency.

Monitise serves the needs of more than 200 banks and financial institutions in Britain and United States to deliver secure mobile banking and payment services to more than two million registered users.

Monitise’s mobile money networks let customers of multiple banks and carrier perform banking and payment transactions directly from their handset.

Visa to Monetise mobile financial services
The joint venture between Visa and Monitise will give providers of financial services in India a platform to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services such as banking, bill payments, mass transit ticketing, mobile top-up and others to consumers.

India is the world’s second largest mobile market with an estimated 584 million mobile phone subscriptions as of 31 March 2010.

Over the past two years, Visa has actively partnered with financial institutions, carriers and technology providers, including Monitise, to extend the benefits of digital currency to more consumers in more countries around the world.

“Monitise has demonstrated success in developing, deploying, and managing a mobile platform in multiple geographies that has met the requirements of banks, operators and consumers,” Mr. Wentker said.

“With the Monitise platform deployed, Visa believes banks will be able to rely on the new JV to handle all of the challenging technical and operational aspects of managing mobile applications and interactions with their consumers across a wide range of phone and mobile network technologies,” he said.

Visa has enabled the development and commercialization of a broad range of mobile financial services, including those that have the potential to bring the more than one billion unbanked mobile subscribers into the financial mainstream.

Creating this joint venture is a crucial step that can help expand the acceptance of digital currency in India and enable the migration of $700 billion of annual consumer spending from cash to electronic forms of payments, according to Visa.

The joint venture transaction is expected to close in June 2010.

Both shareholders will be contributing resources to the joint venture and an outstanding local team of experts in their fields is being put together.

Discussions with a wide variety of potential launch partners are underway, but none has been announced.

Visa and Monitise first announced a strategic alliance and equity investment on June 30, 2009.

The alliance agreement was intended to accelerate Visa’s mobile services development and deployment in markets around the world.

“This joint venture is a further step in our plans to work together and opens the way to deployment in India of jointly developed Visa mobile payment services,” Mr. Wentker said. “Mobile financial services continue to gain global acceptance.

“By strengthening Visa’s network in India—the world’s second largest mobile market—with this new company, Visa feels strongly that mobile financial services will continue to grow, extending the reach of Visa’s products and services to the more than 4 billion mobile devices around the world,” he said.