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Emerging Payments

Intuit Acquires M-Payments Provider AisleBuyer

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Intuit Inc. has confirmed circulating reports that it acquired Boston-based mobile-commerce provider AisleBuyer LLC on April 9.

Sharna Brockett, a spokesperson for Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit, provided PaymentsSource with an email confirmation that the acquisition took place. Brockett did not indicate whether a reported acquisition figure of $80 million to $100 million was accurate (see blog note).

“We are in a fast-moving, ever-changing mobile-payments space,” Brockett stated. “By leveraging AisleBuyer’s technology and talent, together we will bring added value to Intuit’s mobile payment and point-of-sale offerings.”

In particular, AisleBuyer’s technology opens up the mobile point-of-sale ecosystem to Intuit and third-party developers to create innovative offerings to small-business customers, Brockett added.

AisleBuyer CEO Andrew Paradise did not respond to PaymentsSource requests for comment.

The technology buyout translates to Intuit adding AisleBuyer’s mobile-shopping applications to its own GoPayment mobile-payment software tied to the Intuit payment card-reader attachment for smartphones, and its QuickBooks accounting software.

AisleBuyer offers free application downloads for Apple Inc. iPhones, handsets that use Google Inc.’s Android operating system and Research in Motion Ltd. Blackberry devices.

Applications called mShop and mDine provide consumers with smartphone software that supports virtual shopping and checkout at stores and pre-ordering and payments at restaurants respectively.

In addition, the mClerk application allows retailers to use smartphones to assist consumers with product and pricing information or as mobile cash registers to accept payments. AisleBuyer consumers have the option to pay via their mobile phone with no waiting in checkout lines or with their phones using contactless-payment terminals.

Many analysts have considered AisleBuyer a legitimate mobile-payments player since it launched two years ago, mainly because it offers practical software applications that simplify the dining, retail and grocery-shopping experiences.

An acquisition of AisleBuyer makes sense for Intuit because it strengthens the mobile-payment provider’s software offerings and core competencies, Richard Oglesby, senior analyst and mobile pay expert with Boston-based Aite Group, tells PaymentsSource.

“Moving forward, the industry will become a more mobile-oriented payment area, and this purchase puts Intuit in a really good position,” Oglesby says.

AisleBuyer’s virtual shopping concepts don’t necessarily represent new ideas because PayPal Inc. has been developing a similar mobile-shopping concept, Oglesby suggests.

Yet Intuit understands the potential of AisleBuyer products and that consumers will latch on to mobile-payment software that adds the most value to a shopping experience, Oglesby suggests. And the acquisition would show Intuit is serious about moving to the forefront of mobile payments, he adds.

Late last year, AisleBuyer announced a New England supermarket chain would offer the company’s “virtual checkout” mShop software to customers seeking the option to pay for groceries in the aisle (see story).

In April last year, AisleBuyer announced a smartphone application for consumers that enables the phone camera to scan a payment card to pay for in-store and online purchases (see story).

Intuit’s acquisition of AisleBuyer would complement the company’s acquisition of Mobile Money Ventures’ mobile-banking assets last June by giving the company strong consumer shopping and mobile-banking options. Mobile Money Ventures represented a joint venture of Citigroup Inc. and SK Telecom Co. Ltd. (see story).

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