BBVA has not been afraid to grasp new payments technology and run with it, especially with its BBVA Wallet.

The bank has launched the mobile wallet, popular in Spain, in the Sun Belt states of the U.S.

BBVA first launched the mobile wallet app for iPhones and Android devices in Spain in 2013 and says it has built a following of more than 570,000 users. In mid-2014, BBVA was considered the first global banking group to commercially launch a mobile payment system through smartphones using Near Field Communication.

Later that year, NFC got a significant boost in the U.S. through Apple Pay's use of the contactless technology. BBVA declared it would determine how best to keep its wallet app relevant in the wake of Apple's arrival, mostly relying on a cloud-based system and Host Card Emulation technology.

The launch in the U.S. follows similar rollouts for BBVA in Mexico and Chile in recent months.

"We continue to give our clients the ability to do things in a few taps that previously required a phone call or a visit to a branch," Jeff Dennes, chief digital banking officer at BBVA Compass, stated in a June 15 press release. "This is just the beginning of our digital wallet service, too. It will serve as a foundation for giving our clients even greater control and convenience in the future."

BBVA developed the wallet app in-house, allowing the bank to introduce features at its own pace, Dennes said.

"The service is homegrown and we own the code," he added. "There's no waiting on a vendor to introduce functionality that is also being sold to our competitors."

BBVA Compass is a unit of BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc., wholly owned by Barcelona-based BBVA.

BBVA has been at the forefront of payments technology, and has outlined plans to define itself as a software company in the coming years.

In April, the bank launched real-time payments through the vendor Dwolla, a move that signaled an acceleration of the bank's innovation in payments.

Last month, BBVA introduced a remote control tool for the Spanish version of BBVA Wallet, allowing users to activate or disable account settings such as spending limits, or the channel in which the card can be used (such as e-commerce only). It also allows the wallet user to disable cards.

The U.S. version of BBVA Wallet is offered for Apple and Google Android handsets. In the U.S., BBVA Compass operates out of Houston. Of its 672 branches through Sun Belt states, 341 are in Texas.

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