DeviceFidelity, which has spent years supporting hardware-based mobile payment systems with the likes of Visa and MasterCard, is reporting success in devoting more attention to the software-based aspects of its moneto wallet.

"Initially our growth was limited because we believe we were too geared toward the [Near Field Communication] part of the wallet," says Youri Bebic, general manager of prepaid programs for DeviceFidelity. "Since we have expanded to a full mobile financial platform, our volume has improved."

The moneto wallet provides cash-back offers from edo Interactive and ATM access from MoneyPass, among other perks. It just added MoneyGram's money transfer services as well. "We wanted to find partnerships that incentivized users to move to the electronic wallet," Bebic says.

DeviceFidelity did not provide specific use numbers for moneto, but Bebic says the partnerships are driving a monthly usage increase of about 50%, with transaction volume doubling most months. The wallet's average transaction size exceeds $30.

"These are pretty healthy numbers," Bebic says. "It looks like the value-added services that we brought to the wallet are making a difference in the growth of the program."

The moneto wallet uses NFC technology to execute contactless payments. Consumers can also use a prepaid MasterCard, a mobile app, card-to-card transfers, online bill payment, real-time balance updates and direct deposit. Moneto users pay no monthly fees if they spend $300 or more per month, or they can pay $2.95 per month after an initial three-month free period.

DeviceFidelity relaunched moneto last year after a taking the technology in-house from Spring Card Systems. This move gave DeviceFidelity more control over its technology as it added new features.

Though DeviceFidelity has changed its strategy, it does not plan to abandon NFC in favor of systems such as QR codes used by companies such as Starbucks and the Merchant Customer Exchange.

"Right now we have no intention to go beyond NFC," Bebic says. "We think NFC is the way of the future for payments."

Getting consumers to use digital wallets and mobile payments is a challenge many companies face, particularly in the U.S., where contactless payments technology often develops faster than consumers care to adopt it.

"The first thing we learned from user feedback is that just replacing one payment method with another was not enough to create a value proposition," Bebic says.

The added features were chosen based on consumer research and are generally offered as white-label services — consumers see them as part of the moneto wallet and not as a separate product.

"The consumers particularly asked about cash back for purchases," says Bebic. Adoption and transaction volume jumped in the months after DeviceFidelity added edo Interactive's cash-back rewards.

Edo Interactive provides rewards within 30 seconds of a transaction, regardless of whether the consumer pays with the moneto app or the attached plastic card. Consumers are automatically enrolled for cash back when they register with moneto.

DeviceFidelity's partnership with MoneyPass allows consumers to use MoneyPass' network of 23,000 surcharge-free ATMs, including 2,000 Wal-Mart Money Center Express machines.

"The consumers don't see us as a payments company, but as a mobile platform," Bebic says.

In the most recent partnership, moneto supports MoneyGram transfers to more than 321,000 locations in about 200 countries. After an initial transfer is set up, subsequent transactions can be executed via single click.

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