MasterCard has entered into a commercial agreement with Monitise that includes cooperative development and a plan by the card network to make a minority investment in the technology company.

The two companies have synergies that should aid in developing new mobile technology for commerce, payments and banking, MasterCard said in announcing the arrangement on March 25.

Monitise, which builds mobile payments applications, recently released Vantage 5.1, a mix of a cloud-based and locally installed payments technology. The core services operate on-premise at the financial institution, while payments and e-commerce products are delivered remotely.

Terms of MasterCard's pending stake in Monitise were not disclosed. Monitise would not comment on the arrangement and MasterCard did not provide comment by deadline.

Monitise works with more than 350 companies including U.S. Bank, HSBC, FIS, Telefonica, Lloyd's Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland, with more than 28 million users globally. The company processes 3.5 billion transactions per year, and the value of payments and transfers initiated by its technology platform is more than $70 billion, the company says.

Monitise also has a development partnership with Visa Europe, which invested in Monitise in 2011 as part of the vendor's purchase of shares of Monitise Americas from FIS and Metavante.

"I think this [MasterCard] deal is significant for Monitise," says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst at Celent. "There are many, many platform players in the marketplace. Investment from two of the largest card networks globally is an endorsement of Monitise that it will be one of the players who matter."

Monitise has been expanding its international reach via an acquisition of Turkish mobile banking, payments and commerce provider Pozitron Yazilim A.S.  Monitise is also targeting the mobile payments market in China.

"The acquisitions that Monitise has made in recent years have made it the most significant player in the industry," Lodge says.

MasterCard is pursuing mobile payments on a number of fronts. It is involved in mobile wallet initiatives in Germany and the U.K., and is extending its own MasterPass digital wallet into new markets.

In the past year, MasterCard has also developed payments technology for airline boarding, wearable computing and mobile purchases at entertainment venues. The moves are all part of MasterCard's strategy to add services beyond payments.

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