Mobile technology company Monitise has developed a technology platform meant to support a suite of integrated mobile financial services, payments and electronic commerce.
"It's mobile 2.0 if you want to think about it that way," says Lisa Stanton, president of the Americas for Monitise. "Mobile is the most critical channel for financial institutions now."
The Monitise platform, called Vantage 5.1, includes a hybrid of cloud-delivered and on-premise architecture. Core services remain on-premise at the financial institution, while payments and e-commerce products are delivered through the cloud from content providers.
Monitise's technology is modular, enabling fast upgrades to segments of a financial institution's broader mobile program. Through partnerships, Monitise supports mobile wallets, Near Field Communication, QR codes and other methods.
"I don't think anybody is going to know where mobile payments is going. The next evolution of mobile will be as important to banks as the move from cash to cards was," Stanton says. "Getting engaged in mobile and knowing how to do it is going to be tough for financial institutions."
The cloud model also provides speedy deployment, so financial institutions can adjust as mobile payments tastes change, Stanton says. "The idea is to make it a turnkey solution for the credit unions and banks," Stanton says.
Monitise can also support gift cards, a product that companies are increasingly pairing with online and mobile payments.
"If a financial institution wants to offer gift cards, for example, they can use the APIs [application programming interfaces] that we have built in the cloud, and if they have the Vantage platform underpinning the mobile banking software we can connect to the on-premise platform to make gift cards," Stanton says. "We can also use the API to integrate with their existing platform."
Monitise's mobile bundle also offers risk-based authentication for mobile services. Lower-risk activities such as balance queries require less authentication that higher risk transactions such as money transfers.
Monitise, which has more than 350 financial institution clients, did not release uptake for the new mobile payments system, but did name American Savings Bank as a user. Monitise also has relationships with Visa, Visa Europe, RBS and FIS, and is the preferred mobile payments and commercial technology partner for Telefonica Digital. Monitise also announced a partnership with Card Services for Credit Unions to supply mobile financial services for more than 2,600 credit unions in the U.S.
The practice of extending APIs to card issuers, merchants and payment companies is also picking up. Stripe has extended its payments technology to a number of companies, and PayPal's pending acquisition of Braintree is meant to enhance the eBay subsidiary's ability to offer software tools to its clients.
"[Monitise's move] makes a ton of sense. There is a whole API revolution going on that is cutting edge, but it does make it easier to upgrade," says Bernard Golden, a cloud computing consultant. "Many financial institutions are going to have customers that want to work with mobile technology, or an iPhone or a tablet, and the financial institutions will have to have a response for that."
The API model is an attractive way to build out mobile payments and other services, Golden says.
"Anybody can write any kind of app they want with an API, they can make an app that is in line with their company's other services, or they can customize the application. They aren't stuck with what is delivered by the technology company," Golden says.