Monitise plc has a goal of providing banks with the basic tools to build their mobile payments strategy. A budding relationship with Intuit Inc., which has more than 1,200 financial institution clients, could help it further this initiative.

Intuit has a fairly varied product set for consumers, merchants and banks. For merchants, Intuit offers the GoPayment card reader, which ties into its Quickbooks Point of Sale software. For banks, Intuit has FinanceWorks, a personal financial management-focused system for consumers and small businesses. For consumers, Intuit has Mint.com, a free PFM site that ties consumers' accounts together but prohibits money movement, largely due to security concerns.

By working with Monitise, Intuit may be able to eliminate some of the barriers between these products, particularly the church-and-state separation it established for PFM and payments. To this end, the two companies announced Dec. 11 a letter of intent to cultivate a relationship.

"Helping customers manage their finances in the process of executing payments and reviewing offers will help differentiate us and help our financial institution partners differentiate their offering," says Carl Tsukahara, head of strategy at Monitise.

Monitise's CEO, Alastair Lukies, outlined his company's philosophy toward mobile commerce in a June interview.

"Monitise operates only as an 'enabler,' " Lukies told PaymentsSource. "We do not want to own the banks' customers. We want to provide the mobile payments infrastructure for them. In all previous channels, whether it was ATMs or other services, the banks have been in control of the supply chain. The problem now is that different types of companies are after their customers, and the Apples and Googles of the world are five times bigger than the biggest banks in the world."

Working with Intuit, which provides online banking software through its Intuit Financial Services unit, Monitise can better reach this audience. Intuit Financial Services was formerly Digital Insight, a company Intuit bought in 2007 after collaborating on the development of its FinanceWorks software.

Monitise and Intuit are looking at ways to simplify financial management for consumers and small businesses through financial institution's mobile channels.

We're hoping to "tie personal finance management (PFM) tools to the Monitise platform," Tsukahara says. "One of the key things we think is important for the banks is leveraging some of the information they have about their customers."

The partnership, if established, will help both companies capture new customers, especially as they focus on expanding in the U.S. and Europe. More than 300 financial institutions use Montise's Mobile Money service, while Intuit's mobile offerings reach customers of more than 500 U.S. banks and credit unions.

This could be crucial for financial institutions as they compete with startups changing the ecosystem and trying to disintermediate the banks, Tsukahara says.

While younger consumers may flock to startups for their mobile payment needs, banks are still a trusted source for financial services, he says. And most consumers still have bank accounts which make it easier to adopt financial services offered by the banking institution they already have a relationship with, he adds.

On average, he says, banks have more than 20 touches per month on their mobile channels. "Outside social networking, very few phone apps get that kind of attention," Tsukahara says.

Monitise and Intuit plan on announcing the details of their relationship early next year.

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