Mozido LLC, having purchased PagoVision Inc., plans to expand its cloud-based digital wallet and financial services while more readily getting mobile products in front of unbanked consumers.
Dallas-based Mozido did not disclose financial details of the acquisition, which it announced Jan. 7.
Mozido provides white-label, cloud-based services for mobile network operators and financial institutions to better serve the unbanked or underbanked. The company will now have access to the 1,500 independent retailers in the merchant network of PagoVision, a check-cashing and payments service provider.
Those merchants can now offer domestic and international remittances, remote deposit capture and mobile top-up to those customers, Mozido says.
A non-traditional consumer is not likely to go to a bank to reload prepaid cards or inquire about mobile payments, says Scott Strumello of New York- and London-based Auriemma Consulting Group. "They are more likely to go to a retailer, so this is pretty important for Mozido to gain a retail network as an established channel to reach these consumers."
Mozido has the perfect setting with the retail network for its merchant clients to make sales to a consumer interested in signing up for a digital wallet, says Richard Oglesby, senior analyst and mobile pay expert with Boston-based Aite Group.
"The consumer can use the digital wallet right there at the retail location," Oglesby says. "If they sign up for it at a bank, where are they going to use it?"
The opportunity to get more unbanked consumers involved through mobile technology is the key factor for Mozido in the PagoVision purchase, Oglesby adds.
Mozido looks at a country like Kenya and notices its strong mobile payment adoption, then looks at the unbanked in the U.S. and sees that as a similar opportunity, Oglesby says.
"There are multiple trends at work here that favor Mozido," he adds. "They have a customer base significant in size and new technology to use to go after them to provide needed services."
The growing number of less expensive smartphones in circulation will also help unbanked consumers gain access to financial services provided by companies like Mozido.
That trend will translate to Mozido and other companies like it generally having no problem getting their products in front of the unbanked, Strumello adds.
"A banker likes to think of unbanked consumers as people who may not even have a computer, but they do have mobile devices," he says. "The security risks and concerns aside, these consumers do a lot of things on the Web and they would utilize a wallet function."
In fact, Mozido may eventually find itself luring even those who have used banks, but aren't particularly happy with them, Strumello adds.
"Auriemma did a lot of research in the U.S. and abroad that indicated that customer satisfaction was extremely high with payday lenders, much higher than with credit cards," Strumello says. "It raises the issue of potentially marketing [non-traditional] products to the traditional customer."
Mozido executives suggest the company will enter a new era with the PagoVision network under its wings.
"The strategic acquisition of PagoVision marks the beginning of Mozido's deployment of its mobile financial services, commerce and targeted marketing platform in the U.S.," Greg Corona, CEO and president of Mozido, stated in a press release.
Because PagoVision operates an independent merchant network that serves the unbanked and underbanked, the Millbrae, Calif.-based company complements Mozido's expertise in "serving the economically disenfranchised and its mission to mobilize all consumers up the financial ecosystem," Corona added.
In May of 2012, Mozido showed its intention to take advantage of the flexibility of its cloud-based services in establishing a partnership with Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services to combine its digital wallet offering with Tata's mobile point-of-sale system and loyalty program.
Mozido intends to continue its white-label services through various merchant partners, the company stated. Early last year, company chairman Richard Braddock made it clear that the company would heavily promote its white-label digital product, the Genius Wallet, and other services to companies while targeting the unbanked smartphone user, retailers and business-to-business opportunities.
Mozido is currently moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas. The company also has offices in Dallas, New York City, Mexico and Jamaica.