The mobile bank account provider Simple will soon offer Braintree's mobile payment system, Venmo Touch, to its users.
Simple's customers will be able to access Braintree's "one click" mobile payments product in the first in what Braintree hopes will be a series of partnerships with financial services providers.
"We partnered with Simple first because we wanted a partner that understands what banking means in a mobile context," says Bill Ready, Braintree's CEO.
Simple Finance Technology Corp., formerly called BankSimple, is not a bankit deposits its customers' funds with a partner, The Bancorp Bank. Simple offers financial services through electronic channels as an alternative to traditional banks. Simple's customers use a smartphone to deposit checks, pay bills and manage budgets. Simple offers a prepaid Visa card that works at more than 50,000 ATMs. Simple recently enabled links to consumers' "traditional" bank accounts for ACH transfers.
Over the next few weeks, Simple's customers will be able to start using Venmo Touch, which will allow single-touch purchasing for Hotel Tonight, TaskRabbit, Wrapp, Trunk Club and other mobile services. Braintree processes payments for about 4,000 merchants, and is gradually deploying Venmo Touch at those merchants, Ready says.
To use Venmo Touch, consumers enter their payment information, which Braintree stores and matches to a specific mobile device for subsequent use. Braintree, which processes about $10 billion in payments annually, including about $2 billion in mobile payments, purchased Venmo in 2012.
Braintree is building a mobile commerce network through partnerships with financial institutions, merchants and other parties by targeting the user experience in the mobile channel, where there are more challenges for mobile consumers than at a retail point of sale, Ready says.
"If you don't have a one-click option for mobile commerce the conversion rate falls off. Consumers are loath to do data entry on a touch screen," he says.
The challenges of using a touch screen work to a financial institution's advantage if it can get its card enrolled in a mobile wallet, Ready says.
"Once the consumer has a [mobile] card on file they are unlikely to use different cards," he says. "It's easy for you to move between three or four cards in your wallet at the point of sale. But if you are using a touch screen device, it's more likely that you will use the card that has been saved on file."
Simple, a three-year-old company, is still limiting its audience to those who request an invitation. It has received more than 250,000 requests, though the company would not disclose how many customers it has accepted.
"Our mission has always been around customer experience and the Braintree partnership is an extension of that. We're always looking for a way to make it easier to pay," says Shamir Karkal, CFO and co-founder of Simple.
Core banking technology providers such as Fiserv and FIS have also developed links between mobile payments and banking.
Fiserv has made its Accel payments network and its Popmoney person-to-person payments system available to Open Solutions, a bank technology company it owns.
FIS is developing a real-time payments processing network, considered a key step toward melding mobile banking and payments.
Outside of the core banking vendors, integration between mobile payments and mobile banking driven by startups is rare, says David Albertazzi, a senior analyst at Aite Group.
"It's not common, but the convergence of mobile banking and mobile payments is the next milestone," he says. "Consumers are ready for something simpler."
And any improvement in user experience can help capture more payments share, says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst at Celent. "Making the process as frictionless as possible will ensure that dropouts are kept to a minimum," he says.