To give banks a competitive edge over companies like PayPal, Apple and Google Wallet, two-year-old Sionic Mobile released its mobile commerce platform to financial institutions today.

ION Local mCommerce is designed to help financial institutions draw revenue from mobile banking. Banking customers link their credit or debit cards to the ION Rewards mobile application, and can then pay at any merchant accepting ION. Dwolla accounts can also be linked. When the consumer pays at a merchant, they receive 1% of the checkout amount in IONs – 1,000 IONs equals $1 – on top of any merchant or card provider rewards.

"There is a lot of hype around mobile payments and mobile, digital wallets today, leading to worry and confusion by [financial institutions] across the country," says Paul Provenzano, vice president of financial institution strategy and development at Sionic Mobile, in a Feb. 4 press release. "Financial institutions serve as a community's core and our mobile marketplace platform connects consumers and merchants through these institutions."

When consumers enter the payment amount, ION presents a bar code on their mobile device to be read by merchant bar code scanners or merchant phones and tablets.

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