Total System Services Inc. wants to put itself in a position to take advantage of growth in mobile payments and banking.

The Columbus, Ga.-based payments processor on May 16 announced it has crafted a plan to ensure its core products also support an expanding array of mobile commerce and payments offerings, including those involving telecommunication companies, handset manufacturers, card networks and digital wallets (see agenda video).

TSYS's "agenda for connected mobility" calls for releasing updated versions of some of its existing products and services over the next 12 to 18 months and repackaging them to fit within the broad themes of payments, communications and commerce, Paul Bridgewater, TSYS group executive of global product, tells PaymentsSource.

Specific new products TSYS plans to repackage within its offerings will support Near Field Communication and cloud-based products for payment initiation and acceptance, text messages and alerts to notify consumers of transactions and to signal their preferences, as well as digital wallets, offers and financial-management tools that will support diverse types of mobile devices, TSYS said in a press release.

"For the last 30 years, we've focused primarily on what happens during the transaction. But now we are also offering products and services for the broader process, what happens when a consumer initiates a transaction" through any type of mobile device, Bridgewater says.

The company decided to act now because card issuers and merchants increasingly are asking for "more engaging" products and services to serve consumers through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, he says.

Acknowledging that competition is ratcheting up in the emerging mobile-payments space even before consumers widely embrace NFC payment and digital wallets, Bridgewater says issuers and merchants are feeling the pressure.

Issuers and merchants feel there's potential for disintermediation happening, with some of the more aggressive technology companies on the West Coast devising mobile commerce products that may cut into traditional operators' territory, Bridgewater suggests.

"We felt it was time to pull together a cohesive agenda," he says. "There is a lot of competitive activity regarding mobile commerce and payments, and it's not going to be a winner-takes-all situation," he says.

As mobile payments competition increases, new and existing players will face off to win new business from both institutions and consumers, one analyst notes.

"This is more evidence that all players in the current ecosystem are diving into their mobile future," Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group LLC of Centennial, Colo., tells PaymentsSource. "It remains to be seen who the winners and losers are, but now we know TSYS is in the game."

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