Yapital Financial AG is seeking bank partners in Europe for its mobile payment app, but it's insisting on a long courtship.
"Yapital is very fast when it comes to implementation of innovative features like Bluetooth Low Energy or the possibility to sell through marketing channels, but we still do not believe in rushing things," says Nils Winkler, chairman of Yapital's board.
Partnership development "should evolve as a result of sound discussion," which will benefit both Yapital and the banks it partners with, Winkler says.
The Luxembourg-based vendor's Pay with Yapital software operates through a mobile app. Consumers use a QR code and PIN to link their phones to a Yapital account, and then make mobile payments by scanning QR codes presented by merchants at the point of sale. Yapital would work for a bank customer in the same way, but those consumers will be able to link Yapital to their current bank account in a few clicks on the site.
Though the company is already in advanced talks with banks, it does not plan to launch a marketing campaign to consumers until the second half of this year, Winkler says.
When these partnerships are finalized and ready to make public, they "will provide Yapital with an expanded customer base and the banks with the chance to offer their customers real added value through a highly innovative and smart way to pay, while staying their first point of contact," Winkler adds.
Even though credit cards are already a funding source for Yapital accounts, "the bank can upgrade its services with a modern and innovative payment option," Winkler says.
Like any other company introducing a new payment option, Yapital has some hurdles to overcome in its pursuit of banks, says Zil Bareisis, a London-based senior analyst for research firm Celent.
"The QR-code approach means that the customer experience can be seamless across different channels, such as online or at the [point of sale]," Bareisis says. "However, it also means that the company has to build out both the merchant network and the consumer base, which is a challenge."
Yapital, which is currently focused on German-speaking markets, can get a boost from its owner Otto Group, one of the largest international mail-order retailers, Bareisis says. Partnerships with banks should help stimulate consumer adoption, he adds.
It is becoming increasingly common for banks and credit unions to get actively involved in mobile wallet projects. Citigroup was a partner of Google Wallet at the product's launch, and JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are active participants in the Isis mobile wallet. La Caixa is working with several mobile carriers on a European mobile wallet that will initially focus on Spain.
Yapital falls into the category of an alternative payment provider, but Winkler says the company can boast of being "one of a kind in Europe."
In addition to the QR code authorization, Yapital users can also provide a user name and password as needed, or make purchases through a Yapital MasterCard that is accepted at 35 million terminals all over the world, Winkler says. These options won't go away as Yapital engages with banks, Winkler adds.
Yapital also continues to build acceptance at the point of sale, completing a deal in March with Micros, an international provider of checkout systems, to incorporate Yapital's cross-channel payment technology into Micros devices.