The title of your article ["Obopay Plans to Shift its Focus to Bank Transfer Segment" May 11] incorrectly describes what the company is doing. When I think of the "bank transfer segment", I think of legacy ACH and bill pay vendors that are already used by thousands of banks across the U.S.
In contrast, "mobile money" helps banks solve a separate set of issues, such as providing the millions of mobile, cash-based merchants in the U.S. with a way to accept card and ACH payments directly into their DDA, enabling consumers to send money to anyone — instantly, and rapidly deploying services in a way that reinforces the bank's brand.
Concerning the speculation that Obopay may be "too late" to this market, when we look across the landscape of U.S. financial institutions, what is remarkable is how few of them offer the services I describe above.
Also interesting is the extent to which the carriers and other non-bank competitors are positioning themselves to offer services like this. When millions of Americans recently used their phones to send money for Haitian relief efforts, they did so with zero involvement from the banks. By and large, banks now recognize that they quickly need to enter the market and many have targeted mobile payments as a key area of investment this year.
I was further surprised that you would suggest that our focus on the bank market is some sort of new endeavor for our company. Our partnerships in recent years with both MasterCard and FIS are both proof that banks have been a key element of our strategy for some time.
Finally, in any company focused on changing the way the world moves money, there is a process of innovating, deploying, observing, learning, and applying those lessons in ways which benefits customers' lives. Obopay has been doing that for five years, and throughout has remained laser-focused on mobile money and its growing importance around the world. I am very proud of what we have accomplished.
We will let the analysts and writers in our industry argue about whether we are "too early" or "too late", but we will continue to engage with those who are awake and aware of how the world is fundamentally changing.
Senior Vice President