ECash Technologies of Bothell, Wash., says it can put banks in control of their customers' accounts in the wireless environment.
The company, a new incarnation of Digicash Inc., has been promoting its payment applications suite, Monneta, as an all-in-one method of ensuring secure payments no matter what the method used.
The Monneta products have been on the market since last year and support business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and person-to-person debit, prepaid, and mobile payments. ECash said it has run its first test of the wireless transactions and will launch the suite's wireless feature in the first quarter.
Matthew Champagne, eCash's vice president of mobile applications, said person-to-person capabilities are an important part of the company's plans to let banks offer small consumer payments through their wireless banking services.
"ECash will enable P-to-P payments through Monneta, so you can be e-mailing me cash to pay for half a lunch, or you can use it in a B-to-C transaction," Mr. Champagne said.
ECash recently entered a marketing agreement with Metavante Corp., the technology subsidiary of the Milwaukee bank holding company Marshall & Ilsley Corp. ECash executives say this deal will give their company access to the many banks that work with Metavante.
Metavante will first process transactions for the eCash debit feature. Its bank customers will be able to let their checking account customers initiate transactions through the Internet to pay online merchants.
"We have already integrated our products into their data center, which will allow us access to their bank network," Mr. Champagne said. "We have had a lot of interest from financial institutions in this product.
The system also permits what Mr. Champagne called a "split purchase." If the cost of a gift is more than the amount of the gift certificate, "we allow you to top off the purchase by using your credit card," he said. "If it's less, you get a credit."
ECash's gift certificate program, and other small-payment services the company will roll out next year, will enable banks to usurp PayPal and other nonbank services, he said.
P-to-P payment has not grown very quickly, but Mr. Champagne predicted that will change once banks can build their own services more easily. He said he expects person-to-person payments to become a popular feature of wireless financial services.
The eCash security method uses one-time identifiers for each transaction, he said. Unlike credit card numbers, these identifiers can be used only once.
Mr. Jedlicka, a former American Banker reporter, is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.