Monitise PLC, the British mobile banking vendor, says it plans a broader push next year into mobile retailing, initially in the United Kingdom, then across Europe and in the United States.
The company announced a partnership Monday with Carphone Warehouse Group PLC, a British consumer electronics store chain, to encourage people to use their cellular handsets for online shopping and other services.
Carphone plans to introduce a service by April to let its customers "top up" a prepaid mobile account using text messaging over the Monitise Mobile Money Network, said Alastair Lukies, Monitise's chief executive.
"We're developing a whole range of new services," he said in an interview Tuesday.
For instance, the company plans to work with Carphone and other merchants on an "aggregated loyalty scheme" that would reward customers who use their handsets for mobile commerce, he said.
Because the 1 million British users of the Monitise mobile banking service already have registered their account information and other personal information, "it will be very appealing to the consumer," Lukies said. "Consumers will have a propensity to buy using their mobile phone."
Point of sale transactions using the mobile device remain further in the future, he acknowledged.
Monitise also plans to use Carphone's joint venture with the U.S. retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. to extend mobile commerce services across Europe, he said.
The company is in talks with Best Buy to introduce a similar network in the United States, where the British vendor has a joint venture, Monitise Americas LLC, with the vendor Fidelity National Information Services Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., Lukies said.
Monitise also announced an agreement Monday with First Eastern, a private-equity firm in Hong Kong, to roll out its mobile money network across Hong Kong, China and other Asia-Pacific territories.
First Eastern has taken an equity stake in Monitise, the company said, and Lukies said that Carphone has as well, though he did not disclose the size of either investment. Visa Inc., the San Francisco card company that is its largest shareholder, also increased its investment, he said, to avoid dilution of its 14% stake.