The person-to-person mobile payment company Obopay Inc. says it can help banks attract deposits through social networking Web sites such as Facebook.
The Redwood City, Calif., company introduced Tuesday a set of "widgets," small applications that people can embed on personal pages at several popular social networking and blogging sites.
Michael E. Diamond, Obopay's senior vice president of business development, said it plans to work with its financial company partners to promote the applications. Obopay has alliances with Citigroup Inc., MasterCard Inc., and the technology vendor Fidelity National Information Services Inc., which provides core processing and payment processing to thousands of financial companies.
"Financial institutions have been looking at the social networking space with more questions than answers," Mr. Diamond said. "Now is the time, we think, for financial institutions to have a more visible presence in this space."
Obopay is offering three widgets: one for giving money to other individuals, one for donating to a charity or community organization, and one for paying for online purchases. The company's Web site lists 10 sites where people can use the widgets, including MySpace, Facebook, and Blogger.
When Obopay launched in April 2006, it operated primarily as a text-message money transfer service that linked to a MasterCard prepaid card, but Mr. Diamond said his company now also offers a downloadable application and lets users send money through the Web browser in a mobile handset or a desktop computer.
"We look at the widget as another way to get on that mobile payment service," he said. "It's all part of a cohesive mobile payments strategy for the company."
On the Obopay site, the widgets are branded with its logo, but Mr. Diamond said that financial companies could apply their own brands, and that he expects to make additional announcements about how banks are using the widgets in the future.
"This is the first pitch in the first inning," he said.