In a move to foster new markets abroad, Online Resources and Communications Corp. has decided to license its screen phone-based home banking technology to international firms.
Online Resources makes a combined keypad and screen-based device called ScreenPhone -- currently marketed in the United States through NationsBank Corp. -- which allows consumers to perform routine banking functions from home. But the McLean, Va.-based vendor is branching out beyond the domestic market, signing its first licensing agreement with Hyosung Information and Communications Co., a Korean company that provides branch automation systems to banks.
The agreement marks the first time Online Resources has authorized the use of its technology by another company. And, according to Matthew P. Lawlor, the company's president, this shift is "representative of what will happen in the future."
Licensing to international firms will become a secondary focus for the five-year-old company, he said. Online Resources plans to help these new entrants into the home banking arena implement interactive services that are suited to their countries.
Alex Seltzer, the company's executive vice president for systems and technology, said the agreement represents an important international endorsement of the ScreenPhone and gives it added credibility in the U.S. market.
"Korea is a very sophisticated consumer technology market-place," Mr. Seltzer said. "We're delighted Hyosung shares our confidence in the potential for Online's ScreenPhone."
The ScreenPhone combines a conventional telephone and a remote banking terminal, allowing consumers to pay bills, schedule payments, transfer funds between accounts, inquire about balances, and perform other simple transactions. These phones were designed to operate much like automated teller machines, using a transaction processing systme and communications links that are based on ATM switches and public data networks.
Hyosung plans to market the screen phone -- called Easy-Bank in Korea -- to consumers and small businesses. The company will offer bill paying, banking, shopping, credit card authorization, and information services to consumers through this medium.
Online Resources will continue to focus domestically on providing services that can be branded by financial institutions, such as electronic bill paying, electronic banking, and investment portfolio management.