Moneta Corp. is changing its name to Rialto Commerce and refocusing its strategy. Instead of working directly with banks, it plans to work with service providers that can persuade their bank clients to adopt its online-payment service.
Rialto Pay, the new name for the original Moneta service, lets online merchants be paid directly from bank customers' accounts through the automated clearing house system. The Atlanta company plans this week to relaunch its concept, touted as a lower-cost bank alternative to PayPal Inc., and will add instant-credit payments for online purchases through a partnership it formed late last year with the Equifax Inc. credit bureau, a representative said.
The option would be akin to PayPal's BillMeLater service. Bank customers whose credit Equifax approves would be able to make online purchases and pay for them later, bypassing traditional credit card networks and yielding additional transaction revenue for banks.
Rialto Pay is designed to generate "incremental e-commerce revenue" for both banks and merchants by giving merchants lower-than-average transaction fees and sharing transaction-fee revenue with its partner banks, the company said. It also is designed to provide a more-secure channel for bank customers uneasy with or unable to make online purchases using a credit or debit card, the representative said.
Like PayPal, the concept requires merchants to add Rialto Pay as an option on their websites and banks to offer the service to their customers. But the company, which was started in 2007, so far has failed to gain adoption among banks, and one analyst said its new face may be its last chance to succeed.
"There could be a window of opportunity here, but concepts like Moneta are quickly running out of time to find success with banks," said Aaron McPherson, the financial services practice director at IDC Financial Insights.
"As mobile payments begin to take shape through handsets, banks are feeling more confident about their future roles and less concerned about being disintermediated by companies like PayPal," he said. "They are unlikely to invest a lot of time in startup e-commerce services."
Moneta this year declared success in a three-month test it conducted in late 2009 with SunTrust Banks Inc., but so far no other banking company has come aboard. Rialto has relationships with about 25 e-commerce vendors that were part of its SunTrust test, including Delta Air Lines, Shoebuy.com and Stacks and Stacks, the Rialto Commerce representative said.
Some banking companies may be interested in making deals with alternative payments providers, but PayPal appears to have a substantial head start on the upstarts, McPherson said.
"The graveyard is littered with companies that have tried to compete with PayPal," he said.
"If the new version of Moneta doesn't sign up a substantial partner within six months, they won't survive."