U.S. Bancorp is teaming with Monitise PLC to offer mobile-banking services to the bank’s Visa-branded AccelaPay relodable prepaid payroll card.
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank also plans to add the service to its ReliaCard program, which state governments use to disburse recurring payments such as unemployment insurance.
U.S. Bank is adding the mobile-banking feature because consumers use the cards as their primary financial tool and often have mobile Internet access, says Dominic Venturo, the bank’s chief innovation officer for retail payment solutions.
Those two factors combine to create “a real natural fit to be able to provide access to the account information in a convenient way,” he adds.
AccelaPay cardholders may use the service to view their account balances, pay bills, receive account alerts and view ministatements on account activity.
Research In Motion Ltd. Blackberry and Apple Inc. iPhone users may download a free mobile application to use the service. Other mobile users can access a website through a mobile Web browser to use the service. An app for Google Inc. Android-powered phones will be available at the end of October.
Little hard data exist to suggest financially underserved consumers are buying smart phones in high numbers, but Monitise believes enough do to warrant multiple mobile-application offerings.
“The underbanked has an equal or higher penetration [with smart phones] because they might not have a home phone and likely not have Internet” connectivity, Lisa Stanton, executive director of global alliance for Monitise Americas, tells PaymentsSource.
U.S. Bank also will seek to add the mobile-banking service to other prepaid card offerings, such as its Visa-branded teen-oriented card.
Prepaid card providers increasingly are adding different features to cards, and Stanton believes in two years it will be difficult to “not find a prepaid card that comes with a robust offering and includes some kind of mobile access.”