Visa Inc. has launched a mobile banking product with Monitise plc, pitting the card network against major technology vendors.
Visa's new product, announced late Wednesday, puts it in competition with companies like Fiserv Inc., Fidelity National Information Services Inc., and Total System Services Inc. Visa's product also furthers a trend of the San Francisco network offering products and services that banks would otherwise have to build on their own.
"Visa is becoming more aggressive about developing and integrating and selling products to financial institutions, as opposed to taking a back-seat approach to new product development," says Gwenn Bezard, founder and research director of Aite Group.
The new product lets banks that use Visa's DPS issuer acquirer platform offer mobile banking users the ability to monitor transactions, move funds and receive alerts on their mobile devices.
The product can be used with any mobile device, regardless of operating system, and it can be used for any credit, debit, or prepaid card account. Visa says about 10 banks are currently implementing its mobile product.
"When we talk to our financial institution clients … many are looking at the rapid change in mobile and trying to determine the expertise they need in-house," says Todd Brockman, head of the issuer processing group at Visa.
"We are moving away from the rendering of home banking to transaction-based offerings, ecommerce payments and other offerings," Brockman says
While the launch of the mobile banking platform is not a game-changer by itself, it contributes to a broader strategy at Visa, expert say.
On Monday, Visa announced a service that translates the security codes from cards that use the EMV chip standard to the type of codes banks already use with magnetic-stripe cards. This service is meant to remove the need for banks to invest in new technology as they consider issuing chip cards.
Meanwhile, Visa can't be blind to the core providers getting extremely active and motivated offering mobile banking products and services of their own, experts say. For example, in late January, FIS announced its plans for a mobile wallet that relies on a downloadable application.
"Visa recognizes here that owning the mobile banking channel is going to be critical to pushing the mobile wallet, and that will pit Visa against FIS, Fiserv and other core banking processors and providers," Bezard says.
Visa's mobile services are likely to appeal to the smaller banks that find themselves lagging their larger rivals, experts say.
"This will enable financial institutions to get into the [mobile] market quickly with relatively agnostic platforms that they can personalize," says Patricia Hewitt, director of the debit advisory service for Mercator Advisory Group in Boston, Mass.