Lisa Stanton
Tom Keighley

Member Article

The mobile money space: Bdaily meets Monitise

The mobile money sector has grown considerably over the last few years. Earlier this year, the UK Payments Council suggested that mobile payments could soon replace debit and credit cards.

AIM-listed British firm, Monitise, have successfully built a reputation as worldwide providers of mobile banking, payments and commerce networks. Bdaily spoke with executive vice president, Lisa Stanton, about this exciting technology space.

Lisa joined Monitise in early 2007, before the first smartphones began to trickle onto the market.

“The idea of finance on a mobile phone was very nascent at the time - almost nonexistant in the US. It was an area where Europe was well ahead in terms of innovation,” said Lisa.

Now with staff and offices in London, Wales, California and Hong Kong, Monitise signed a breakthrough deal with Visa Europe in early 2011. The agreement meant Visa would use the their technology to offer customers mobile payment services.

Lisa explains the evolution of the Monitise service offering: “It’s changed quite a lot but always remained true to the original concept: bank anywhere, pay anyone and buy anything.

“That’s been our strategy over the years, but it’s certainly more tangible today than it was in the early stages.This nascent industry that we chose to become involved in has actually become almost mainstream.”

The business takes existing “payment rails,” the processes by which consumers pay using plastic, and aims to digitise them for the mobile era.

Monitise’s focus is on developing a “bank grade” platform banks and financial institutions to connect with and introduce to their customers.

According to their last interim results, the group now process two billion transactions per year, and handles 2.9m customer requests per hour.

In February this year, the firm was named ‘best technology supplier of 2012’ by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Lisa continues: “There are a lot of ‘standard’ expectations from the consumer now. That’s entry level stuff like being able to check your balance, or getting an alert when a payment has completed.

“The space has really heated up, for instance consumers’ choice of bank is increasingly based on mobile capabilities of the institution.

“For those that initially looked at mobile banking as an extension of online, it has certainly provided them a foray into the space, but they’ve since encountered a conundrum: where do you go from there?”

Because Monitise is essentially a white label product, the name is not prominent in the marketplace. Lisa maintains this is exactly where the firm want to be: the “intel” behind the technology.

She adds: “There’s competitors in other regions and countries around the world, but there’s not really anyone who is focussed on a developing a solution like we are.

“In this space, the world is flat. For a Silicon Valley company such as Visa to choose this British company to be its key mobile partner, really solidifies this.

“Processing capabilities are very similar wherever you go, it’s about what the need is in the market and how we can cater to this.”

Lisa says Monitise has grown through a balance of building its own business and fostering strategic partnerships.

In the UK, the firm has recently acquired the Mobile Money Network for £15m, and another mobile banking platform, Clairmail, in the US.

“We say the only thing that kills a good idea in this space is time. You just can’t be slow to the game because of the pace of change.

“These acquisitions were both aimed at expediting our business in the space.”

For Monitise, the remainder of 2013 presents a challenging in growing registered consumers to the platform; bringing on board large international partners; and adding more functionality to the platform.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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