Two is better than one, especially when the companies come from different regions.
That’s the effective message Bank Innovation got from industry players considering the plan for U.K.-based mobile payment technology provider Monitise to buy U.S. mobile banking provider Clairmail Inc. for $173 million. The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Industry analysts tell Bank Innovation that the purchase will be welcome news to U.S. banks, as financial institutions have much to gain from the development; the most notable of which is that Monitise boasts existing strategic relationships with Visa Inc. and FIS, a core banking provider giant.
“It seems like a big development,” Aaron McPherson, practice director of financial services at IDC Financial Insights, tells Bank Innovation. “Combining the [companies] gives them more scale, which is always good in an emerging market. You want this to happen.”
The combined companies reportedly will serve 13 million customers globally across four continents. According to the companies, a third of the 50 largest financial institutions in North America have chosen the companies’ services, as have hundreds of small and medium-sized financial institutions.
Since both vendors provide private-label services, the acquisition underscores the trend toward third parties running key banking services on behalf of the financial institutions.
“[We're] making inroads into having more of a standardized account transfer system for banks,” McPherson says.
Though it’s still early in the deal, the two are a good match because of their complimentary product lines, David Albertazzi, senior analyst at Aite Group, tells Bank Innovation.
“This should be good news to banks,” Albertazzi says. “From a banking client standpoint, it means potentially more resources by combining the two companies.”
Plus, Monitise boasts “great experience” with mobile payments and mobile commerce, says Albertazzi. “There’s an opportunity to bring its experience into the U.S. market.”
As the U.S. is not the most vibrant playground for mobile payments and banking developments, Clairmail should be able to glean valuable lessons from Monitise’s experiences abroad, says Sam Maule, manager at Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group.
“We have to be educated on the value of mobile,” says Maule, of the U.S. market.
The verdict of which mobile payments player will win America’s over heart is still very much unknown. The new Monetise-Clairmail venture is just one potential victor.
“You will have a couple of solutions that rise to the top,” says Maule. “Mobile payments is a tough nut to crack.”
Plus, before the combined companies could offer a meaningful mobile payments product in the U.S., they first must win over merchants, says David True, executive vice president of MCAWorks, a marketing consulting firm.
“You have to get merchants on board,” says True. “That’s what missing from the vast majority of solutions.”
Regardless, expect more consolidation in mobile banking.
“Consolidations and partnerships are new normal,” Carlisle & Gallagher’s Maule says.