Visa Inc. today announced that it is acquiring Fundamo, a leading platform provider of mobile financial services for mobile network operators and financial institutions in developing economies. It also announced a new, long-term commercial agreement with Monitise plc (LSE: MONI.L), a leading provider of mobile money solutions for financial institutions in more developed geographies.
The investments will accelerate the execution of Visa’s global strategy announced last month to provide the next generation of payments solutions, enabling consumers to transact wherever and whenever they choose, using a card, a computer or a mobile device with Visa’s reliability, security and global acceptance. The combination of acquiring Fundamo and expanding the relationship with Monitise will enable Visa to deliver best-in-class mobile financial services and payments capabilities to consumers across the full spectrum of uses, geographies and mobile environments from basic services on simple handsets to more advanced services for smart phone owners.
While mobile financial services in developing markets are growing and have become a core service offered by many mobile operators and financial institutions, these services are often limited in scalability and reach and are not interoperable with other regional payment services or global payments networks.
Fundamo’s platform enables the delivery of mobile financial services to unbanked and under-banked consumers around the world–including person-to-person payment, airtime top-up, bill payment and branchless banking services.
The combined Visa Fundamo platform will add enhanced functionality and new services to existing mobile financial services subscribers across Africa, Asia and Latin America for safe, reliable and globally accepted payments solutions. It will expand the utility of closed-loop systems, enable them to be interoperable, make financial services available to more consumers and offer merchants access to new customers. This has the potential to connect billions of unbanked and under-banked consumers to each other and to the global economy.
“Combining Visa’s unparalleled network scale, global reach, extensive product suite and established financial institution relationships with Fundamo’s expertise in delivering mobile financial services in developing economies presents us with an important long-term opportunity to grow our business and drive financial inclusion in key geographic markets,” said Joseph W. Saunders, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc. “We are pleased to add Fundamo’s industry leading technology solutions to our portfolio.”
“Mobile network operators and financial institutions will now be able to take advantage of Fundamo’s trusted mobile financial services platform backed by Visa’s high standards for security, reliability and scale,” said Hannes van Rensburg, CEO of Fundamo.
Hannes van Rensburg and the Fundamo management team will continue to manage current and future Fundamo implementations as valuable members of Visa’s mobile product organization.
Privately held, Cape Town, South Africa-based Fundamo has more than 50 active mobile financial services deployments across more than 40 countries, including 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Fundamo’s deployments currently have a base of more than five million registered subscribers and the potential to reach more than 180 million consumers with mobile financial services. Mobile prepaid payments provide affordable, convenient and secure transaction capabilities that are transformational to the lives of merchants and consumers in those regions.
Visa will pay approximately $110 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close today, and is slightly dilutive to Visa’s earnings per share in its fiscal year 2011 ending September 30, 2011.
New Monitise Agreement
Today, Visa also signed a new commercial agreement with Monitise to expand delivery of mobile financial services to banked Visa account holders in conjunction with Visa’s financial institution partners. Monitise’s expertise in customizing mobile applications for a broad range of phone models and operating systems enables Visa to virtualize existing Visa accounts on mobile phones and offer Visa account holders globally a new array of payment types.
One key focus of this alliance is the introduction of new mobile services to existing Visa account holders outside the U.S. that enable electronic payments on the go to meet consumers’ daily needs including mobile top-up, utility payments, and transit ticketing.
In addition, Monitise and Visa will launch a mobile banking solution in the U.S. for clients of Visa DPS, Visa’s debit and prepaid processing platform. This new service is designed to enable Visa clients and processing partners in the U.S. to quickly and efficiently offer their customers a suite of services, such as mobile payments, person-to-person payments, mobile transaction alerts and mobile marketing offers.