Obopay, the mobile payment service with backing from Nokia, has struck an agreement with the STAR Network to incorporate the STAR Expedited Transfer Service into its Mobile Money for Banks offering.
Obopay’s Mobile Money for Banks allows banks to deploy their own branded mobile money services. Obopay’s service also is available to consumers who visit its website, but its own research and that of other third parties has shown the majority of consumers want to do mobile banking directly with their banks.
STAR is a First Data company and one of the largest bank/debit processing companies in the world. There are about 7,000 banks in the United States and 4,800 of them are on STAR, so it covers the vast majority, says David Schwartz, head of corporate and product marketing for Obopay.
The STAR Network offers transaction speeds that are not possible with Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, which often take several days to process. With this service, Obopay says financial institutions can offer a fast and convenient way for their customers and members to send and receive money using their mobile phones.
The real-time aspect of the service is important because that’s what people have come to expect in the mobile space. “With our model, instant is the key. In the mobile world, people expect it,” Schwartz says.
Obopay doesn’t work directly with U.S. mobile operators, in part due to the lag time it typically takes to settle transactions. In places like Kenya, however, it is working directly with a telecom provider. In some respects, its model is competitive with the bill-to-carrier model where texting is involved for making donations, but when carriers get involved, there’s usually a 90-day settlement process and content providers and charities don’t like those kinds of delays.