UK IT services group Morse is rolling out its secure mobile banking service - called Monitise - which has been developed in partnership with the Link Interchange Network.
The venture, which was originally slated for launch in the first half of last year, is now being rolled out in phases, which commenced with a group of first direct customers in July 2006. Banks using the system are able to provide branded mobile banking services to customers.
The Monitise mobile banking platform, which is branded Monilink, is offered in the UK through mobileATM Limited, Morse's 50:50 joint venture with Link.
Following three and a half years' of development, Morse says the m-banking business is now at a stage "where it can begin to generate revenues". However the unit racked up losses of £3.2m in the year ending June 30th 2006, compared to a loss of £2.1m a year earlier.
To use the service, consumers need to download an application onto their phone. As with online banking, once registered and authenticated, customers will have secure access to their accounts. Initial services include balance enquiries and mini-statements. Morse says mobile top-up services will be introduced in line with HSBC's launch of the system at the beginning of September.
First direct and its parent company HSBC are the first banks - and so far the only banks - in the UK to sign up to provide banking services over the network. But Morse says it is at a "well progressed stage" in discussions with other Link members including Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Morse says the Link network could provide access to a card base of 85 million and it anticipates having 440,000 Monlink customers in 2007, assuming a 2.8% service adoption, growing to over 5 million potential customers in 2010 assuming an eight per cent take up.
The vendor says current forecasts suggest that adoption rates for mobile phone banking services could be faster than those relating to the use of physical ATMs or Internet banking.
The group says it has developed a franchising model for Monitise, with an upfront fee, minimum annual fees and a percentage of the revenues, for maximising international growth. Currently, 12 new countries are being evaluated for suitability.
Over the past few years, Morse has transitioned its business away from being a pure IT hardware reseller into a consulting, technology and support company.
Morse has now formally split the business in two, with one part being made up of Monitise and the other consisting of a combined IT services, systems integration and reseller operation.
Richard Lapthorne, chairman of Morse, says: "Each of the two businesses, Morse and Monitise, have quite different characteristics and it is appropriate that each operates separately under the Morse Group umbrella."