US banking giant Citi is teaming with South Korea's SK Telecom to establish a mobile banking joint venture, which will be headquartered in San Francisco.
Citi and SK Telecom are reported to be investing $8 million each in the 50:50 JV, called Mobile Money Ventures. The new unit will be managed by a joint board that will consist of six executives, three from each partner.
In a joint statement, the two companies say the venture will focus on developing an advanced mobile banking platform for service delivery over the Internet as well as via handsets. Services will include NFC-based contactless payments, balance management, budget tracking, stock management and "location-based advertisements and discounts".
Citi says it plans to beta test products with customers in select markets in the second half of 2008.
Commenting on the venture, Ajay Banga, chairman and CEO, Global Consumer Group International, Citi, says: "Partnering with SK Telecom to develop a comprehensive global mobile financial services platform will simplify how our customers manage their finances, ensuring the experience is fast, easy, and secure."
The bank launched a mobile banking application for US customers last year which enables users to view balances, see account activity, pay bills, transfer funds, find a branch or ATM and connect to customer service staff.
Citi has also teamed with California-based start-up Obopay to launch a pilot person-to-person mobile payment service for its credit and debit card customers.
In another move, last month the bank made an equity investment in Silicon Valley-based contactless payments outfit Vivotech.