Obopay and Firethorn face chop as Citi streamlines mobile strategy

Obopay and Firethorn face chop as Citi streamlines mobile strategy

Citi has ended its three year mobile money test with Obopay and appears set to dump its relationship with m-banking supplier Firethorn as part of a global enterprise-wide evaluation of its wireless strategy.

The US giant has invested heavily in mobile banking and payments in recent years, working with mFoundry and contactless specialist Vivotech as well as Obopay and Firethorn.

Citi and Obopay launched a limited P2P payments trial for the bank's credit and debit card customers in Boston and Chicago in February 2007 before widening the trial out to all US customers the following year.

Citi, which has also invested in Obopay, says the test has now ended and the results are being evaluated.

Just last week, the bank's JV with South Korea's SK Telecom, Mobile Money Ventures (MMV), teamed with another vendor, called CPNI, on a similar person-to-person transfer service.

Another vendor that seems likely to be abandoned by Citi is Firethorn. The two partnered last year to provide the bank's credit card customers with access to real-time account information via their handsets.

However, Marylou Dowd, SVP, Citi Mobile, told American Banker that the bank is "re-evaluating" the relationship, with a decision likely in the next few months.

The change is part of a move to improve the cohesiveness of Citi's mobile strategy across units and geographies, Dowd told the magazine.

Citi's Mobile Picture to Get Sharper - American Banker

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