Boost Mobile, the pre-paid subsidiary of US telco Sprint, is to move into the mobile financial services market with the launch of a full-service virtual wallet account linked to a physical Visa pre-paid card.
The Boost Mobile Wallet, developed by Wipit, comes complete with a reloadable Visa cash card that can be used at all Visa-affiliated stores and ATMs.
The Wallet app can also be used to pay bills and transfer cash to friends in 135 countries through RIA Financial's international remittance network. Boost says it also plans to add a smart deposit facility so users can scan cheques on their Android smartphones and load them into their account.
The service is targetted at the more than 20% of US households that do not have access to a bank account and plastic cards.
The application is available as a free download at the Google Play Store, and at select authorised indirect retailers in markets that include Los Angeles, San Diego and parts of New Jersey. A national rollout starts this summer and continues through the end of the year.
Separately, US e-payments operator Vesta has launched a smartphone application that enables mobile operators to offer core financial services to their prepaid customers. Powered by partnerships with Xoom, PreCash and Prepaid.com, the PayMobile app builds on Vesta's core account reload platform to include money transfer, bill payment and international top-up services. The wallet is slated for launch in the second half of 2013.