CheckFree Corporation (NASDAQ:CKFR) and Firethorn Holdings, LLC, today announced an exclusive partnership agreement to deliver mobile banking and bill payment services to financial institutions.
The partnership will leverage Firethorn's mobile banking and payments solution to enable consumers to use their mobile devices to view account balances, check credit card balances, transfer funds between accounts, and receive and pay household bills. This service is currently deployed at a financial institution and will be generally available in early 2007.
"The new mobile banking and payment service will provide the most powerful, secure and flexible solution on the market," said Matt Lewis, executive vice president and general manager of the CheckFree Electronic Commerce Division. "Firethorn is an ideal partner to bring mobile connectivity to our electronic billing and payment processing services because their technology is uniquely designed to support use on virtually any mobile device. The mobile channel offers the exciting potential to increase the frequency of consumers' online banking and electronic bill payment usage, while helping banks, credit unions and other financial institutions build and retain more profitable relationships with their customers."
Firethorn's downloadable application supports virtually any cell phone or mobile device. The Firethorn application also provides multiple levels of security, including PIN authorization and lockout, contents clearing if the phone is lost or stolen, data encryption, two-factor authentication, and security via the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. Even when a wireless connection is lost, consumers can be assured that their transaction will process automatically when a signal becomes available.
CheckFree will host the Firethorn application on the same robust, secure and stable financial services platform that annually processes more than one billion transactions, including online, walk-in, phone and automatic debit payments.
"Joining forces with CheckFree will enable both companies to drive new mobile financial solutions to the marketplace and onto the mobile screens of millions of Americans," saiid Firethorn Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tripp Rackley. "CheckFree is an important partner for Firethorn because of its world-class infrastructure, reputation for operational excellence, innovative payments solutions and respected leadership among leading financial institutions and billers."
Americans are showing an increasing appetite for a host of new mobile data and entertainment applications. A recent survey, conducted for CheckFree by MQA Research, found that 49 percent of 1,023 survey respondents would use a mobile banking and payments application if offered to them. Approximately 70 percent of respondents said they would prefer to receive the service from financial institutions. Younger consumers in the 25 to 34 age group expressed the most interest in mobile banking and payment services.