FSTC and Clearing House Payments Company launch m-payments initiative

Source: The Clearing House Payments Company

The Clearing House Payments Company (TCH) and the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) today announced a joint initiative to help the financial services industry identify ways to facilitate mobile payments for consumers and businesses.

The two organizations are working together to identify ways banks, mobile operators and handset manufacturers can work together to facilitate the use of mobile devices for making payments. The first step in the process is to assess the current environment and then use that information to evaluate the feasibility of establishing standard infrastructures, interfaces and processes for mobile payments.

The initiative will focus specifically on two areas:
  1. Mobile proximity payments, which are payments made at attended or unattended point-of-sale terminals using near field communications (NFC) or other contactless technologies, and
  2. Mobile person-to-person (P2P) payments, which involve the movement of funds from one individual/account to another.

"I am pleased with the launch of this essential joint initiative," said Tom Vicknair, FSTC Chairman and Operations Senior Vice President at JPMorgan Chase. "Mobile commerce and payments are increasingly important to the financial services industry and our customers. Together, these two groups will provide leadership for this important and growing channel."

The Clearing House members will provide business and operational expertise to the effort, while the Financial Services Technology Consortium will facilitate the technical and standards related activities.

Rick Leander, Executive Vice President of The Clearing House responsible for its Strategic Forum, said: "Our working assumption is that establishing standards early in the evolution of mobile payments would be a winning proposition for all parties. Our initial research and discussions with our members will give us the information we need to assess the opportunities and potential road blocks."

Members of The Clearing House participating in the initiative so far include LaSalle Bank, BB&T, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Comerica, HSBC, KeyBank, National City, PNC, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo.

"It makes sense for these two groups to facilitate and streamline the industry's efforts to advance mobile payments," said Lou Anne Alexander, SVP, Director of Wachovia's Payment Strategies Group. "Many banks belong to both forums and their individual areas of expertise are quite complementary. Given the projected growth in mobile payments, this is an opportune time to lay its foundation."

According to a February 2006 report by Celent, global mobile commerce revenues are expected to rise from $24 billion in 2006 to $55 billion by 2008. In Japan and some countries in Europe, mobile phones are already used to make a wide range of payments.

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