TIO Networks (TSX.V : TNC.V), North America's trusted expedited bill payment processor, today announced it will launch a cloud based wallet platform, TIO Wallet, designed to help the estimated 60 million Americans who have limited access to mainstream financial products.
TIO Wallet will provide cash preferred customers with a tool designed to serve as a centralized hub for their personal financial activities.
Wallet customers will be able to safely and securely load cash into their personal Wallet account through TIO's expansive retail network of self-service automated kiosks and over-the-counter locations. Once loaded, customers can use TIO smartphone or web apps to make last minute bill payments, track their bill paying history or engage in other Wallet services. TIO Wallet is bank agnostic and supports payments from bank accounts as well as credit or debit cards from financial service providers around the world.
"Finally, a Wallet designed from the ground up to meet the evolving needs of the underbanked consumer," said Hamed Shahbazi, Chairman and CEO of TIO Networks. "The vast majority of TIO's $1B worth of transactions per year, support the underbanked marketplace. We know what is important to this customer and are proud to serve them."
TIO Wallet will primarily target the approximate 17 million Americans who do not have access to mainstream financial products such as bank accounts and low-cost loans. It will also benefit the additional 43 million Americans who have access to a bank account, but rely on costly financial service providers, paying more for basic transactions and credit.
"TIO's transition from transactions to accounts will have a profound impact on their customer base," said Arjan Schutte, senior advisor for the Center for Financial Services Innovation. "It maintains the same ease of use customers enjoy today, but allows for a migration to the financial mainstream, including a greater range of lower cost products that will help upward mobility."
By using TIO Wallet, consumers who demonstrate a pattern of financial credibility will eventually be eligible for affordable loans and other traditional banking services not commonly offered to America's unbanked or underbanked populations. TIO Wallet is supported around the clock every day of the year by a live help desk in English and Spanish.
TIO's Wallet technology already supports more than 150,000 subscribers who have processed more than $40M worth of bill payments on its new mobile platform in the last year. TIO's goal is to roll out Wallet accounts to more than 1M consumers by the end of 2012, making it one of the most substantial wallet programs in North America. The first phase of TIO Wallet is scheduled to roll out this spring with the launch of "TIO MobilePay" a mobile bill payment application powered by TIO Wallet.