Monitise picks up mobile payments patent

The patent covers a way to enable shoppers to create and use a ‘virtual payment card’ so they can make payments in shops and online with their mobile phone without divulging their card details.

MONITISE CEO: 'This has been a breakthrough year for us'

Mobile banking, payments and commerce provider Monitise has been granted a patent for a technique that allows ‘virtual card details’ to be generated on a mobile phone.

The virtual card acts like a prepaid digital voucher and can be created for a fixed amount or for a specified period of validity. Consumers can then make purchases in stores or on the internet without having to divulge data from their credit or debit cards such as personal account numbers, card expiry dates and security codes.

“Our innovative technology allows consumers to shop in situations where they have credit and debit cards but don’t want to use them or they don’t have access to such cards,” says Alastair Lukies, chief executive of Monitise.

“Whether it is a consumer setting up a prepaid voucher for themselves, a family member or friend to shop, or a consumer without access to bank accounts, we help people shop when they want and how they want securely and simply.”

Monitise announced earlier this month that its revenues more than doubled in the year to end June 2011, from £6m (US$9.9m) to £14m ($23m) and that revenues are on course to double again this year.

“This has been a breakthrough year for us,” Lukies explained at a press conference held to discuss the annual results. “We know we’ve got a long way to go, we’ve invested heavily in the mobile money technology and ecosystem and it’s now breaking through. Demand for what we do is at the highest level we’ve ever seen it.”

The company was able to report a growing order book, including the recent five year strategic contract with Visa.

On NFC, CIO Mike Keyworth commented that he expects the technology to spread in North America over coming months, referring to Visa’s payWave EMV merchant terminal push in the region. Visa has promised to reduce merchant charges if they deploy EMV card readers that are also NFC-compliant, and take a high percentage of chip and pin-based transactions. With Visa Inc and Visa Europe both partners of Monitise, this will help open the door to transactions conducted with NFC-enabled devices once handsets are on the market.

Group strategy director Richard Johnson added: “If you’re a bank, over the past five years you’ve been quite a big tease on NFC, as you’ve done a trial and spoken about it. But the handsets aren’t out there yet; no one knows what handsets are going to have NFC, or how it will work. What you want to know is the app you’ve got for your customers can take advantage of the technology when it actually happens. What we say is when NFC happens, we will be interoperable with it, we are ready and architected for it, and we will have the relationships required to make it work.”

• Additional reporting by Heather McLean.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions