MFoundry Gets $18M from Various Investors, Becomes Mobile Payments Crossroad

Late last week MasterCard, an American multinational financial services corporation, and MFoundry, the leading provider of mobile banking and payment solutions in the U.S., announced their colaboration that would take mobile banking to a whole new level by combining MasterCard’s Tap & Go PayPass technology with mFoundry’s mobile financial services platform.  The goal is to make mobile contactless payments accessible to more consumers.  Mobile PayPass, which uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, enables people to make fast, convenient, and secure payments by simply tapping their NFC phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at a merchant check-out.

“This collaboration with mFoundry is going to allow more banks, credit unions and mobile phone operators around the world to offer their customers the convenience and security of Mobile PayPass,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard. “By using the power of a smartphone, consumers can simply tap and pay for goods and services.”

“By working with MasterCard, mFoundry will be able to evolve and expand its financial services platforms to reach more consumers through new and existing clients,” said Drew Sievers, CEO and Co-Founder of mFoundry. “MasterCard shares our philosophy on how to enable its clients with mobile payments and we are thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with them to bring their PayPass solution to our clients.”

And today, MFoundry announced an $18 million funding in a round led by MasterCard Incorporated with the participation of industry capitals industry leaders Intel Capital, FIS, and Motorola Mobility.  Intel and MasterCard are new MFoundry investors.

The capital will be used to fund the development of new payments-related mobile products and services targeted at financial institutions and mobile network operators. mFoundry will also use the proceeds to support the expansion of their existing and profitable mobile banking business.

“The opportunity in mobile financial services is enormous” noted Sievers. “While our existing mobile banking business is scaling rapidly, there are many other related opportunities that we believe can add significant incremental value to our company. I’m grateful to have such a deep and supportive group of strategic investors behind us.”

Motorola Mobility, an early investor of mFoundry, is a company that is in the process of being acquired by Google.  Now Google has been showing interest in mobile payments, pushing for innovation to improve on their own Google Wallet service.  If the acquisition moves forward, Google will also get their hands on this investment, which could be beneficial for the company.

Unfortunately, with Google’s track record of hacking services and products, there’s really no telling what may happen once the acquisition has been finalized.  Speaking of which, Google Wallet is not available on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Verizon because they will be utilizing Isis, the mobile payment Verizon is developing with AT&T and T-Mobile.  It’s a major loss for Google, but the company has a long line of alternatives to further its mobile payments initiative.

As for other mobile payment news, Hello Wallet provider of technology-based personalized financial guidance to employees of Fortune 1000 companies and other large institutions, recently released their iPhone app, which is among the first to provide location-based spending guidance.  The app provides information of your available spending balance, your spending history for a month or even a year for a specific establishment.

“People make the majority of their financial transactions on the go. With HelloWallet for iPhone, you’ll be able to get personalized financial guidance wherever you are,” said HelloWallet Founder & CEO Matt Fellowes. “We’re excited to tap into someone’s location via the mobile phone to make our advice & recommendations that much more relevant.”
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and Telefonica, a Spanish mobile phone operator, announced their mobile wallet service and by next year, Visa will also be  releasing their take on the mobile payment scheme.

Though not everyone has adapted to the mobile payment method, there’s already a variety or services to choose from, making it hard for consumers to determine the best method to use.  But rest assured, by 2012 you can bet that even more mobile payment services will be available, making such a decision even more difficult.  Personal finance in general is getting more personalized, so we’re likely to see more integration across credit cards, mobile technology and banking apps to centralize much of your monetary activity.