Mistral Mobile, a provider of mobilisation and white label services to financial services (FS) institutions, is partnering with Alaric, a specialist in fraud prevention and payments processing solutions, to develop a comprehensive, mobile operator agnostic, end-to-end mobile money and micro-payments service.
Mistral Mobile has many small banking customers and users in the micro-finance and mobile money arena, with numerous merchants in developing countries and elsewhere in the world offering its mobile money services. The joint offering with Alaric will use Mistral’s ‘Money Mobility Suite’ for the interface with the mobile devices, supported by Alaric’s Authentic solution for payments transaction processing. This should provide a proven, scalable foundation for the mobile offering, enabling it to deliver a reliable, dependable service as volumes grow, which is also protected against fraud via the allied Fractals solution.
The joint solution addresses the cost and infrastructure challenges of previous implementations, claim the partners, without the need for mobile data connections or partnerships with mobile network operators (MNOs), as in the famous case of M-Pesa in Kenya. The service is technology agnostic, so it can be used by any customer with any mobile phone, opening it up to as many users as possible to encourage widespread adoption.
The partnership between Mistral Mobile and Alaric means that service providers can offer their service to everyone in the market, and they have the ability to update and add new features remotely and automatically, with no need for customer involvement in application updates. The system can connect to banks, card schemes and other payment schemes, and has the flexibility to be integrated into the wider banking system. The mobile solution will also integrate with Alaric’s Fractals fraud prevention technology, giving financial institutions the ability to detect and prevent merchant or micro-agent fraud.
Commenting on the partnership, Ludwig Schulze, chief executive officer (CEO) of Mistral Mobile, said: “While there are mobile payment schemes in place today, many of them are monolithic solutions that can’t be configured to allow new innovations to be delivered to the customer quickly, and are also highly dependent either on the MNOs, or customers having advanced smartphones. By partnering with Alaric, we can offer Mistral Mobile’s knowledge of the mobile arena, with Alaric’s flexible, configurable payment processing engine, to sit at the heart of our mobile financial services offering, which allows us to reach and serve everyone in a market.”
According to Mike Alford, CEO at Alaric, there are approximately 2.5bn under-banked people in the world today. “Where there are high levels of ‘unbanked’ people, there are also very limited bank branch networks,” he says. “There is demand, therefore, among these people for basic banking services especially as they become more affluent, and mobile technology provides an obvious answer. We have taken careful account of the practicalities of delivering mobile payments, including the limitations of prepaid accounts and low 3G penetration in the target [developing countries] market, and Mistral Mobile provides the ideal solution.”