Monday, April 02, 2007

mobi VISA

I suppose Visa is as bank as one can get. Most banks are members of VISA - at least those banks that want to be taken seriously. VISA is the pioneer of payments in the world with new products and technology frequently being announced. dotMobi is an organisation that
specialises in the development and promotion of applications and websites for the mobile
device. It would be hard to find something more, well, eh,
mobile. So when VISA decided to invest in dotMobi, anybody interested in mobile banking should sit up and take notice.

VISA did buy a stake in dotMobi recently. Neither party were prepared to disclose more detail, but VISA subsequently registered a few domains -,,, etc. and a few more, but don't try and surf them, because VISA has not yet posted any content to the sites. In the meantime they have the domains.

What is the relevance of this move? Clearly some executives in VISA is of the opinion that the mobile space is important. Important enough to buy a stake in a company like dotMobi. What is unclear though is what the rationale is for VISA to invest in this company. Surely, dotMobi will allow Mastercard to also register and Also, even if VISA makes a nice return on their investment, should they not have applied their capital in a different way (like giving it back to shareholders, or even better cardholders)?

I have difficulty seeing any strategic reason for VISA to take up this equity. But then it is a definite sign that banks are starting to get more of an interest in the mobile space. Maybe this purchase may trigger a renewed interest in mobile banking.

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