Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Implications of the Cybersource acquisition for mobile banking

Visa announce last month that they would be acquiring Cybersource for cash. (Read here). The move to acquire this company is clearly an effort to extend the security of VISA payments. Cybersource provides merchant functionality to almost three hundred thousand companies and owns intellectual property that reduce fraud in card payment transactions in the on-line world. During the briefing session, it was reported that Gerry Sweeney (Visa's head of global e-commerce and authentication) said that mobile is clearly a growing and important channel for them. Why did he say that?

Also in another article, Michael Walsh, president and CEO of CyberSource is quoted as saying: “... the platform is built in such a way that adding new mobile capabilities would be fairly seamless “ (Read here). It seems clear that there has been some discussion about the mobile banking implications of this acquisition. Seeing that it is not spelled out what it means, it offers a great opportunity to speculate. This is a few of the scenarios that I could think of:
  • Visa offers a hosted mobile banking solution to issuing banks in a similar way that they offer alert services today.
  • Cybersource is in the process of developing a mobile based, secure authorisation mechanism that will allow card not present transactions to be secured by means of a phone. Alternatively, VISA is considering standardising on some dual authorisation mechanism that will be licensed to vendors (Cybersource being the first one).
  • VISA and Cybersource is working on a "hub" that will sit between mobile and clearing systems. If a bank connects to this "hub" mobile banking transactions will receive priority and value added services (security enhancements)
  • Some of the features of new NFC phones will be supported by VISA switches.
Any other suggestions?

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