According to NFC Times, NatWest Bank and mobile phone operator Telefónica O2 will be ending the partnership between the two parties involving previous partnership deals for Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payments (O2 Money) and prepaid payment cards. Right now, Telefónica O2, a wireless carrier in the United Kingdom, is looking for new partnership to replace NatWest Bank.
NatWest and Telefónica O2 are owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and both parties decided to go into a joint venture during the summer of 2009 called O2 Money which offered three Visa branded prepaid credit cards intended to be utilized with several mobile banking services the company offers.
Subsequently, both Telefónica O2 and NatWest Bank were going to get into the NFC mobile payments sector if the O2 venture had become successful by offering O2 Wallet of which test pilot programs had been conducted and finished the previous year. The partnership between Telefónica O2 and NatWest Bank was supposed to be very competitive against France Telecom-Orange of UK which is the largest wireless carrier in the UK utilizing Barclaycard as the card issuer; Barclaycard actually has its own payment cards products and is planning on jumping into the NFC mobile payment space shortly.
NatWest plans to be more focused on their core banking products and services as the number one priority. Replacing NatWest for O2 Money program to a new banking partner will be a process that will be carefully reviewed during the selection process and migration over to a new banking platform will take about a year to complete as the company wants to ensure that current customers using O2 Money services experience minimal service disruption during the implementation process.
Many believe whoever the new bank partnership is with, for this to work, O2 would need a huge customer based by establishing new accounts because most consumers interested in O2 Money service will not just go out of their way to change banks in order to use the service.
Source: NFC Times