French mobile operator Orange and one of the country’s leading banks BNP Paribas have joined forces to launch what they claim will be France’s first “entirely mobile” banking service. The service will become available in November this year. The two companies have formed a partnership and signed a trademark licence agreement to launch what they claim will be an innovative service. Advisers in all 2,250 branches of BNP Paribas will offer the service from the autumn. It will also be available online. The new service will enable customers to manage their bank accounts and make payments from their mobile phones. The partners aim to equip “thousands” of the bank’s customers with smartphones over the next three years.
Orange has already made several moves in its home market on the mobile banking and payments front. Earlier this year it linked up with the country’s two other mobile operators to form a payments venture called Buyster. The venture, which was billed as having a mid-2011 launch date, is aimed at mobile as well as online payments. The operator has also launched a commercial NFC mobile payment service in the French city of Nice and plans to equip 500,000 of its customers with NFC-enabled handsets by the end of 2011.
According to Delphine Ernotte, executive vice-president at Orange France, the new partnership with BNP Paribas represents “an opportunity to explore new territories and to continue offering customers more and more innovative services.”
For its part, BNP Paribas claims it was the first bank to be available on Apple’s iPad just after the tablet’s launch last year. It also has over 300,000 customers who bank through their mobile phones each month. And it was involved in trialling NFC technology in Nice. BNP Paribas has worked with Orange before in jointly launching a mobile payment and money transfer service in Cote d’Ivoire.