Social money on your cell: Citi mobilizes financial transactions

Mobile money: Get social, pay IOU’s on your cell
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
Do you want to Obopay? 

The mobile person-to-person payment service platform is betting you do, touting a “fast and easy way to make payments using mobile phones.” 

Citigroup also believes in the potential of Obopay’s “Social Money” solution. Citi financial services company is gearing up to launch a Obopay-powered real-time, person-to-person mobile payments service for Citi credit and debit card customers to: 

Easily and securely send and receive money instantly via any mobile phone. Remotely track and manage mobile payment accounts by checking balances, viewing payment histories, and adding funds directly from their mobile phone. Funds received via the Citi-Obopay Mobile Person-to-Person service can also be accessed with a debit card provided with the service. 

Carol Realini, Obopay Founder and CEO:

We are making it easier for consumers to instantly send, spend and get cash when its needed most.

"Get Money, Send Money, Spend Money" are the mottos of Obopay, all via any mobile phone, the fun and social way!

Realini underscores Obopay is not just about enabling access to money on the go, it is about empowering “social money” experiences: 

For a society that pays so much for convenience, it’s ironic how inconvenient money itself has become. We’re making money convenient again with new social money services.

Obopay describes “social money” as the money that passes between people when they engage in shared consumer experiences, such as: 

Roomates spliting living expenses (rent, utilities…)
Travelers sharing a hotel room,
Co-workers pooling money for an office gift
Friends dining together… 

Obopay believes that as friends, family and co-workers do more things together, there can be confusion and conflict over who owes what. Obopay to the resuce: “Obopay’s social money services remove the tension.”

How? Obopay promises “All you need is a mobile phone and your friend’s mobile phone number, Whether you choose to use Obopay via text messaging, your phone's Internet browser or download Obopay onto your phone.” Obopay also promises a $5 prepaid MasterCard start-up bonus.



Obay uses a prepaid debit model in which users add money to their Obopay accounts in advance of purchases. Money may be added to an Obopay account through: Obopay merchant locations, Interactive Voice Response, Obopay website (obopay.com), and customer service representative. Account holders then have access to these funds through their mobile phones to make and receive payments, and check account activity. As a software solution, Obopay only requires users to have a mobile phone and Obopay account. There is no additional hardware or Internet access required. 

An Obopay account is created through the Website or customer service center. One registered, a unique PIN is given to the user to verify all transactions. Upon registering, the account holder enters their mobile phone number to have the Obopay Mobile Application pushed to their phone. Once installed, they can begin using Obopay for their financial transactions. 

To users, Obopay transactions are seamless. They simply send a message from their mobile phones to the Obopay server using the application. The server validates the transaction and transfers the funds or responds to the user’s request for account information. 

An Obopay account holder can send money to any SMS-enabled handset user, even if they do not have the Obopay application or an Obopay account. The recipient will get a text message indicating that funds have been transferred in their name. To get access to these funds, the recipient will need to register their own Obopay account. Minimal transactions fees apply.


The Obopay Mobile Application is based on the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE). Development plans include support for every protocol and every phone operating system. 

The Obopay system incorporates security, communication, ledger, currency, fraud, reporting and administration. Incoming and outgoing transaction requests are processed by HTTP or Web Services commands. 


Qualcomm is an Obopay strategic partner. Obopay also garnered $10 million in Series A funding a year ago from Redpoint Ventures, Onset Ventures and Richmond Capital, undoubtedly not delivered “social money” style, however.

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