GoBank Holding Off on Mobile Payments Until Apple and Walmart Commit to a Standard

February 1, 2013

no_gobankGreen Dot CEO Steven Streit indicated that GoBank, Green Dot’s checking account product, would not move forward in mobile payments until the payments space settled down and a standard was established for the industry.

Green Dot launched GoBank, its mobile-only checking account, to great acclaim on January 15. The product is part of a new wave of checking account and and checking account-like products such as Simple, Bluebird, and Movenbank.

In yesterday’s earnings call Streit said:

“It’s NFC versus cloud and probably everybody will lose whenever Apple decides to make a move left or right, I guess (inaudible) or Walmart. I think Walmart and Apple are the only two companies big enough to change industries and whether they choose cloud NFC or something in between, then everybody will know what to do with mobile payments. But until then, there’s nothing for us to do with mobile payments.”

Streit also discussed increasing pressure from prepaid bank cards, such as Chase Liquid, and in retail stores, particularly Walmart, its primary retail outlet. Walmart has shifted focus to its own product, Bluebird, but Green Dot revenue from Walmart in Q4 was still up 14% over last year.

Despite the emphasis on GoBank for Green Dot’s future, cards are the company’s bread and butter. Total revenue per active card increased 8% in Q4 to $31.68 per card.

GoBank will roll out for general customers by May or June 2013, and Streit expressed¬†optimism for GoBank’s growth, saying, “We expect to have broader distribution for GoBank by the end of this year than we have achieved for prepaid products after 12 years.”

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