Société Générale has partnered with Monitise to launch a cloud-based mobile banking service that will be gradually rolled out across Africa, a deal described as a “significant step forward” for the troubled UK software provider.

The service, developed alongside IBM, will be available in the first African country before the end of 2015, addressing the needs of customers in geographically remote areas and those with a lack of access to digital infrastructure. SocGen is present in 18 African countries, and serves three million clients - including 150,000 businesses - on the continent.

Monitise's UK customers include Lloyds Bank and Virgin Money ©Flickr/Derek Duncan
Monitise's UK customers include Lloyds Bank and Virgin Money ©Flickr/Derek Duncan

The app will be hosted on a secure cloud infrastructure, said Société Générale, and will feature invoice payments and information on the location of branches and ATMs, as well as account consulting, bank transfers and secure messaging systems.

The deal is one of two “multi-million dollar” contracts announced by Monitise in February, citing two unnamed two major financial services clients.

It comes as the firm attempts a significant transformation of its business, with founder Alastair Lukies recently stepping down from his role as co-CEO. This followed the conclusion of a strategic review that will see the company remain independent, having opened itself up to offers for a takeover.

The software provider has been struggling to overhaul its business after declaring last year that it would move to a subscription-based selling model. This is despite a number of customer wins including Virgin Money and Lloyds, as well as investment deals with Santander, Telefonica and Mastercard.

The SocGen contract will give Monitise a boost as it seeks to expand its user base and increase profits, said TechMarketView analyst Peter Roe. “This is a significant step forward for Monitise as it rolls out a broader range of services on its new platform and builds towards its stated targets of 200m users in FY 2018 and EBITDA profitability in FY2016.”

He added that the software firm’s partnership with IBM will be key to gaining greater traction with large financial services customers.

“The relationship with IBM is central to Monitise’s future, with access to global cloud infrastructure, professional services and also the significant customer-facing capability,” he said.

“This partnership will be particularly important as Monitise progresses as an independent company.”