* Plans trials starting in April
* Declines to disclose investment amount
NEW YORK, Feb 22 JPMorgan Chase & Co plans to start testing a mobile payments service in April using an application from GoPago Inc, a start-up in which the bank is making a cash investment.
The GoPago service would allow consumers to use their mobile phones to order and pay for local goods or services and then show the merchant a receipt on the phone screen when picking up a purchase.
In exchange for the investment of an undisclosed sum, JPMorgan Chase said it will be the first financial services company to partner with GoPago, which will also open its service to other bank partners.
The bank will kick off a trial of the GoPago service in San Francisco in April, followed by another trial in Dallas soon afterwards, Jack Stephenson, the head of mobile banking apps for JPMorgan Chase, told Reuters in an interview.
The idea is that the application would give the bank an opportunity to extend its services to its current customers and appeal to other consumers and businesses.
An addition to allowing individuals to use their phones to pay for everything from dog food to haircuts, the application will provide small businesses with a kind of mobile storefront.
"If you're a mom-and-pop store you don't have the resources to set up something like an Amazon has," Stephenson said.
The venture with GoPago is the latest in a series of investments and tests that JPMorgan Chase has been making in mobile transactions. The bank has internally developed applications, such as Quickpay, a person-to-person payment system, and Quickdeposit, which uses use cameras on mobile devices. It has also entered partnerships and made investments in other companies in the field.