Dwolla Introduces New Push-to-debit Platform

September 17, 2020
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DwollaDwolla, an online payments platform, released a Push-to-Debit functionality that they said will allow faster payouts to a debit card and give clients additional flexibility.

“We have been moving money for quite some time,” VP of Product Ben Schmitt said, “In doing so, we’ve learned a lot about what our customers want.”

Founded in 2008, the Dwolla team has worked to incorporate many different ways for their users to move money. They offer same day, next day, and other payment types, but said customers were always looking for ways to transfer funds faster. Now with Press-to-Debit, Dwolla offers a way to shift funds instantaneously, a product that they say fits many use cases.

“It could be the gig economy, it could be online marketplaces, but people want to move funds faster,” Schmitt said. “And I think especially during a pandemic, getting funds quickly adds a lot of value.”

Dwolla wanted to offer the platform’s simplicity with debit speed. Schmitt said the process is PCI security compliant and nearly instantaneous, though it might take up to 30 minutes.

“The value of instant payments is in getting the funds now when you need them, but there’s an emotional response,” Schmitt said. “When you see the funds hit and they’re instant- when you push a button and show up just like that, it’s fascinating.”

It works not just for debit, but prepaid cards, meaning businesses paying employees or customers don’t need a relationship with a bank to get funds transferred.

“If you’re a gig worker and do some work during the day and finished your shift, you can use an app or website and clock out,” Schmitt said. “Then a business has a record of the work performed, and say ok, here’s the agreed-upon payment and issue that to you right away.”

Checkout in the time of COVID

August 10, 2020
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point of salePoint-of-sale (POS) lenders, also referred to as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firms, allow shoppers to break up their individual purchases into installments, often without interest. By adding BNPL as an option at checkout or further upstream in the purchase process, the consumer’s buying power is increased and they are often less likely to abandon their checkout cart. It is a win / win for all stakeholders.

For these reasons, POS lending is one of the fastest growing segments in unsecured credit, with volume increasing at 40 percent year-over-year. COVID has further accelerated the demand for credit options at checkout.

According to McKinsey, annual growth is expected to jump to 150 percent thanks to an explosion in online shopping and government subsidy programs boosting retail sales. In Canada, firms such as Uplift, Paays, and PayBright are all seeing merchant demand skyrocket for their services, with the latter onboarding over 250 merchants per month.


POS lenders are able to subsidize APRs by charging the merchant a fee of 4-6 percent of the purchase price. This is on average 2 percent more than the fees charged by credit cards companies. Despite the larger fee, BNPL is very attractive for retailers for a number of reasons. By providing point of sale financing retailers see:

  • 30% increase in basket size
  • 25% reduction in cart abandonment
  • 20% increase in repeat traffic

With installment payments as an alternative, credit cards have seen a decrease in popularity among young shoppers, particularly on smaller ticket items under $500. There are a number of reasons why:

1. Clunky signup experience. Signing up for a credit card at checkout requires lots of paper, personal information, signatures and significant patience – antithetical to the one-tap checkout shoppers are accustomed to. Alternatively, BNPL approval is instant at checkout. 75% of merchants even advertise POS financing far before the register, at the beginning of the customer journey which can increase conversion by two to three times.

2. Challenge to qualify. 19 percent of consumers ages 22 to 30 lacked the credit history to be approved for credit cards in the first place. Many BNPL products do not perform credit checks, and those that do use alternative data sources to underwrite thin-file borrowers.

3. High APRs. With their parent’s household debt in their rear view mirror, many younger shoppers have an aversion to carrying revolving credit balances. Millennials on average carry two fewer cards than their parents. Psychologically, $1000 on your credit card looks scarier than four installments of $250 over time.

4. Customer confusion. Inactivity fees, late fees, over-the-limit fees, cash advance fees, are all poorly understood and masked within dense monthly statements. BNPL offers an elegant digital first experience and straightforward reporting.

The Supporting Cast

Today POS lenders are competing in a land grab for merchant partnership. But for FIs and fintechs who have yet to plant their flags, there are still ways of participating in the BNPL boom.

  • Banks. Banks have largely participated indirectly in the BNPL sector, by providing portfolio financing to fintechs or by offering installment options for larger ticket items within their existing credit card programs. Wayne Pommen, CEO of PayBright, sees more bank and fintech collaboration in the next few years: “I predict more buying and partnering, Banks are too far behind to build this themselves.” Marcus Pay, the recently launched retail banking arm of Goldman Sachs is the only group to directly compete in the POS financing ring, with JetBlue as their launch partner.
  • Platforms. E-commerce enablers that power millions of independent merchants are piling in to embed POS financing within their platforms. Marketplaces Ebay and Etsy have partnered with Afterpay and Klarna, while the digital infrastructure whale Shopify has an agreement with Affirm.
  • Cards. Traditional credit card companies who have the most to lose from BNPL are getting ahead of the trend in several ways. Visa took a controlling stake in Klarna in 2007. More recently they launched Visa Installments, a developer tool for issuers in the Visa network to pilot branded installment products. Though Visa Installments stretches the definition of BNPL, David Fry, CEO of travel financing startup Paays does not mind the ambiguity. “I am not religious about the distinction between cards and installments. What we care about is what the customer is looking for, and what they have to pay to get access to that product”.

POS Lending has the potential to transform consumer lending as it’s evolution is inextricably tied to the growth of e-commerce. It is all about understanding the needs of the shopper and their digital journey. POS lenders are making it increasingly easy for merchants to streamline the buyer path to purchase.

Google Pay Launches SMB Loans in India, Plans to Expand American Features

June 30, 2020
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Google OfficeThis week Google announced that it is expanding its service offerings in India, with small and medium-sized businesses in the country now being able to apply for loans via the Google Pay for Business app. The result of partnerships with banks, Google also announced that it will be rolling all of its SMB-related services into one platform; these include Google My Business, an app that allows owners to make a business profile and get a Google Maps listing; and Google Pay Spot, which lets entrepreneurs customize their digital storefront, as seen by customers in the Google Pay app.

This is just the latest of features released in India by the tech giant, with it launching the ability to transfer money between Google Pay users earlier this year. What makes this interesting though is that in a recent interview with Business Insider, a Google spokesperson noted that the company’s decisions in global markets have become increasingly more influenced by its trialing of new features in India.

“We’re always trying to understand and learn from changing consumer behaviors worldwide so we can build more helpful features,” the spokesperson explained. “Our learnings from Google Pay in India will enable us to make digital money experiences simple, helpful, and accessible and create new economic opportunities for both users and our partners around the world.”

So does this mean Google will soon be joining the likes of Square and Clover and begin offering funding to American small businesses? The future is not so clear, but with the company announcing two weeks ago that it plans to incorporate digital storefronts into Google Pay, serving as an in-app portal to purchase goods, it appears that long-time features of the Indian version are beginning to bleed into the American counterpart.

Having announced its intentions to offer checking accounts in 2020, and with leaks earlier this year pointing towards a Google Pay debit card, it appears as if Google is following in the steps of its rival, Apple, and wading further into the financial services sector.

Kabbage Introduces Customized Short Term Loans

February 4, 2020
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kabbageToday Kabbage, the Atlanta-based fintech company that has been funding businesses since 2009, announced its latest product: customized short-term loans that are a result of the combination of Kabbage Payments and Kabbage Funding.

The loans, which run for the length of 3-45 days, are best suited to those businesses who need funding to cover issues in cash flow caused by the unpredictability of revenue, says Kabbage’s Head of Income Products Abraham Williams. “Rent and payroll are on set days every month, but getting paid is variable. We’ve done loans for 6, 12, and 18 months, and we’ve seen that people pay those off sooner, so we saw a need to have a short-term loan to fill gaps in cash flow.”

The terms of such loans will be decided upon by making use of the aggregate data that Kabbage has access to. With its customers providing a number of data points, such as their Amazon account, banking details, payment processes, and social media accounts, Kabbage is in “a really unique position because of the way that we make decisions on loans for small businesses,” notes Williams. “We can really see a very complete picture of a business, which can be different than how other people are essentially underwriting and assessing risk for loans.”

Two options are available for repayment: a traditional balloon payment to be paid at the end of the 45-day period, or a percentage of each sale made using Kabbage Payments going towards repayment. The latter of these provides more flexibility, with merchants being able to choose the percentage of each sale that is to go toward Kabbage and, as well as this, the fee attached to the Kabbage Payments option is smaller.

With the fee’s amount and terms being dictated by aggregated data, Kabbage is describing them as “dynamic,” providing individualized offers. Fees begin at 0.1% with the minimum amount to be borrowed being $500 and the maximum set at 10% of a merchant’s available line of credit for the short-term.

Apple’s Credit Card Looms Despite No Clear Launch Date

July 14, 2019
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apple card“A new kind of credit card. Created by Apple, not a bank.”

Now plastered across Apple’s website, these words signal the company’s next advancement into finance with Apple Card, the new credit card service it is launching later this summer. And they’re only half true.

While it is a novel take on credit cards, it’s not entirely free of banking’s influence, as Goldman Sachs has partnered with Apple for it. According to Margaret Keane, CEO of Synchrony Financial, the largest provider of store credit cards, there “were a lot of us” bidding for the partnership with Apple, “us” being banks and card providers, but Goldman came out on top.

The spoils of war being won in this case are a 2023 earnings-per-share gain of 2% by 2023 for Goldman, as well as the responsibility of managing all card payment disputes. The latter of which being an anomaly amongst Apple services, as the company has a history of overseeing all aspects of the customer experience.

What Apple stands to gain in comparison is a 1% gain by 2023. Being below the industry average, neither of these forecasts are something to be excited about. But these figures aren’t surprising, with the card offering no fees and low interest rates it appears as if Apple Card will be launched with the hope of staking some of the market share rather than seeing profits soar.

Offering financial statements and analysis via an app, as well as being available in two forms, a digital card in Apple Wallet and a titanium card that features no numbers on it, front or back, Apple Card bares a striking similarity to the recent trend of app-based banking witnessed in Europe, with the likes of N26 and Revolut booming in popularity in previous years.

Where Apple differs from these companies is that it specializes in credit, thus it offers a range of features unique to both the format and their position as a near-omnipresent tech giant. Auto-fill integration with Safari; cash back on each purchase made with Apple Card, being 3% on any Apple products purchased, 2% on non-Apple purchases, and 1% when using your Apple Card at a vendor who doesn’t accept Apple Pay; an APR range of 13.24-24.24; and options for when you’d prefer to pay your interest, complete with clear payment schedules, are all being promised. As well as this, Apple is hoping to combat the common inconvenience of cryptic merchant names that pop up in statements. Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of Apple Pay, explained that “With Apple Card we use machine learning and Apple Maps to transform this mess into names and locations that you’ll recognize.”

All of this was outlined back in March, when Tim Cook took to the stage in Cupertino, California to claim that Apple is making the “most significant change” to credit cards in five decades. But months have passed since this assertion, and as the vague release date of “summer” offers no specificity to Apple fans who are holding their breath, those who are curious about Apple Card are left to be satisfied by the infrequent reviews that slip out from Apple employees who are enrolled in the program’s beta.

We’ll find out if the wait will be worth it sometime soon, probably, but until then there’s always the 1986 Apple credit card that can be ogled at until Apple Card is released to the public.

Affirm Partners with Walmart for Payments

February 28, 2019
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WalmartWalmart customers can now pay for items using credit from Affirm, the online consumer lender announced yesterday. Walmart customers can find out how much they qualify for online and then make online or in-store purchases with in three, six or twelve monthly installments. A credit decision is made in real time and does not affect the customer’s credit score, according to Affirm.     

“Walmart serves millions and has become a leader in the retail landscape with its commitment to help shoppers ‘save money and live better,’ which closely mirrors our own mission to ‘improve lives’ with our products,” said Max Levchin, founder and CEO at Affirm, as well as a founder of PayPal. “I’m looking forward to introducing Walmart customers to a modern and innovative way to buy the things they need.”

Affirm is now available as a payment option on Walmart purchases ranging from $150 to $2,000. This is not Walmart’s first foray into financing. In fact, in July of last year, Walmart entered into an exclusive partnership with Capital One to issue a Walmart credit card. But Elizabeth Allin, Vice President of Communications at Affirm, said that this partnership is the first point-of-sale loan product partnership for Walmart.

“They’ve really embraced e-commerce and the evolution of digital and mobile,” Allin said of Walmart, which has been the biggest retailer in the world for years.

Now 57 years old, the retail giant is pursuing partnerships with financial organizations to facilitate access to customer credit. But back in 2006, Walmart set its sights on bringing these lending operations in house, by becoming bank. Using a controversial statute, it attempted to get a charter to become an ILC bank. Met with strong opposition from banks and other opponents, Walmart backed down.   

PayPal Has a Lot of Merchants and Venmo Is Adding a Boost

February 1, 2019
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VenmoMore than 21 million merchants accept PayPal to take advantage of the 246 million consumers who use it. That’s a lot of merchants to offer value-added products like PayPal Working Capital and invoicing services. But then there’s Venmo, a fast growing digital wallet that PayPal also owns that processed $19 billion in payment volume last quarter and is projected to handle $100 billion worth across all of 2019.

Although Venmo itself is not a profitable business yet, it has gone from generating almost zero revenue to hitting a $200 million revenue run rate by the end of 2018. And it’s bringing in new users thanks to a network effect. When a network effect is present, the value of a product or service increases according to the number of others using it.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said on the company’s earnings call on Thursday that PayPal and Venmo will probably attract another 33 million new active users in 2019, thanks in part to the network effect and “the virality of Venmo.”

Meanwhile, PayPal COO Bill Ready said on the same call that merchants tend to come to them directly for services like working capital loans rather than to online marketplaces like Shopify or Wix because oftentimes merchants sell across multiple marketplaces. “PayPal becomes the aggregation point for them to connect to each of those platforms,” he said.

Ingo Money QuickConnect Allows for Push-to-Card Payments

December 14, 2018
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Lisa McFarland
Lisa McFarland, Chief Product Officer, Ingo Money

Yesterday, Ingo Money announced the launch of Ingo Money QuickConnect, a new solution that allows companies that issue payments – including loans – to disperse funds directly to a merchant’s debit card. Ingo Money has partnered with Visa Direct to facilitate these direct payments.

This is the official announcement for a product that has been in the works for over a year. OnDeck announced its partnership with Ingo Money last October, but didn’t start using it until it was ready earlier this year, according to an OnDeck spokesperson. So far, OnDeck only uses the Ingo Money QuickConnect service to provide same-day disbursements to their line of credit customers. The spokesperson said they have seen great demand among customers for receiving money instantly.

“Ingo Money QuickConnect allowed us to get to market faster than we ever believed possible and with minimal time, cost and hassle,” said Sam Verrill, OnDeck’s Director of Product Management. “The solution has thoughtfully solved for all the pain points and hurdles to deploying a new payment solution, making it quick and easy to begin delighting customers and cutting costs with digital real time disbursements.”

Chief Product Officer for Ingo Money Lisa McFarland told deBanked that OnDeck was their first client in the lending category, and that they now have a few other lending clients, but declined to mentioned which.

“What’s exciting about Ingo Money QuickConnect is that customers can access money the minute they need it,” McFarland said. “At night, on weekends and holidays.”

The Ingo Money QuickConnect solution is also being used in other ways, including insurance companies paying claims and child support payments where the government is an intermediary. Use in payment of airlines vouchers to customers and by the IRS to people who are owed money are also being considered, according to McFarland.

“We’ve heard time and again from customers that they need to deploy a push-to-card payment solution but are intimidated by the time and effort required,” said Ingo Money CEO Drew Edwards. “Ingo Money QuickConnect removes the burden and allows a company to almost immediately begin offering real-time payments through Visa Direct, while retaining the ability to easily expand the solution later to include payments to online wallets like PayPal and Amazon or even cash out Moneygram locations.”


Square Capital Loaned $405 Million in Q3

November 8, 2018
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Outside the Square Headquarters in San FranciscoSquare Capital originated more than 62,000 business loans for a total of $405M in Q3, up from $390M in the previous quarter, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

By contrast, OnDeck, a Square Capital competitor, reported loan originations of $648M for the quarter. Both companies find themselves facing new competition from a growing field of tech players like Shopify (who last quarter originated $76.4M in merchant cash advances).

Thanks to an early investment in Eventbrite, the online events company that went public in September, Square turned its regularly scheduled quarterly losses into a profit in Q3. On the company’s earnings call, Square CFO Sarah Friar said that the company would have had a $17 million loss if it weren’t for a windfall related to the IPO of Eventbrite.

The big news that Square CEO Jack Dorsey had to share on the earnings call was the introduction of Square Terminal, a portable, all-in-one payment device that prints receipts.

“People don’t want to use their personal device to accept payments,” Dorsey said of many small business owners.

Dorsey said that this device is essentially meant to replace “those black rectangular boxes,” referring to the ubiquitous credit card processing machines which he described as “dinosaurs.”

Another theme of the earnings call was Friar’s departure from Square. Friar announced in October that she will be taking the job of CEO at Nextdoor, a social network. Dorsey thanked Friar for her contribution to Square and in a tweet expressed sadness that she was leaving. He said that a search to replace Friar is currently underway.

Dorsey also expressed pleasure with the continued success of Square’s Cash app, a peer to peer payments app that he said allows the “underserved and unbanked” to transfer money.

“I’m excited [about] what we can build on top of it,” Dorsey said.

Stripe Becomes a Digital Credit Card Issuer

August 8, 2018
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powered by stripeStripe has recently started offering a new API, or programming feature, that allows its merchants to offer physical or virtual credit cards to their employees. The product, called “Issuing,” is still being tested and is currently by invitation only, although it does appear as an offering on the company’s website. Merchants can request an invitation.

According to the website, creating a card is an easy three step process that involves providing identifying information about the cardholder, then literally creating the card (physical or virtual) and finally, activating it. Physical cards can be shipped either to the merchant or the cardholder, while virtual cards are available to use immediately.

The merchant can manage cards by creating restrictions, like maximum purchase amounts, charges can be disputed, and physical cards can have customizable designs, just like cards issued from a bank. However, Stripe is not a bank. Stripe did not respond in time for this story, but it is likely that the company has partnerships with companies that can underwrite and offer lines of credit to their customers. On the Stripe website, it indicates three of its financing partners: Funding Circle, Iwoca and Clearbanc.

Stripe is a payment platform that facilitates online payments. The company takes 2.9% plus 30 cents of every successful charge a merchant makes. Stripe customers are small business owners, but also include giant companies like Facebook and Target. Founded in 2011 by brothers John and Patrick Collison, Stripe is headquartered in San Francisco. It also has offices in Dublin, London, Paris, Singapore and Tokyo, and it employs more than 1,100 people.


Apple Pay is Closing in On PayPal

August 2, 2018
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Apple PayAccording to Apple’s quarterly earnings that were released on Tuesday, Apple Pay transactions tripled from last year at the same time to more than 1 billion transactions. CEO Tim Cook said during Apple’s recent earnings call that this is more than Square did in the last quarter and exceeded the number of mobile transactions via PayPal. PayPal, the industry leader, reported 2.3 billion transactions over the last quarter. This still puts them well ahead of Apple Pay, by 1.3 billion; but not as far ahead as last year, when PayPal led by almost 1.8 billion.

Apple also reported today that it hit a $1 trillion market cap. The success of Apple Pay is further confirmation that giant technology companies are also becoming fintech companies. Google has the Google Pay service and Facebook’s WhatsApp is rolling out a payment feature. To keep up with fintechs, last year, a group of the largest American banks (including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Capital One) launched Zelle, a peer to peer payment service. So far, Zelle has proven to be a good idea.

According to eMarketer, a research firm, Zelle is expected to surpass Venmo this year in terms of users. With these expectations, Zelle will grow by more than 73% in the US, to 27.4 million users by the end of the year, outpacing Venmo (owned by PayPal), which should have 22.9 million users and Square Cash, which should have 9.5 million.


PayPal’s Actions Convey Continued Expansion of Lending Business

July 27, 2018
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PayPal announced its Q2 2018 earnings yesterday. Notably, total payment volume grew 27%, which is 1% higher than Q2 of last year. And the popular payment app Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, grew 78%, only slightly less than its growth of 80% from the last quarter. As expected by Wall Street analysts, revenue growth lagged total volume growth as Venmo is still largely unmonetized.

PayPal demonstrated continued commitment to its online lending division, PayPal Working Capital, when last month it made a significant investment in LendUp, a startup that offers loans to subprime consumers. This follows PayPal’s September 2017 acquisition of Swift Financial, for $183 million.  

In yesterday’s Q2 earnings conference call, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman spoke about the company’s consumer lending division, PayPal Credit. He said that the company has strengthened its partnership with eBay by signing an agreement to extend its long-standing consumer financing offer to eBay’s marketplace.

“With this agreement,” Schulman said on the conference call, “eBay will continue to accept and promote PayPal Credit through 2025.”

As PayPal continues to grow both PayPal Credit and PayPal Working Capital, it does have the advantage of strong name recognition. After all, it started back in 1998 as one of the first major websites on the internet. To emphasize this, during the conference call, Schulman cited a recent ComScore study that reported that 52% of mobile consumers said they made more online purchases because PayPal was offered. And one-third of all PayPal mobile customers surveyed said they will abandon a purchase if PayPal is not offered as a checkout option.

Snapchat to Terminate Payment Service Snapcash (And its x-rated subculture?)

July 24, 2018
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SnapchatSnapchat will be terminating its payment service platform, Snapcash, on August 30. Launched in 2014, Snapcash allows users to send money to each other (via a cash app) in a fast and free way. Money goes to users’ bank accounts that are linked to their debit cards and the payment processing is handled by Square.

“Snapcash was our first product created in partnership with another company – Square,” a Snapchat spokesperson told Techcrunch in a statement. “We’re thankful for all the Snapchatters who used Snapcash for the last four years and for Square’s partnership!”

Snapchat’s decision to discontinue the payment service may come because of steep competition from Venmo, PayPal, Zelle and Square Cash, which all specialize in payments. But Snapcash may also be a liability for the company since it’s reportedly been used for X-rated activities. When Snapcash was first introduced, a story on Motherboard suggested that it would enhance Snapchat’s lingering subculture of amateur pornography. By the following year The New York Times reported that although the payment activity attributed to such pursuits was small, both strippers and adult video stars (male & female) were indeed using the service to charge users for personalized photos.

Although Square’s partnership with Snapchat will be coming to an end, Square made it clear in a statement to Techcrunch that its peer to peer Square Cash product is still alive and well with more than 7 million monthly customers.

A commercial for Snapcash from 2014

It is unclear if the phase-out of Snapcash will result in job cuts at the company. But Snap Inc., which owns Snapchat, already laid off about 200 employees in March of this year. The company went public last year on the New York Stock Exchange as SNAP. Snap Inc. also has a hardware division called Spectacles, which sells sunglasses with a camera in it. According to a Cheddar story today, the chief of Spectacles, Mark Randall, has left Snap Inc. to start his own company.   

Snap Inc. was founded by in 2011 by CEO Evan Spiegal, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Lendr Launches New Business Debit Card

April 9, 2018
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Lendr at LendItFintechChicago-based Lendr is launching a new business debit card program, according to an announcement the company made at LenditFintech.

This will give them the ability to fund business owners in real-time via an instant access virtual Mastercard followed up with a traditional plastic card. This system is different than pushing funds to a merchant’s existing bank debit card, which fellow online lenders Kabbage and LendingPoint announced at LendIt.

“The idea is to offer a product that makes access to capital as easy as ‘1-2-3,’” CEO Tim Roach told deBanked. “We will have the ability to deposit funds on the Mastercard in real time, making the process seamless for our clients.”

Kabbage, LendingPoint to Offer Real Time Funding Via Push Payments

April 9, 2018
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Kabbage Booth, LenditKabbage and LendingPoint each separately announced today that they will soon be able to get funds into their customers’ business accounts instantly and 24/7 via their pre-existing bank debit card. Hopes for this are not brand new. Last October, OnDeck announced a partnership with Ingo and Visa that would provide this convenience to borrowers, although this has not yet come to fruition, according to an OnDeck spokesperson. This is also not Kabbage’s first foray into real-time loan funding.

“We launched [a real-time loan product] through the debit network three years ago and we were really excited about the results,” said Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia . “Our customers really liked it, [but] our challenge was that we couldn’t get broad enough coverage. Only a small percentage of our customers were able to use it…so we’re excited about our partnership with Ingo because it gives us the ability to broaden this to about 90 percent of our customers.”

Kabbage has entered into a relationship with Ingo and has plans to make this service available to customers this summer. One might wonder why, on a weekend, a merchant needs money and can’t wait until Monday?

Lendingpoint“Our customers are always looking to expedite the process,” Petralia said, “not because they’re desperate for cash, but because they really are desperate for time, and they don’t want to spend a bunch of time reconciling their bank accounts [and] making sure the funds have arrived. This is a much cleaner way for them to get access to capital.”

Meanwhile, as part of an announcement by LendingPoint today, the company said that later this year it will be able to “instantly disburse loans to approved borrower accounts through their debit cards, 24/7/365.” This will be facilitated through the TabaPay platform, which also enables LendingPoint borrowers to use their debit card to make loan payments.

eBay to Part Ways With PayPal, Bring Payments in House

February 2, 2018
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eBayWe all must leave our parents one day and branch out on our own.

However, this is probably not what PayPal Holdings Inc. had in mind.

The company is surrendering its duties as the primary payment option for its former parent, eBay Inc.

On Wednesday, eBay announced that Adyen, a Dutch company, will take over as the main payments processor when the current deal with PayPal expires in mid-2020. The change will allow the platform to host more of the transaction process in house.

eBay was motivated to make a change by the desire to intermediate the transactions taking place on its site and to allow buyers and sellers to complete their business within one website (eBay).

“As a leading global commerce company, eBay believes that payments intermediation is strategically important to improve the buyer and seller experience on its platform and will enable the company to further innovate on behalf of its customers,” the company said in its statement. “In a rapidly changing and competitive e-commerce landscape, shoppers expect to be able to both shop and checkout on the site on which they transact. As eBay intermediates payments, shoppers will be able to complete their purchases within eBay.”

However, this will not be a total break between the two companies that were once attached at the hip. PayPal will remain an option for eBay users until the summer of 2023.

PayPal’s stock took a nosedive following the news. As of 9 a.m. on Friday in the company’s HQ of Palo Alto, CA. the stock had slid from $85.32 on Wednesday morning, down to $77.25 with brief rebounds along the way.

While the move may not have done any favors for PayPal’s stock, eBay is optimistic that it will be a boon for merchants that use the platform to sell their wares.

According to the release, most sellers can expect their costs of payments processing to be reduced after completing the transition. They should also enjoy a “simplified pricing structure and more predictable access to their funds.”

Amazon Wants to Add Fintech Companies to its Shopping Cart

April 5, 2016
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It’s Amazon’s turn to go shopping and it wants to buy fintech companies.

The e-commerce giant just turned the heat up on fintech and said that it will look to acquire startups as the dust around valuations settles. It made its foray into payments in 2013 with ‘Pay with Amazon’ a payment tool integrated on other websites for Amazon customers. Now, the service has 23 million users worldwide.

On Monday, (April 4th), at the Money 2020 Summit in Copenhagen, it announced that it will extend the service to third party merchants hosted on its marketplace.

“The Amazon Payments Partner Program provides Partners with the tools and resources needed to extend the trust and convenience of the Amazon experience to their merchant customers,” Patrick Gauthier, vice president of Amazon Payments, said in a press release. Which is another way of saying that wherever merchants go, Amazon will follow.

This announcement comes after Square released a similar service last week (March 30th) with APIs of its payment integration tool for merchants to use on their sites. Amazon is simultaneously stepping into the turfs of PayPal and Visa while threatening smaller but strong rivals like Square and Stripe. As far as customer acquisition goes, the company doesn’t have to look beyond its own marketplace and what seems like a small step for Amazon could be a giant leap for the industry. The company coincidentally also makes loans to its own customers, just like both Square and PayPal.

Startups in payments and lending are making hay while the sun shines bright. And in this case, that’s nearly half of all the fintech dollars invested.  If Amazon is hunting for a good deal, it might be a bit longer in what still seems to be a seller’s market — there are over 152 fintech startups deemed ‘unicorns’ or having valuations of at least $1 billion.

But maybe Amazon is the corrector the market needs?

Google Ditches Debit Card for P2P Transfer

April 1, 2016
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Google HQ

Google will kill its prepaid debit card this June to re purpose it as a P2P payments app.

Wallet Card, which was launched in November 2013 lets users make payments at ATMs, banks and any business that accepts MasterCard Debit.

The project faced multiple roadblocks from the start when it was leaked way back in November 2012, shelved plans in May 2013 before its subsequent launch later that year.

As Android Pay is becoming Google’s mainstay for in-app purchases and third party payments, it makes little sense to continue two similar products. The company is referring Wallet users to American Express and online bank Simple by offering a sign up bonus.

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided that we’ll no longer support the Wallet Card as of June 30. Moving forward, we want to focus on making it easier than ever to send and receive money with the Google Wallet app”

Last month (February 23) Google shut down its financial products comparison tool, Compare.

Square Baits New Merchants with Payments

March 30, 2016
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Square reader

Jack Dorsey wants Square to be a one stop shop and is baiting merchants with its new payment integration tool. 

Square launched new API tools on Wednesday (March 30) for online and retail stores who “with few lines of codes can seamlessly integrate Square into the checkout process.” The company is going after payment giants like PayPal, Braintree and Stripe alluring merchants with an easier-to-use payment tool and is priced similarly at 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction.

For its erstwhile customers, picking Square over rivals makes sense given the integration between online and offline sales and for the businesses that do not use Square, the company wants to handcuff them.

At the time of founding, Square’s primary business model was a merchant-first approach. It went after 27 million micro merchants who hitherto were invisible to incumbent players in the space. It took in these small heterogenous group of merchants and equipped and trained them with a dongle to accept card payments for a flat fee.

And now its plan to consolidate a fragmented customer base seems to be working thus far. It recently swapped out its merchant cash advances for bank loans again, similar to PayPal’s loan products.

But why launch a payment tool now? Almost 46 percent of shopping cart abandonment happens at the payment stage frustrating buyers with a lengthy checkout form.  And this new API allows online stores to integrate a simple checkout form for card details unlike Stripe which requires an e-wallet sign up. It also launched an API for inventory, payroll management and for registers which can integrate Square’s payment tool with custom point of sale software.

Square is hoping that merchants come for payments and stay for more. “Sellers, even if they don’t have an offline presence today, will have ambitions for where their business wants to go and will choose a provider that, regardless of how their business grows, will be there with them,” Square’s head of engineering Alyssa Henry told Forbes.

What’s next for Square’s gung ho growth?


Square Goes Back To The Drawing Board, Ahead of First Earnings

February 19, 2016
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Square registerSquare is bracing for its first milestone as a public company – its first earnings report.

On March 9th, the payments company will present a scorecard of how it’s doing and what that means for its investors. Visa picking up a 10 percent stake in the company came as a respite for the stock which has generated close to 27 percent losses since its IPO.

But that might not be enough to prove that the seven year old company is in a sustainable business. Square has to prove that it is all a small business needs. From capital, payroll to point-of-sale, Square wants to be the one stop shop for small merchants, not relying entirely on its payments business which makes up 95 percent of its revenue.

When the company started in 2009, its strategy was to go after micro merchants that were too fragmented and small for bigger payments companies. Square started by giving these merchants a dongle to accept card payments for a flat fee. While the idea was to serve an untapped market, the company could not be shielded from the risks that these merchants bring to a business with their heterogeneity, fragmentation and smaller deals.

But ahead of its first earnings call, the company is ramping up its efforts towards bringing more businesses into its fold. Forbes reported that Square expanded its payroll product to merchants in Tennessee, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, and Alaska in addition to the existing markets of California, Texas and Florida allowing them to serve 30 percent of independent businesses in the U.S.