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Emerging Payments

Dwolla Update Lets Users Initiate Transfers with Twitter

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The alternative payment provider Dwolla now gives users the ability to send money via tweet by using the hashtag #dwolla.

Hashtags, which are words preceded by the # sign, typically allow Twitter users to easily search for other tweets using the same words. Dwolla's new system instead allows its hashtag, when typed with a dollar amount and a recipient's Twitter username, to be used to initiate person-to-person payments.

If recipients do not have an account with Iowa-based Dwolla, they will receive a link to help them sign up for the service.

Dwolla says on its blog that the service provides an easy way to send money to friends and family, merchants and non-profits without logging in to Dwolla's mobile app.

While the process works, it’s still unknown whether consumers will jump on the opportunity. Comments on Dwolla’s blog post about the service mention the threat of Twitter hacks leading to drained bank accounts.

Shane Reiser, a builder at Dwolla, says if a Twitter account is hacked, the Twitter owner can visit pound.dwollalabs.com to revoke the compromised account's access to Dwolla. Ben Milne, Dwolla's founder, added that through the Dwolla settings window users can manage each application's permission.

Dwolla’s payment network, Grid, operates in a way that doesn't expose users' card number or expiration date, Milne says in a June 7 blog post.

The Dwolla service looks similar to Chirpify, which allows users to send funds through Twitter and Instagram by linking their PayPal accounts to the service.

Milne says Dwolla's system is different from Chirpify. Chirpify is a “great full sales solution. This is not, nor will it be," Milne said in a Twitter message to a reporter at Bank Technology News, a sister publication to PaymentsSource.

Sean Sposito contributed reporting to this story.

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