Utah-based Ally Bank expanded its use of Fiserv's Popmoney person-to-person payments service, allowing consumers to send and receive funds from the bank's mobile banking app.

Ally Bank, the direct banking unit of Ally Financial Inc., has offered Popmoney since 2011. In addition to using their smartphones for regular Popmoney transactions, users will now be able to view scheduled payments and payment history, as well as set up and manage Popmoney contacts in the Ally Mobile Banking app.

"One of the recurring themes in the feedback we receive from consumers is how much they like the convenience of a direct bank, and these latest offerings are the result of our commitment to deliver customer-friendly products and features," Diane Morais, Ally Bank deposits and line of business integration executive, states in a Nov. 25 press release.

In addition to the new Popmoney mobile capabilities, another new feature lets consumers use Ally's mobile banking app to set up recurring electronic fund transfers between Ally and non-Ally bank accounts. Previously, the mobile app only let customers set up one-time transfers between Ally Bank accounts.

With Popmoney, users can send funds by providing the recipient's e-mail address, mobile number or bank account information. The recipient will get a text or e-mail directing them to go to popmoney.com/ally and follow the steps to deposit the money online.

Popmoney can be used for one-time payments and gifts, or can be scheduled for recurring payments. Ally Bank does not charge a fee for Popmoney transactions. If a bank account is provided by the sender, the money is sent directly to the recipient's account, Ally says.

Fiserv has linked its Popmoney service with myriad large and regional banks since taking over the service as part of its acquisition of CashEdge more than two years ago. Consumers whose banks offer Popmoney can send money to anyone in the U.S. with a domestic bank account, even if the recipient's bank doesn't offer the service. Fiserv also offers a consumer-direct mobile app and desktop version of the service.

As more consumers demand P2P from their banks, the race to offer instant payments on desktops, as well as on mobile, has heated up among vendors, with Fiserv, FIS and others acquiring mobile app development companies. Meanwhile, banks like PNC and Citi are becoming more comfortable with P2P payments and embracing new features of the technologies. In September, Fiserv said it would expand Instant Payments to the mobile version of Popmoney in November.

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