Buck Corp. plans to target small merchants who send out paper invoices with a mobile invoicing system that will eliminate both the paper and the time it takes to wait for a mailed payment.
The Seattle-based company's Buck Mobile Invoice product lets business owners send invoices to any mobile phone. Recipients can immediately send a credit card payment in response.
While Buck promotes the service as a way for small merchants to receive payments without a physical card reader (such as Square's), Buck CEO Andy Kleitsch says the remote billing feature is the product's strongest trait.
"With Square, the merchant and consumer have to meet face-to-face, whether the merchant uses a dongle or the consumer just states his name [when using Square Wallet]," Kleitsch says.
Buck Mobile Invoice isn't meant for face-to-face payments, Kleitsch says. "It's designed for those services in which you send the invoice later, like a tree service, or sending an invoice and notifying someone their dry cleaning is ready for pick-up."
Merchants opting to use the service provide Buck with credentials and transaction keys to the gateway they use to process payments, Kleitsch says. "We can route the payments through any existing gateway, and we just manage this extension for the merchant," he says.
The service is available to businesses that hold merchant accounts with gateways such as Authorize.Net, Stripe, First Data, Chase Paymentech, CyberSource, WorldPay, Paperless, Payleap, Comm Idea, PayPal and others.
Merchants need a mobile phone, tablet or PC to send the mobile invoice by typing the customer's mobile phone number, purchase description, invoice account number and amount due before sending it as a text on the Buck Mobile Invoice form. When the customer receives the text, the service provides a "click here to pay" prompt that links to a Buck mobile payment page, Kleitsch says. The customer inputs his credit card information the first time he pays, and is able to use a single-tap method for future payments, he adds.
"We really have lowered the payment cycle from weeks down to minutes," Kleitsch says. "Most people respond to a text message in under a minute."
Other payments companies likely have considered providing a similar mobile invoicing service, says industry analyst Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group LLC.
"It always comes down to how you provide simplicity in the process," Ablowitz says. Buck Mobile Invoice's real value will be determined by how easy it is to use and how quickly merchants and consumers understand it, Ablowitz says.
"The value to a small business is quite big when you have a simple invoice to send, and an interface to do it, and you can zip it off and get paid instantly," he adds.
Buck made recent inroads into social networks and e-commerce with its "Shop on Buck" service to enable distributors called "trendsetters" to sell various merchant products through their own sites and receive commissions for sales.