Iowa Credit Union First To Use Dwolla’s FiSync Integration Tool

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To sign up for a Dwolla account and integrate it with a credit-union account was a fairly tedious process that could take two to three days–until FiSync came along to streamline the task to less than a minute.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Financial Plus Credit Union this week became the first financial institution in the country to sign on to use FiSync, Dwolla’s integration product that provides speedier access to the company’s expansive online-, mobile-, social- and location-based alternative payments platforms.

“This streamlines the process for Financial Plus customers, as it eliminates all of the demographic information that had to be submitted before. And it eliminates the trial deposits from a Dwolla account the customer would have to make to get an account started,” says Brian Day, the Dwolla product leader for The Members Group, which develops processing and payment services for credit unions and banks.

Before the integration with FiSync, a Financial Plus customer who was a Dwolla user would have to create a Dwolla account at the credit union by filling out forms with demographic information and by providing Dwolla with the credit-union account-routing number so two small “test” deposits could be placed, Day tells PaymentsSource.

With FiSync, that entire process is done more quickly through the FinancalPlus.com website with signup and immediate access to transfer funds from a Dwolla account to a Financial Plus account, or vice versa, or to make online or mobile payments.

Dwolla and The Members Group also are based in Des Moines.

Customers are charged for transferring funds from one account to another, but they pay a 25-cent Dwolla fee per purchase transaction.

Dwolla’s Grid security software aided the integration process.

“That was a nice aspect of this,” Day says. “It helped Dwolla enhance existing data security, and it’s a secure platform that lets the customer control the information being shared.”

Speed and security in the process were key factors in the mind of Dave Cale, Financial Plus CEO, in implementing FiSync.

“Speed is really the selling point today, and we are looking at even quicker exchanges of funds in other aspects of the credit union,” Cale says. “The other primary concern was secure methods, and in the relationship we have had with The Members Group and Dwolla, we were aware that security was a key aspect of their software.”

Cale views the FiSync offering to customers as the next logical step in a payments structure. “As a business model, it was an additional aim at the credit union to offer access to funds when and where the customer needs it, and another access point through smartphones, much like ATMs, credit cards or debit cards,” Cale says.

Ben Milne, Dwolla CEO and founder, views the integration at Financial Plus as his company’s “first step into the future.”

Dwolla is working with about a dozen banks and credit unions and has more than 10,000 end users. Its system enables consumers to make person-to-person payments through email and through social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

When the other financial institutions are integrated with FiSync, Dwolla is estimating exposure to 600,000 potential customers.

 “We have 12-plus financial institutions in our queue to work with in the future, but getting the first one done in any process is the most important step,” Milne says. “As we get further along in this, we are expecting two to four rollouts a month, but this gets the wheel turning.”

In calling the integration program “very cost effective” regarding Financial Plus, both Day and Milne say the FiSync pricing has various options and tiers, including custom integration. But neither would provide specific pricing information.

“It really depends on what the financial institution chooses to do, so I would be hesitant to get too complicated about the integration costs,” Day says.

Dwolla reported last month its Iowa user base had reached 20,000 and transactions were totaling more than $1 million a week, with online payment users from all 50 states.

When Dwolla unveiled its Dwolla Spots mobile-payment system for smart phones in the first quarter, it reported 700 merchants nationwide were accepting Dwolla payments, with more than half of those being in the Des Moines area.

Earlier this month Dwolla touted security as one of the startup’s growth strengths (see story). And in May Dwolla announced it was developing the Dwolla Dashboard, technology to help banks reduce fraud as they begin to allow transactions from mobile devices (see story). 

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