PageOnce Pivots: Mobile Money Manager Shifts Focus to Payments
PageOnce is changing its name to Check, a rebranding that signals the mobile financial management company's new focus on payments.
The new name "represents a checkmark against your financial to-do list … and symbolizes also just keeping your money in check," says Steve Schultz, chief operating officer at Check.
Personal financial management providers typically avoid anything to do with money movement because of security concerns. PFM sites display transactions from multiple bank and card accounts, and PageOnce was one of the few that also allowed users to make payments.
As PageOnce, the company was struggling to find something that resonates with consumers, says Mark Schwanhausser, director of omnichannel financial services at Javelin Strategy and Research. Being in control, making payments and taking over the physical check are all connotations the company in trying to plant in consumers' brains, he says.
With 8 million users, Check's payment volume has grown approximately 30% month over month for the past six months. Check does about $1.6 million in payments per day, says Schultz. The company is focused on mobile devices, and supports Apple iOS, Google Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
Bill payments are free in most cases, and Check charges a 4% fee only for credit-card payments made through its system to billers that do not directly accept credit cards.
Although the new name could conjure up images of outdated paper checks, Schultz says the new brand also offers a sense of familiarity.
"Smartphones are going to take over a lot of things we do physically, like checks," he says. "It's a connection to something in the financial world that you know and are comfortable with."
Schwanhausser agrees. "Check puts you into an anachronism … but the metaphor of a check really resonates with people," he says. "It mimics the metaphor of something people are accustomed to and it's easier to translate that into doing [payments] in the online or mobile space."
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company added a mobile bill pay function to its PFM platform in late 2011, though it required users to make their payments immediately. Almost a year later, PageOnce made it possible for consumers to schedule their bills in advance. In February, the company launched Pay Anyone, a person-to-person payments service.
"We're a really different company than when we started," Schultz says. "We're bringing together your money and your payments all on your mobile device … and we felt like we needed a name for the company that better reflected who we are and what we do."
Rival PFM platforms that do not offer payments are looking increasingly outdated, Schwanhausser says.
"The key trends within online banking, mobile banking and PFM is moving from an era of view to one of view plus do," Schwanhausser says. Check is "going one step further because it's actually moving money."
Whereas PageOnce focused on consumers, Check will try to do more work with billers this year, especially "billers that don't really have mobile assets but all their customers want to go mobile," Schultz says. "We'll be partnering with a number of billers and allowing [their customers] to make payments through Check."
New users attracted through biller partnerships won't have to use the company's PFM features, Schultz says. To make payments, all consumers will need is an account number. The company hopes this service will bring new customers to the platform, Schultz says.
ReadyforZero Inc. is another PFM provider that has been dabbling in payments. The company, which is focused on helping consumers analyze their cash flow to pay down their debts, announced an unlimited online payment service in October.