By combining their payment and personal financial management technologies, Payveris and Geezeo are working to help banks fight the threat of nonbanks becoming consumers' preferred financial destination.
Consumers don't measure a banking experience by comparing it to other banks, says Mickey Goldwasser, vice president of marketing for Wethersfield, Conn.-based Payveris. "They measure it against when they are on Amazon.com or on OverStock.com or at a T-Mobile store, and they wonder why can't my bank do it like this?"
To improve their appeal, banks must improve the functionality and mobility of their personal financial management offerings, which have traditionally been at odds with their payment offerings, Payveris and Geezeo say.
"The personal financial management industry is somewhat struggling," says Bryan Clagett, chief marketing officer for Tolland, Conn.-based Geezeo. "We are defined today as a budgeting tool, but PFM is going way beyond budgeting. It's no longer just about transactions, but about handling any banking need through any channel."
Notably, Intuit's Mint.com claims its lack of a payments function is a virtue, in that it prevents anyone who has stolen a Mint account from moving any of the victim's money away. But Intuit demonstrated a break from this mindset with its recent $360 million deal to buy Check, a PFM provider that prominently supports bill payments.
PFM and bill payment are a logical pairing, Clagett says. "They go together like peanut butter and jelly when you really think about it," he says. "And providers have figured that out."
Geezeo's partnership with Payveris helps banks target the changing consumer while competing against non-traditional payment providers such as PayPal, Goldwasser says.
"It really is a self-service generation now, and we need the convenience of being able to manage our finances from outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar locations," he says.
The partnership complements Geezeo's 2009 agreement with iPay Technologies, which provides similar payment services, Clagett says.
"Our strategy has always been to provide clients with integration options and flexibility," Clagett adds. "Our clients select suppliers for a myriad of reasons, and we want to be sure we are there for them with an integrated PFM solution."
National banks and super-regional banks are aware of the need for payment and budgeting services and have these pieces in place, but smaller and community banks could also be a good target, says industry analyst Russ Schoper of Atlanta, Ga.-based Business Development International Inc.
"This could have good play with the credit unions because they are more innovative and aggressive than the banks in many ways," Schoper adds.
Geezeo serves banks, but Intuit's Mint.com goes directly to the consumer. Intuit gets revenue from referring customers to products it recommends based on their spending habits. Check, the PFM provider Intuit is buying, makes money by working with billers.
"Intuit and Check could be an example of how banks and credit unions are kind of getting disassociated now," Goldwasser says. "For the longest time, making payments was all about the bank, but now non-traditional players are involved."
Today's consumers think of PayPal or even T-Mobile's new prepaid card, which can be reloaded at any of the carrier's stores, Goldwasser says.
Through their partnership, Payveris will provide cloud-based digital tools for paying bills and transferring money, while Geezeo will provide transaction analysis and budgeting tools.
The collaboration will allow numerous integration opportunities because of the way Geezeo develops its application interfaces, Clagett says. "We want to make sure financial institutions have as many options as possible when it comes to integrating PFM."
PFM is generally considered an online product, but it is quickly moving to mobile, Clagett adds.
As with any bank vendors, Payveris and Geezeo will face challenges in breaking down some connectivity issues with their clients' processors, Schoper says. "The concept sounds great, but to get the consumer or business files all linked in some way is a big challenge sometimes for third parties."