A parade of technology firms vying for their attention is turning on its ear the conventional wisdom that small businesses are lost in a technology wilderness with no suitable cash-management software. Such vendors all are hoping to reach either banks or the businesses themselves with digital-processing capabilities.
Fundtech, form example, is using newly acquired payments-processing technology from BankServ to launch a portal called TotalTransact. The portal supports electronic checks, card processing, remote deposit capture and mobile payments.
Educational materials on the website show how companies may use the technology in specific verticals such as health care, debt collection, government, home services and nonprofits.
“I would describe it as a funnel–you can give small businesses a picture of what their payments are and where they are coming from,” says George Ravich, Fundtech chief marketing officer and executive vice president.
The product combines processing, aggregation and accounts payable/receivable, accessible in a visual format that’s designed to give users a way to track and execute payments.
“Small businesses have different streams of payments coming in and don’t know where they’re coming from,” Ravich says. “It can be a real mess to keep track of.”
Fundtech was consolidated with BankServ, a provider of SaaS banking and payment systems, last fall, after GTCR (BankServ’s private equity owner) acquired Fundtech, following Fundtech’s flirtation with S1 (see story). The combined BankServ/Fundtech offers software that facilitates wire transfers, SWIFT messaging, remote deposit capture, international payments, mobile pay and merchant services.
Bankserv is offering the new portal directly to small businesses and to banks as a value-added service to treasury management or small business banking-technology suites. Fundtech, whose existing clients include Capital One Financial Corp., HSBC and Citigroup, didn’t disclose bank users for the new product.
As a use case, Ravich describes a remote contractor who presents his bill at the point of sale, then takes payments via a smartphone or other mobile device. Another example might be a business that wants to set up recurring payments with clients.
Fundtech’s mobile reader attaches to smartphones and enables card payments via a swipe, with an option to print a paper receipt at the point of sale, Ravich says. The receipt can also be send electronically.
It’s here where Fundtech is operating in a crowded market that includes mobile payments firms such as Square Inc. and VeriFone Systems Inc.
Square is pursuing the mobile contractor market, and VeriFone is targeting the market through its Payware Mobile product. Other competitors include Intuit, which ships its GoPayment card reader that attaches to the audio jack of a phone and provides a dashboard that lets businesses monitor transactions, receive data from remote payment collectors and set permission levels for employees in the field.
Other tech firms also are active on the aggregation front. Bill.com has built a command center that lets users send invoices and receive electronic payments (see story). The Bill.com product also includes a dashboard that allows businesses to track incoming and outgoing payments over time, with links to make adjustments in payments and schedules to protect the business’ cash position.
All of these firms are using payments to attract small-business clients, which traditionally have lagged in use of technology. Andy Schmidt, a research director at TowerGroup, notes that mobile remote deposit capture and payments have become the gateway to larger financial services relationships between small businesses and banks.
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