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Dwolla Pivots to a Business Platform with Repackaged Services

Capping an approximately 18-month effort to pivot into a software-as-service platform for businesses, Dwolla has repackaged some of its services into a pair of products and pricing structures. The company’s clients now can use Dwolla technology to enable same-day ACH capabilities or to move funds between bank accounts without having to do the heavy lifting of coding.

“Dwolla today is no longer the app you download, but the platform for your business,” says Jordan Lampe, Dwolla’s director of communications. The move away from a consumer-facing app to back-end business technologies comes as the fintech sector drives more development of APIs—the financial industry boasts more than 500 APIs compared with less than 100 in 2013, according to ProgrammableWeb. Instead of offering its own mobile app, Dwolla now offers the API that some of its clients will use to build payments into their own app.

The company’s two repackaged products are:

  • Access API, which connects client software to the U.S. banking infrastructure. It links and validates funding sources and allows for faster refunds and emergency payments, among other tasks. The client builds the user interface used by end customers. Access API starts at $1,500 per month.
  • Transfer, which the company describes as a “Web app for businesses to quickly send or accept money.” It also verifies identities and validates back accounts, but for this product, Dwolla provides the user interface used by end customers. Transfer costs 0.5 percent per transaction, up to $5, and is designed for small- and medium-size businesses.

Dwolla’s emphasis on speed comes as the industry as a whole strives to craft faster payments. Lampe, for instance, serves on the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force, a 2-year-old group charged with identifying and evaluating alternative approaches for implementing faster payments capabilities in the U.S. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve issued a progress report on the work undertaken by the task force, and said that among the achievements was the commissioning of an independent assessment of 22 faster payments solutions proposals made under the Faster Payments Effectiveness Criteria, released in February 2016.“We still have a lot of work left to do and this task force wasn’t designed to do all of it, but I can unequivocally say we’re 1,000 times further along now than where we were in 2015,” Lampe says.

Like most of his peers, Lampe also anticipates significant change from U.S. lawmakers and bureaucrats in 2017. “I think the uncertainty of existing regulations will continue throughout the year,” he says. “I also see a lot of collaboration from larger banks around technology or standardization initiatives. This will heavily influence the rest of the market on things like big data, faster payments and APIs. Also, same-day ACH credits and debits are going to exceed expectations.”

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