SOURCE: Dwolla

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December 01, 2010 07:30 ET

Dwolla Announces National Availability of Its Online, Mobile and Social Cash Platform

Silicon Prairie Firm to Offer First Viable Mass Market Electronic Cash Platform; Ability to Send Money to Roughly 200 Million Facebook and 20 Million Twitter Users With New Social Feature

DES MOINES, IA--(Marketwire - December 1, 2010) - Dwolla, the only online and mobile cash system that operates in and outside a user's social networks, announced the nationwide release of its service today. Coming off the heels of its unprecedented $1 million Series A funding round with Silicon Prairie financial services firms, the Veridian Group and The Members Group (TMG), Dwolla is taking specific aim at the established payment platforms that are costing businesses and consumers billions of dollars every year. In addition to its debt-free mobile and online offerings, Dwolla's social integration with online communities, like Facebook and Twitter, make it the first viable electronic cash platform for mass adoption. Since its debut a year ago, the startup's flat quarter transfer fee has saved its users over $100,000 in debt-inducing transaction fees, or the costs associated with accessing money via traditional payment networks.

"Originally, the dollar bill was a fantastic way to move money, but as e-Commerce evolved we were forced to adopt debt-inducing credit cards and other virtual platforms as our only payment options, which -- until Dwolla's electronic cash option arrived -- created a very heavy financial burden on our economy," said Dwolla founder and CEO, Ben Milne. "Dwolla is the first cash platform -- since the dollar bill -- that will allow consumers as well as organizations to significantly reduce the amount of fees they're incurring for sending money electronically, while at the same time taking advantage of the social networks as a new medium for people to share funds."

Dwolla, which was previously only open to residents of California and Iowa over the past year, has several thousand users and has assisted in the transference of approximately $3 million at a cost of under $500, a savings of about $100,000 when compared to traditional percentage-based money moving networks, like credit cards and PayPal. Based off the Federal Reserve's quickly evolving Automated Clearing House technology, Dwolla quickly moves money from users' bank accounts at a fraction of the price typical of any other platform.

Along with its mobile applications, linking with Facebook's and Twitter's application programming interfaces (APIs), the transaction platform provides the first viable peer-to-peer platform for which businesses and individuals can spend and share money via their online networks and social communities.

To download or watch a video on how Dwolla works, please access the following URL: (http://www.dwolla.org/help/dwolla-for-consumers/)

Sharing Money Socially and On-the-Go

Taking online and mobile payments to the next level, Dwolla's technology fuses with Facebook's and Twitter's APIs to tap into linked communities to create personal cash sharing and spending networks. The resulting platform then allows individuals to share money with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers, regardless of whether these contacts currently have a Dwolla account setup yet. In such cases, the recipient's money will be made available when the receiving individual registers a Dwolla account and links to the online community where the funds were originally sent. 

"The social integration of the Dwolla platform is based off the concept that we -- as consumers -- are more likely to partake in transactions with those we know or entities we like," said Milne. "In today's electronic world, we view money as pixels on a computer screen, not inked numbers in the back of a checkbook or on a bank statement. What we've done is created a platform that is more in-line with our current generation's behavior when it comes to handling and exchanging cash."

Examples of use include:

  • A linked Facebook account that finally allows that friend of yours to instantly pay the $50 he owes you from the other night
  • A non-profit organization that leverages a Twitter account to crowd-source a fundraising campaign

While Dwolla's technology has the unique ability to seamlessly integrate with almost any social network or platform, it can also be deployed within frictionless payment hardware, like Smartphones, Bling or Square, if companies so choose. The startup's entry into the mobile payments market, which is projected to account for nearly $200 billion in mobile payments by 2012 and nearly 2.3 billion users by 2014 according to an April 2010 study by Juniper Research, has the potential to be the platform of choice among service providers and manufacturers, like AT&T or Motorola, as users seek access to a non-debt inducing cash option.

Dwolla provides mobile applications for the iPhone™ and Android™ operating systems that mimic similar interactions provided by its website.

Guarding Your Dollars

The security of each Dwolla account is reinforced by the startup's business partnerships with The Veridian Group and The Members Group (TMG). Utilizing these relationships, in conjunction with verification processes inherent of the platform, Dwolla is able to provide security that exceeds typical online banking best practices.

"One of the powerful benefits TMG brings to Dwolla is our national expertise in secure processing and the ACH system," said TMG's Executive Vice President Jeff Russell. "In vetting Dwolla's platform, we examined the security and compliance. We believe that Dwolla is not only convenient, but a safe and secure platform to move money."

The First Cash Option for Web Merchants

By pioneering the first cost-effective cash platform, Dwolla provides a viable payment option for Web merchants looking to increase profits while reducing the debt associated with transaction fees stemming from the use of credit cards and online payment platforms. These fees, which typically comprise roughly 3 percent of the given price for a good or service, on average cost the American consumer $48 billion annually. These established payment platforms and their fees place Web merchants at a significant disadvantage as they are forced to submit to them as defaults in e-Commerce.

"Enticed by the accessibility and overall social integration of over 200 million members, Web merchants and businesses particularly stand to gain from Dwolla's easily deployed platform," said Milne. "The value proposition we are able to provide to businesses is incredible and we've seen many retailers often offer unique incentives to customers that decide to pay via Dwolla, like free shipping."

Combined with recurring payment options and the ability to invoice users, Dwolla also proves to be an ideal platform for things, like monthly rent, daycare, and other business to business purchases.

About Dwolla

Dwolla is the online and mobile cash platform that connects to your social media community to share and spend money responsibly. Using proprietary technology and business partnerships with the Veridian Group and The Members Group, Dwolla allows consumers and organizations to send and receive money from their bank accounts for only 25 cents per transaction, no matter the transfer amount. Unlike traditional payment platforms, Dwolla takes the industry in a new direction by allowing people for the first time to share money with their social networking contacts. Founded in 2009, Dwolla is based in the heart of Silicon Prairie, Des Moines, Iowa. For information about Dwolla and its unique cash platform, please visit www.Dwolla.com.

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