Payments

Venmo who? Fiserv expands P2P payments to more Americans

  • Fiserv can now facilitate P2P transactions for 75% of all U.S. deposit accounts.
  • "We want them to live their lives and pay their bills when they have to pay them."
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Venmo who? Fiserv expands P2P payments to more Americans

A recent deal between two industry players means more financial institutions will be offering peer-to-peer payments to their banking customers.

Earlier this month, the financial services technology provider, Fiserv, and large banking network, Early Warning, announced a partnership to bring faster payments to Fiserv’s network of banks and credit unions.

One of the most talked about trends in payments has been speed, with calls for real-time payments and faster banks transfers. Consumer expectations for faster financial services have outpaced the speed at which financial institutions have been able to make their aging systems faster.

“The biggest thing going on for U.S. payments is real-time capabilities,” said Tom Allanson, president of electronic payments for Fiserv. “Our payment systems are old, and customers expect to move money as fast as they move everything else, and unfortunately this industry is a bit behind.”

Fiserv’s NOW network, introduced at the 2014 Money 20/20 conference, connects financial institutions with billers, small businesses, and consumers with real-time payment capabilities. Its partnership with Early Warning gives Fiserv capabilities for expanding the number of account holders it can reach. With EWS, the company can facilitate bill payment and deposits, totaling a combined 6,000 banks and credit unions, representing 75% of all deposit accounts in the US.

“The idea is that EWS has the connectivity and we have the technology. From fraud to customer service to moving money, the connection of those two things is how a partnership comes together,” said Allanson.

The agreement with Early Warning’gives Fiserv the ability to connect financial institutions to EWS’s clearXchange network in addition to the the firm’s own Popmoney. Similar to Venmo, Fiserv’s Popmoney app gives consumers the ability to transfer funds to friends and family directly from their bank accounts using only phone numbers and email addresses.

Fiserv’s technology has been developed for financial institutions, so customers who might hesitate to send money through a third party app now have the comfort and stability of an institutional P2P payment option.

“Our focus is on financial institutions, while Venmo focuses more on millennials,” commented Allanson. “Our dollars and cents have to be clearer since we’re working with financial institutions. It’s unclear to us how Venmo makes money, but that’s PayPal’s problem.”

The firm’s technology stack attempts to simplify the lives of the customers of its banking clients. That’s why it created an agnostic network that facilitates multiple payment rails. Philosophically, Fiserv believes that removing complexity lowers the hurdle to getting more people using digital payments.

Fiserv’s Popmoney doesn’t intend to overload end users with decisions about different payment methods. Users tell Fiserv where, when, and to whom they want money transferred, and the technology takes care of the rest.

“Our goal is not necessarily to try and dominate, but provide services to the consumer that allows them to do the things they want to do. We want them to live their lives and pay their bills when they have to pay them,” he said.

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