The last week marks some memorable things:
- 1 million accounts will have been created through the Dwolla platform
- Billions of dollars will flow through Dwolla this year
- 30% month-over-month revenue growth for nearly a year
Frankly, the third is what I’m most proud of. Releasing our white label products has been a great accelerant for our business and our customers’ businesses. Our focus has been to provide companies and organizations with an API to help move money more easily and get their new products to market faster.
This work, and all of the work that precedes it has given us the opportunity to contribute a detailed proposal (it’s 164 pages) to the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payment Task Force.
Advising on a better payment system
Last year, the Fed called on the industry to get its act together and join the rest of the world by creating an improved payment system for the United States. Over 500 stakeholders, payment experts, consumer groups, and regulators raised their hands and the Faster and Secure Payment Task Forces were formed. With the Fed’s help, the industry has created an effectiveness criteria and process to assess new payment systems—this is what Dwolla submitted to last Friday. A better payment system is also what we’ve always cared about building.
Why we chose to contribute
The industry is in a much different spot than it was 4 years, 2 years ago, even 6 months ago. The Task Force’s submission process hopes to help drive a kind of singularity in payments, where disparate innovations, ideas, and motivations converge to provide a new platform for money movement in the United States. When the Task Force releases their final report early next year, they will have helped create a new market virtually overnight.
Our submission lays out some straightforward ideas for a faster payment system in the U.S. We know how this works because we already built one. It’s called FiSync and many of you may have already used it. Our submission reveals a lot about how FiSync works today and how it could work tomorrow inside an improved national payment system. I’m particularly excited about the path it paves for financial institutions to enjoy the type of platform growth we’ve seen over the years.
FiSync is a great technology. It assures real-time availability of good funds 24/7/365 to end users and is a tremendous leap forward in speed and security over today’s bank transfer system. Building it allowed us a very useful role in the payments world and forwarded an agenda we care about most: building the ideal way to move money.
Still, the real-time payments landscape hasn’t accelerated like we thought. Maybe it’s our tech-centrism, but, we/I thought that if we built the best technology everyone would just use what we built. Instead of hoarding a technology that may or may not be relevant tomorrow, we believe sharing our ideas through the proposal will bring about a market for it to thrive. The more we listen and collaborate, the sooner everyone gets faster and more secure payments.
The thing about innovation is that it tends to occur and reoccur in the places that are built to nurture it. It’s time we hand off and share this innovation with the Task Forces in hopes that it accelerates how fast the market delivers faster payments at scale. We’re appreciative of the Fed for giving us the opportunity to help and the forum in which to do so.
For the time being, we’ve made sure our branded products at Dwolla.com and our white label APIs are ready for additional faster payment connections. So as new systems come online everything just gets faster without requiring those building on Dwolla to change a thing.
My final thought
One of the most exciting days in this company was getting FiSync to work for the first time. I wasn’t convinced originally I was looking at a production system until it was redone a few times and I took the time to log into my Veridian account. This was the first time we actually realized the money was moving faster than the website would load.
That feeling is something I’ll never forget. Equal parts fear and excitement but a healthy realization that this is just how it should work. Payments should be this fast and we think this step is the best way to get faster payments to everyone.
I thought, on a day like today, I’d be celebrating a million accounts and the billions of dollars customers are moving through Dwolla, but in reality, I’m just appreciative of the opportunity and am hopeful that all of this gets us one step closer to the ideal way to move money.
If you’d like to learn more, check out a couple links about Dwolla’s FiSync, the state of real-time, and the Fed’s Faster Payment Task Force:
- American Banker: “Veridian Credit Union Goes Live with Dwolla Payments“ (2012)
- Federal Reserve: “Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System” (2015)