Citi goes live with POP MONEY

28 October 2010

Citi just went live with Cashedge’s POP Money service. Citi is now the leader in mobile payments for both retail (this service) and card. Congrats to the Citi team for getting this done.

You may ask why does POP Money position Citi above Chase’s QuickPay? The answer is network and integration. With Quickpay, it only works if you are a Chase customer or you go through the registration process. With POP Money, Cashedge can deliver direct to account distribution to every one of its 100+ enrolled banks, as well as manage risk in transfers to accounts at its largest retail bank customers (Citi, BofA and Wachovia all use Cashedge for external transfers). The customer experience is also integrated into online banking and the funds transfer process.

From a network perspective, PayPal is the only other company which could surpass Cashedge in number of “links” to deposit accounts (~30M, ~20M respectively). The key difference is Cashedge is a bank service provider and has much better risk controls for P2P transfers (as opposed to online purchases of goods). As a bank service provider, it is also integrated into key bank risk infrastructure (ex. Early Warning’s DepositChek).

It would seem that Bank of America and Wells are intent on following Chase down the road of building a home grown system. Quite a shame, as Cashedge is a bank friendly vendor helping to keep banks at the center of emerging payments. The bank battle is not a technology one, it is against non banks and customer mindshare. Citi clearly recognizes this, keeping control of payments and delivering value while minimizing execution risk. I hope BAC and WFC will move in same direction, doing your own thing may satisfy the NIH folks.. but creating a bank owned service which can be used by any bank customer means that you will eventually need to integrate to POP money… at some point.

P2P on Mobile – CashEdge POP Money

Just announced at Finovate today

I know the folks at CE very well. Fantastic organization.. they excel at both the Sexy front end as well as the messy back end (risk/fraud) of payments. Their new POP Money service is rock solid and could give FSIs a strong contender in competing w/ PayPal in Sending money to any phone number or e-mail address.

CashEdge is a “Bank Friendly” service provider in that all of their services are white labled for banks. Few people know that if you use Wachovia, Citi, or Bank of America today, to transfer money outside of the bank, you are using a CashEdge Service. In 2004 I selected CE (Wachovia) because they provided a higher quality service at a lower price point then what I could build  internally (fully loaded). Many eCommerce teams only focus on the User Interface and top level design when assessing the cost of delivering P2P payments.  However it is risk and fraud management where you will find the true costs of “payments” to the organization. 

This new POP service will allow banks to create a revenue generating service, and take back consumer mindshare from PayPal.  Existing CE customer have a tremendous advantage in enabling this service, particularly given the current resource constraints within bank IT.

Many large banks are just beginning to offer A2A transfers (accounts that I own across FSIs). Wells just made this service available on a pilot in June.. Chase has it, but it is buried deep within the online functionality. There will be a big first mover advantage here, and my informed opinion is that Bank of America will be the the leader… or should I say stay the leader in payments.

Move over PayPal.