Feb. 29, 2012
Building on its $465 million acquisition in September of person-to-person payments service CashEdge Inc., bank processor Fiserv Inc. on Wednesday announced it will combine CashEdge’s Popmoney with Fiserv’s ZashPay P2P payment networks under the Popmoney name.
The combined network, which also will be integrated into Fiserv’s CheckFree RXP payment suite, will connect 1,400 financial institutions and have access to 35 million consumers through existing online and mobile-banking relationships, Fiserv says. The CheckFree RXP payment suite is in use at 3,600 financial institutions. All clients will be upgraded to the enhanced Popmoney product and network by June 9, 2012, says Tom Roberts, senior vice president of marketing for the CashEdge division of Fiserv.
The combined network includes major U.S. financial institutions such as Citibank, PNC Bank, Regions Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and BBVA Compass, in addition to more than 1,300 regional and community-based institutions. “The scale of the network is quite substantial and it gives us more momentum and runway to increase the size of the network,” Roberts says.
Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv selected the Popmoney brand for the combined network because larger institutions already were “aggressively” promoting the name in regional and national ad campaigns, including Citibank and Ally Bank, Roberts says. “Popmoney was gaining a little more consumer awareness than ZashPay had,” he says. Fiserv launched ZashPay in July 2010, while Popmoney began operations about six months earlier.
The restructured Popmoney network is a hybrid comprised of the best features of both networks, Roberts says, declining to give details.
Under the combined network, customers will send money directly from their bank accounts to another person using the other person’s bank-account number, e-mail address, or mobile-phone number. Previously, customers could send money using an e-mail address or mobile number. Fiserv says it added the bank-account credential after hearing from some customers that they preferred using it in scenarios like sending money to a child at college. Transactions typically clear and settle through the automated clearing house network.
Customers will also be able to schedule recurring payments and future-dated payments, such as rent to a private landlord, using Popmoney. “That’s very popular,” Roberts says.
The enhanced Popmoney will be easier to use and includes advanced functionality, such as the ability to request money from individuals or groups, import contacts from Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail e-mail to a payee list, and send e-greetings along with electronic cash. In addition, the new Popmoney cuts down on the number of steps needed to complete a transaction.
Both Fiserv and CashEdge have been signing P2P deals with major industry players such as Visa Inc., which offered both services. But the combined network faces heightened competition in the market from the clearXchange P2P service announced in May by Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. ClearXchange will be available at first only to customers of the three banks, but the owners plan to expand it.
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