How FIS Bagged Bluebird with Its InstantFunds Mobile Technology — and Its Data on the Underbanked

November 26, 2012

Chances are if you’ve cashed a check recently, you’ve worked with banking and payments technology provider FIS.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company announced last Friday that Bluebird, Walmart and American Express’s joint prepaid product, will employ FIS’s InstantFunds mobile solution to deliver mobile remote deposit capture (RDC) of checks. So how did FIS win over Bluebird?

Cashing checks can be a risky business. Customers that often have little credit industry are requesting instant funds. Checks can be fraudulent or written on nonexistent funds, and with mobile deposit, the photo my be blurry or may be deposited twice or to an incorrect amount. The dizzying amount of risks involved with remotely cashing checks  is a barrier to remote deposit capture (RDC), and is one reason why some financial service providers have been slow to adopt it, despite strong demand from consumers.

FIS is deeply involved involved in check-cashing and processes a huge amount of payments. It is active in 17,000 check-cashing locations nationwide and processed $42 billion in 2011. “We have proven scale and maturity in the check-cashing space,” said Aaron Calipari, vice president of product management for FIS’s Certegy check authorization division. “This allows us to take on some of the risk for AmEx and Walmart.”

And, indeed, FIS will.

FIS’s strong presence in check cashing appealed to Bluebird. That market penetration means FIS has a large cache of data on underbanked customers — Bluebird’s target users. “We have data on 35 million unique customers,” Calipari told Bank Innovation. “Out of an estimated 60 million underbanked, that gives us a big footprint in this space. We have 200 million consumer records from retail check authorizations, so we can make good decisions in this space.”

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2 Responses to How FIS Bagged Bluebird with Its InstantFunds Mobile Technology — and Its Data on the Underbanked

  1. Melanie Friedrichs on November 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Hmm, there is a big difference between collecting data and having data in a usable, analyzable form. I have to be suspicious Calipari’s data-driven decision claim– but also jealous, that’s an interesting demographic!

  2. Bob on January 14, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Instant funds? Amex takes at least 6 business days to release funds deposited through its RDC feature.

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