When was the last time you wrote a check? What, just yesterday? Personal finance and payments company Pageonce wants to make sure you never have to write one again.
“The last refuge of the check is the ‘hyperlocal’ — your rent, your gardener, pre-school, your kid’s soccer league,” said Pageonce COO Steve Schultz.
Today, Pageonce launched its Pay Anyone Service to its 8 million users across the nation. Four-and-a-half years old and a billpay provider since October 2011, Pageonce is now expanding its service to allow Pageonce customers to make anyone — from the landlord to the plumber — a payee.
Pageonce’s Billpay section will now distinguish between Big Billers — credit cards and utility companies where the user has an account number — and Small Billers such as landlords, for whom the user simply needs an email address or mobile phone number. When a payment is sent, the payee receives an email or text that prompts them, if they are not already Pageonce members, to set up a Pageonce account. Schultz described it as a “one-time registration.” This account must be linked to a bank account that can receive the sender’s funds.
We might call this the PayPal strategy for viral growth. Once payees see how easy and convenient it is to receive funds in this manner, Schultz said, Pageonce’s user base will grow. “The user markets the product,” Schultz said. “It takes on a life of its own. Our customers find us through the app stores. And then there is viral marketing through natural use.”
A service with a similarly hyperlocal focus is PayNearMe Express, which facilitates cash payments and uses retailers such as 7-Eleven for processing.
The Pageonce service will only work with bank accounts to start, but the company plans to roll out the service for credit cards soon. Because there are fees associated with accepting credit cards, the payees or merchants will be able to charge for this, and Pageonce will provide tools to figure out what the fees will be and how much to charge, according to Schultz. The fee to pay bills with credit cards using Pageonce’s existing bill-pay service is 4%.
TechCrunch recently reported that Pageonce now processes $1 million in payments a day, and expects to hit an average of $1 billion a year, or $2.7 million per day, by mid-2013.
Pageonce is known for its PFM and bill pay, but Schultz emphasized that what the company offers is a “complete digital wallet,” adding, “We live at the intersection of personal fiance, payments, and mobile. That’s our DNA.” Schultz wrote a Huffington Post piece called, “What is a Digital Wallet, and Why Should You Care?” this past August. In it, he describes Pageonce’s vision of the digital wallet, which is not so much focused on the smartphone deploying at the point-of-sale, but the smartphone literally replacing the cards, cash and checks we carry.
Pay Anyone is available on iOS and Android devices through Pageonce’s newly updated app.
Pageonce is privately held. It has received $25 million dollars in funding and is based in Palo Alto, Calif.
Watch Pay Anyone in action below:
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