During an an onstage interview at The Wall Street Journal’s AsiaD conference, Jack Dorsey said he was working with banks to distribute Square readers/accounts directly to bank customers.
Since it was Honk Kong, I was thinking OCBC or HSBC. But it turns out the first financial institution (note 1) to take Jack up on his offer, is WV United FCU, a 5,000-member CU headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it was the first financial institution in the world to implement mobile remote check deposit in August 2009 (previous post). WV United is also featuring Dwolla P2P/alt-payments on its homepage.
- Square: The CU is promoting Square on its home page (see screenshot #1 below). Square is the first of five promotions that rotate across the top (see also Dwolla below). The promotion features the 2.75% merchant rate and uses the @square Twitter feed to make it more interesting. The landing page invites members to signup for Square and redirects them to the startup’s webpage. It doesn’t appear there are any official affiliate arrangements. But Square allows payments to be transferred to any bank account, so WV United members can have the proceeds automatically deposited to the CU account.
- Dwolla: The Dwolla connection is more integrated, with a co-branded online account opening page (screenshot #4). There is also more info loaded onto the CU’s page including a short video, the @dwolla Twitter feed, and a features/benefits section.
Bottom line: No one is going to accuse 11-employee WV United FCU of not keeping up, innovation-wise, with the big banks. In fact, it’s setting the pace in some areas, albeit in a more "bolted on" fashion (note 2). Granted there’s little, if any, direct revenue from these efforts. But they also require no infrastructure investment. So, if they keep members satisfied and employees excited, then it’s a win.
1. WV United FCU homepage (14 Nov 2011)
Note: The credit union leveraged Bank Transfer Day for another 10 days (lower right). Smart.
2. Landing page for Square promo (14 Nov 2011, link)
Note: Square Twitter feed on right
3. Landing page for Dwolla promo (link)
4. Co-branded online account opening (link)
1. They are the first that I’ve heard of. There could be others linking to Square in a similar fashion.
2. When I say "bolted on" I mean that the experience isn’t integrated with other WV United online offerings. Integrated is best, but bolted on is a good way to test the market and keep costs down.
3. For more info on P2P payments and other topics, see our subscription service, Online Banking Report.