Dwolla, the online payments startup that made a name for itself with an investment from celebri-preneur Ashton Kutcher, is now offering a payment option that you don't even have to have an account to use.
"Today," Dwolla says, "is about addressing one of our own shortcomings: the 'chicken or the egg' dilemma. This metaphor is meant to explain the difficulty in establishing a mutual connection between two parties in order to transact inside a network. For example, merchants that accept American Express are dependent on whether or not their customers hold an American Express card, and vice versa. Likewise, Dwolla merchants have been dependent on whether or not their customers have a Dwolla account to pay with Dwolla. This “members-only” mentality contains and limits the payment experience, but has been a hallmark of the electronic payment industry for sometime. For the last year, we’ve been hard at work improving Dwolla in order to open our network and set it free."
Users can simply use the guest checkout option to make a one-time payment with participating merchants.
"Traditional wisdom in the payments space says, 'you get a customer’s data, monetize it, tax it, and never ever – under any circumstances – share it [unless someone pays handsomely],'" the company says. "We feel like that kind of sucks, and we knowit doesn’t need to be as unfair, expensive, or insecure as many would like us to believe. Bottom-line, in our system, this 'secret handshake' mentality has become a pain point for our business trying to sell something and a consumer wanting to acquire something. Our job is to find and remove those pain points that get in the way, even if it’s us."
Dwolla says it's safer than writing checks, and utilizes its "safe and secure" network technologies. Merchants can see increased profit margins and savings over credit cards, the company says. There's a flat 25 cent fee for transactions over $10. If it's less than than, there's no fee. There is also free tracking and reporting for merchants.
Launch partners for the offering include: ZooZ, WebHostingBuzz, Tortoise & Blonde, SureDone, Startup Threads, Seconds, Reddit Donate, PayTap, Muzooka, Small Farm Central, Path.To, HouseTab, Gombler, Givr, FreeAgent, Dash, Casual Corp, Angelwish, Actifield, and SupplyHog.
More on the offering here.