ACH goes real time with FiSync. Free for banks and credit unions.

Dwolla’s FiSync service is something that we’ve been working on for years in some form or another. We released the standard functionality in various forms last year to financial institutions across the country, but none of the iterations offered the most disruptive component: an engine to power real-time transaction of real funds.

As of today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve designed a real-time system that solves this problem. Not only does it solve the problem, but we’ve decided to give the answer to your banks and credit unions for free.

Why is this important?

I give you a dollar bill, and you know that dollar is worth 4 quarters, 10 dimes, 20 nickels or 100 pennies, but as Dwolla users, you know that when it comes to electronic transactions that is no longer the case. Since the 60s and 70s, new fees, costs, partnerships and structures have been built on top of what used to be a pretty simple idea, turning it into a confusing system that’s no longer recognizable. I swipe, you get paid 2-7 days later, the value of a dollar drops by ~2.75%, and $48 billion is lost.

At its core, the thing feeding this beast and moving your money from Bank A to Bank B is a 40-year-old system, facilitating a $33.9 trillion dollar exchange, called the Automated Clearing House (ACH).  Unfortunately, the way that it works, the processes that it requires, and the parties needed to be involved, take transactions two to five days to clear. Compounded by 80+ reject codes (which have a full 90 days for everyone to wrestle with), rampant fraud and unrealistic hours of operation, ACH isn’t the engine for real-time payments. It’s old reliable but it needs a helping hand to go real-time and not take a holiday break.

What worked well back when Disco and rotary phones were a good idea doesn’t work well now, and instead of innovating a new solution, we handed off the reins to Visa and Mastercard.

FiSync: A real-time API for financial institutions and service providers

The core component of FiSync is a real-time transfer system that allows money to move from one bank account to another, in real-time, and without using any of the existing systems, networks or resellers. That simple.

Giving it away for free

It’s not an API to solve a development issue, but an API to speed up a $33.9 trillion landscape and make it safer. We think that’s worthy of a $0 price tag, so we’re giving it away to your banks and credit unions for free.

No long drawn out contract, special treatment for different sized banks, or any precedence once a bank is signed up.  No sales cycles, no licensing agreements, no fancy dinners where I stroke your bank’s ego, just a pretty nifty SDK, with some endpoints and API keys.

For banks, credit unions and service providers, it allows you to:

  • Integrate with Dwolla’s cloud service to facilitate real-time payments, which is up and running 24/7 (so it won’t be closed on the weekends or federal holidays)
  • Gives you the ability to hold on to deposits
  • Protect your clients by requiring other financial institutions to verify account information prior to engaging in transactions
  • Bypass big scary ACH batch file

How does this benefit existing Dwolla users?

  • Transactions will start to shift from a wait time of 3-5 days to real-time availability and you won’t have to do anything. We’ll make the changes for you as your bank or credit union comes on board.
  • There is a verification layer which makes it more secure than traditional processes.
  • IT’S FREAKING REAL-TIME!!!

How does this benefit merchants / businesses / software providers?

Simply put, it makes Dwolla even more attractive. Developers are already harnessing Dwolla’s APIs to move millions a month, but the new development certainly bolsters the argument. Nothing changes, it’s just an added benefit.

  • You can innovate products on top of it
  • Money can hit your bank account or Dwolla in real-time
  • If you’re a merchant this means downline, real-time payments, for anything. That includes T-shirts, stocks, bonds, energy, utilities, gas…

Also, there are some API changes in the works, which are going to make some developers extremely happy as well.

A few added bonus items

  • Dwolla’s pricing and fees won’t change at all.
  • Dwolla’s core system and value propositions won’t change at all.

Now what?

If you’re a bank, credit union, or service provider to financial institutions you can apply to get access to the API here.

If you’re a marketplace / software platform / other provider who wants to leverage real-time in your software platform, grab your API keys and get ready for the next round of API updates.

If you’re an ATM / switch / set of pipes that thinks that this is a good integration opportunity for you, we consider you a service provider and would love to work with you expanding both of our capabilities. Please check out access to the API here.

If you’re a consumer, Veridian Credit Union comes online June 4th for all Veridian members, so I suggest you get a Veridian Credit Union account if you’re in Iowa ;)