Introducing: Dwolla for [Smart] Governments

press conference

Iowa is at its best when presented with a challenge. It’s the simplicity of our resolve -to identify problems and find rational solutions- that’s positioned the state as a baseline for quality of life,  sustainable business initiatives, and economic health[1].

And it’s why we’re proud to announce our government payments partnership with the state of Iowa.

The goal is simple:
How can government use Dwolla’s technologies to inject savings, time, and resources back into the economy?

What does this mean?
From collecting property taxes online to issuing refunds in real-time, from renewing vehicle registrations with your phone to saving money while paying government contractors, we are working with the state to identify the potential impact Dwolla’s real-time, online, and mobile technologies could have on every level of state government. We’ve already found one opportunity to save the state and local businesses thousands in fees and administrative costs.

With the help of this partnership, we’re also working with other states, federal agencies, and departments to find ways to use our low or no-cost system to cure administrative headaches caused by ACH and add layers of convenience for taxpayers. It’s government intelligently using technology to improve the way it does business, inside and out.

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And the best part? Mr. and Mrs. John Q Public aren’t paying additional tax dollars. In short: the government is simply using an existing electronic payment system (Dwolla) to solve existing pain points (fees on top of government payments) by tapping existing resources and people (state officials).

What does this mean TODAY?
Initially, we’re working with a handful of vendors and retailers to replace certified checks, ACH payments, and wire transfers for an estimated $130 million in annual taxes for the state. And while you may not be able to pay your taxes using Dwolla today, you are going to start seeing our logo pop up here and there as the state looks to modernize the payment experiences and do better business for the 21st century taxpayer and economy (e.g. mobile payments, low-cost transfers, and real-time notifications, etc.).

But I don’t live in Iowa?
Don’t worry, as the months pass many of you outside the state will begin to notice Dwolla as an option to pay or be paid. We’re moving as quick as we can to work with your governments and find new ways to save time and money, like paying for a parking meter or fishing license with your mobile phone. We may be working with your city or state to help meet the internal needs of its departments or agencies. No matter the scenario, everyone will benefit from the safe, flexible, and efficient network Dwolla provides.

Learn more at dwolla.com/government.

Want to get your government on board? Let them know. Have an idea on how to use Dwolla with the government? Throw it in the comments section.
[1] http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm & http://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/WhyIowa/WhyIowaBusinessEnvironment

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidglover David Glover

    What is the potential total savings if all of Iowa state government switched to dwolla for all transfers? That number could help other states see the potential. Could you determine average savings per person to see potential savings for other states. Any cities getting on board yet?

    • http://dwolla.com Jordan Lampe

      David, great question. Looking at direct savings, like processing and administrative costs, we estimate that we’ll be saving Iowa vendors and retailers thousands in this initial use case. However, there’s also a indirect savings that may be more meaningful and have a greater impact on both sides. Obviously, freed up resources, thwarting potential fraud, and other opportunity costs are much harder to pinpoint.

      Aside from that, extrapolating an estimated savings for other states is already difficult. Each state has their own collection and processing methods, each with their own costs. Like most states, The State of Iowa does not allocate funds in the State budget to absorb processing fees (see the Fast Company article and the notion by the governor’s office). This of course isn’t a dig at the state, (they’re atleast providing the convenience of an online payment option) just the realization that they have limited funds to do so much.

      This challenge becomes even harder to measure when you try to estimate the potential savings offered by future integrations, like parking meters, inter-department transfers, etc.

      Luckily, instead of resting on their laurels, the state has recognized the economic burden that this painpoint places on taxpayers and have decided to act.

      David, I agree though. It’s definitely a powerful sales tool and is something we’re committed to measuring. Thanks for the push.

  • mrcave

    This is huge. Congrats on the partnership, can’t wait to see where you take it from here.

  • A+ Mobile Maintenance

    My first detailed comment failed to post, please contact me for information for GSA vehicles service payment.

  • Justin Brown

    I am really proud to have a Dwolla account. Progressive business.

    • CaityJones

      Thanks, Justin!

  • manbearpig

    this better not add more regulation and over site to Dwolla… Where ever the government goes, corruption usually follows… Don’t conceive if they wish to get personal “statistics” about transactions… Not saying the government will, but history is against them.

    • CaityJones

      Regardless of whether the government is involved or not, we are a highly regulated company because we work closely with financial institutions. However, you can be assured that we will never sell your personal information.

  • Matt

    I hope the savings are actually passed on to the “customer”. I guess I don’t know how it works for businesses, but as a consumer when I pay the Gov’t with CC I don’t pay the swipe fees. I do pay some arbitrary convenience fee that supposedly covers the cost of the swipe fees.The assumption here is that the Gov’t will reduce those fees? I’m believe it when I see it. I know Dwolla can’t control this, so congrats regardless:-)

  • Yosef Shuman

    Congratulations! I look forward to your further contributions to government financial efficiency