Introducing Dwolla Direct

Checkout with Dwolla Direct in just a few clicks, no Dwolla account required.

At Dwolla we are always looking to create new ways to make payments faster and easier, not just for our customers but for all customers. We believe speed and convenience aren’t luxuries, they’re necessities. That’s why we’re proud to introduce Dwolla Direct, a new payment experience that allows individuals or organizations to send money to a business directly from their bank or credit union without requiring an existing Dwolla account or linked bank. That’s right, with Dwolla Direct you don’t have to have a fully registered Dwolla account to use the networkand most users won’t even need to provide their routing or account numbers to make a payment. We offer a streamlined process that can instantly verify bank information and allow first-time users to make a payment in as little as 15 seconds.

securely send online bank transfers with Dwolla

We believe sending money shouldn’t require gambling with your sensitive account information. Using Dwolla Direct is like putting a username and password on your checkbook. Your sensitive account information is never sent to the receiver of your payment, and you have a digital receipt of the transaction. No more checks lost in the mail, no more exposure of your personal financial network. Plus, you can reuse your username and password to send payments any time. No more re-entering your payment information. Leave the checkbook in the drawer and say goodbye to the postman, Dwolla Direct has you covered.

What does this mean for our users?

Nothing. All of our “no-tech” payment tools, like Form Builder tool, shopping cart plug-ins, invoicing options, and Dwolla Buttons, as well as our Off-site Gateway API, will automatically update on June 25th. We’re announcing it today to give our businesses and merchants time to understand the improvements.

How does it work?

Create a username and password, authenticate your bank credentials, and you can complete your payment directly from your bank. It is as simple as sending a check, but with the visibility, security, and speed of a digital payment.

Send online payments without a Dwolla account

Dwolla’s mission is and has always been to build the ideal way move money. For us, this means making payments seamless, safer and less expensive.



  • Mike Wilner

    wait- so someone without a dwolla account can checkout on another site, and have funds transferred from the their checking account to the merchant same-day?

    • Ethos

      Most of your statement seems correct, but they mention nothing about same-day.

      • CaityJones

        @mike_wilner:disqus Yep, customers can now checkout via Dwolla without having to create a full Dwolla account. They simply provide an email address and password and login with their online banking credentials to instantly verify their bank account and the transaction. They can then return to complete future Dwolla Direct payments by only needing to provide that email address and password.

        Transactions will be bank-funded, therefore taking the standard 3-4 business days to process.

  • Matt Bowman

    I doubt people will complete step 3 above. Entering your bank user/pass on a third party site should feel suspicious to the average user. Is there a way to accomplish the verification without this step?

    • TartanSixNine

      I am assuming you can still do the standard “two small deposits” verification. IMO the marketing write-up is confusing and doesn’t do a good job of explaining what is different here from the normal account setup process.

      • BrianC

        @disqus_6iWTxtk7mb:disqus Great feedback — users can absolutely still create a full Dwolla account and use the “two small deposits” method if they’re not comfortable with Step 3.

        Additionally – the big different between a Direct account and a full account, is that a direct account really only requires setting up an email address and password so that you can transact through Direct in the future without having to enter in your bank credentials every time. A much faster process.

    • Robby Butler

      Matt, I share the concern that some of the people we invite to use guest checkout will balk when asked to supply the username and password for their on-line banking. I would! That’s why I’ve never tried for tracking finances despite my interest in what they offer.

      I was using Dwolla guest check out for donations to our ministry, but after having one of my donors run across this in some beta testing and balk I’ve had to stop using Dwolla guest checkout and go back to PayPal donations :(.

      So I’m left currently without an option I am comfortable promoting short of opening an account, which donors don’t seem eager to do with a service they haven’t previously encountered.

      What could work is if Dwolla offered two verification options:
      – this one (which may be faster and could be marked as such) could be available for those willing to provide their bank credentials to a service they don’t know, and
      – a (possibly slower) alternative involving the same two deposits and one withdrawal approach applied to new Dwolla accounts. In this scenario the person making payment would supply just their bank name (or routing number) and checking account, then when the funds are transferred they would receive an email confirmation requiring simple verification of the amounts to complete the first transaction.

      Both of these approaches enable Dwolla to create a “shadow account” associated with an email which could be upgraded to a full account instantly whenever the email holder becomes interested in doing so.

      • Ian

        Hi Robby,

        We appreciate the thoughtful feedback. We implemented the Dwolla Direct flow after gathering feedback from merchants that have actively used the feature since its conception. These members and their customers alike wanted a secure and faster way to checkout with Dwolla, without having to set up a full Dwolla account.

        The instant account verification process is standard across the industry, and we’ve partnered with a trusted technology partner in order to do this instantly and securely.

        The first verification option that you suggested, we currently use in the Dwolla Direct flow.

        The second verification option would not be instant, as you stated, but could verify a bank account within 1-3 business days. This option is currently only available when a user creates a full Dwolla account.

        I understand your suggestion, and see the value in it. We greatly appreciate the thoughtful feedback our members are willing to provide. I will make sure that your feedback gets in front of the proper parties.

        • Robby Butler

          Thanks, Ian. Above (perhaps too late to get real feedback), I’ve launched a simple poll of whether readers of this blog, who already know and trust Dwolla as I do, would hesitate to give Dwolla their bank username and password.

          Can you tell us what kind of testing Dwolla has done of this elsewhere, and what percentage has indicated that they would supply this information without hesitation?

  • TartanSixNine

    I think the only change here is that Dwolla is adding an online account screen scraping technique to verify a bank account immediately rather than only having the two-small-deposit option, correct? My assumption is that this is a similar process to the one that PayPal uses (without the ridiculous 2.9% fee of course).

    If so this is a good thing, and it shows Dwolla is being competitive from a technology standpoint. However I know this method doesn’t always work on PayPal so I’m curious about the success rate here.

    Please correct me if my understanding is incorrect of if there is something else that I’m missing.

    • Ian

      We’ve partnered with a trusted technology partner to securely and instantly verify your bank, and while I can’t get into specifics as far as success rate, I can tell you that this technology covers the majority of those that bank in the United States. For the smaller subset who bank at financial institutions not covered by this technology, they could then create a full Dwolla account where the 2 simple deposit method is used. Just as effective, but takes just a bit longer.

      • TartanSixNine

        So why market it as two different types of accounts then? Why not just keep it simple and say that you’ve added another way to verify your bank? Is there something else inherently different or limited in the Dwolla Direct account versus the normal Dwolla account?

      • pinayako

        I have Amazon Payment accounts and hesitated to give them my bank userID and PW to verify my bank account instantly. I went through the 2 deposit amount verification instead and I know a lot of people did the same thing. It takes time to build trust and hopefully, Dwolla can create a trustworthy reputation for people like me to try it. The concept sounds great but I have to admit, I don’t trust easily.

  • Charles Zhang

    Much better design but I think it still needs better copy. Most users are so used to credit card checkout, they are confused by the Dwolla logo. They need to know immediate that this is a “Fast, secure checkout using your bank account”

    • Robby Butler

      Agreed. “from your bank account” would be good to include in Dwolla’s summary.

      • Ian

        Great feedback guys! This product is obviously still very much in its infancy so we are wanting as MUCH feedback as possible to continue to make improvements. I will be taking this directly to the appropriate parties.

  • sbk

    i loving using credit cards and i hate using bank accounts, how good is this for me…?

    • Ian

      Thanks for the note! We do not link with credit and/or debit cards currently and that is how we manage to keep our fee structure as low as it is. To move funds in and out of the system a bank account will be needed. Check out our fee structure here: If you have any additional questions feel free to shoot them to

  • Justin Hughey

    This is a great, I’m happy that Dwolla is changing the way payments are made. So long plastic! A question, will this type of transaction be available for “User to User” transfers in the near future?

    • Ian

      Thank you for the kind note, Justin! Good news, you (as a full Dwolla member) can indeed accept Dwolla Direct payments. This can be done by using our Off-Site Gateway. For example, you could set up a form ( or a payment button ( An individual without a Dwolla account could go through the flow (showcased above in the blog post) and send a payment to you.

  • joewards

    Really interesting implementaiton. Is this funded through an ACH credit (a la Secure Vault Payments) or is it considered a debit?

  • Robby Butler

    I’m curious how many of US would feel comfortable supplying Dwolla with the username and password for online access to our bank. With the symbols directly below please vote “up” for “I’d do it without hesitate” and “down” for “I’d hesitate.”

    • PK

      People do hesitate. In our case (NeatSchool) I had to explain to the administrators of the schools what is going and they had to explain to their customers who had called inquiring. At the end is more secure than before—anybody with a check of yours and a cell phone number could have initiated a transfer from your account before—but people have to trust Dwolla and their “non disclosed” partner with their bank’s password.

    • Chad Johnson

      People for years have done the login supplying on and many more financial programs coming out like these that require that direct connection.

  • Mona Ali
  • bvantil

    I think this is *huge* and solves one of the #1 challenges for Dwolla – I could never get traction with the platform in my own experience as it a hassle to signup….wait….check deposits…wait….verify; and *then* I can transfer $…except the other person needs to do the same thing (more waiting). If I were new to Dwolla; but doing business with a trusted merchant, etc. – I’d be “sure!” And for those that are ‘leery’ of entering (albeit highly encrypted) bank info). – then you can kindly remind them how ‘safe’ credit cards are via Target hack. :) Congrats all as I think this will be a tipping point for you.

  • PK

    I like many aspects of the new approach but I think that asking users to create an account as the first step is a major usability issue and will turn people away. It should be something you suggest they do at the end so they do not have to go through the process of giving their bank credentials again. In our case, the user has just created an account with us, now they need to create an account with Dwolla and then they need to login to their bank, somewhere along the way I bet they will give up and mail a check instead.

    • Ian

      PK, great feedback. While Direct is a secure new flow that results in creating a Dwolla Direct account, we’re actually requesting less information to make a payment than we were with the old Guest Off-Site Gateway flow, and only requesting that information one time as opposed to every time they’d like to use the network.

      At the end of the Dwolla Direct flow we do prompt a user to create a full Dwolla account for additional functionality, receiving funds being one of those.

      • shan

        I do agree with PK. The customer has to think too much before completing the first purchase and this is not always good. You should try to remove the dwolla username/password request to make it seamless. Instead, why not letting the website generating a token for the customer and reusing this same token every time the customer checkout ? When at some time in the future, the user agrees to create a full account, you can reconcile the different transaction for the token and assign them to his account.

  • Lisa

    I don’t know how I missed this – June 25th? I have 2 forms using Form Builder for my clients already in place. Do I need to go to Form Builder and make any adjustments? Can I keep my Forms ‘as-is’ and my guests can check-out as before, or are the forms automatically updated (as implied) to follow this procedure? I’m a little confused. Also, in Step #3, what Personal ID are you asking/referring to? Thanks for any help you can give me. I want to be able to explain this to my clients. ~Lisa

    • CaityJones

      HI Lisa, You do not need to make any adjustments to your forms in order to continue to accept payments from individuals that do not have a full Dwolla account—they are automatically updated.

      The Wells Fargo example in step #3: in this particular instance they are asking for the sender to provide the first and last name on the bank account, as well as their login credentials for their online banking. Once this information is verified once, the user will be able to return to make future payments (without creating a full Dwolla account) by simply using the email address and password that they create in step #1.

      • Lisa

        Caity, Thank you for the information! Great news that forms are updated. :) Ok, I understand now about Step #3 – as it pertains to that particular bank (Wells Fargo). Got it. I think this is very helpful to those who don’t want to create a full account and just want/need to send payments only. I spread the word about Dwolla every chance I get, hoping it spreads south to Florida! Keep up the good work! Thanks again. ~Lisa

  • Michael2255

    I’m tech savvy in a non tech savvy world. I get it but my customers never will.

  • Larry

    Which ACH policy does this new Dwolla Direct (DD) method comply with, ‘Return’ or ‘Reversal’? The reason I ask is the html title of this page is “Dwolla direct lets you send a check directly from your bank.” And if this DD payment method is a check, then the DD method may also comply with the ACH policies for ‘Returns’, which are very different than the policies for ‘Reversal’.

    • CaityJones

      Hi Larry,

      For more information about Dwolla Direct, here is a link to our Dwolla Direct Terms of Service: To ensure that you get the most accurate response to your questions, I recommend that you get in touch with our ACH and compliance team at They’ll be able to answer all your questions about Returns and Reversals.

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