Pageonce Debuts Local Payments, Aims to Own Consumers' Digital Wallets

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Personal financial management provider Pageonce has added a person-to-person payments service to its mobile-focused software feature set.

Pageonce, of Palo Alto, Calif., announced Thursday a new service called Pay Anyone, which expands its bill pay services to include local companies and individual people.

The vision for the new service, which was created in-house, is nothing short of replacing the checkbook, says Steve Schultz, chief operating officer of the company.

"We are trying to build a complete digital wallet," Schultz says. "We are bringing together personal finance, payments and mobile in one solution."

Pageonce, which lets consumers connect their accounts to the software, first launched in July 2008. The startup, which has about 8 million users in the U.S., says it currently processes more than $1 million worth of bill payments per day.

"Pageonce is a PFM provider to be watched," says Mark Schwanhausser, director of multichannel financial services at Javelin Research.

Because of its account aggregation feature, Schwanhausser describes Pageonce as the "Switzerland" of bill pay. It aims to design an experience where consumers sigh less when they must undertake the chore of bill payments.

Yet Schwanhausser views biller adoption as a hurdle for Pageonce. "Brand name will play a big role in whether someone opens a relationship," he says. "Some [receivers] will be hesitant to engage."

Even so, he says, "Every bank should think of Pageonce as a threat to a certain degree." Why? Any company that offers some sort of PFM functionality is nibbling at banks' relationships with their customers, he says.

Customers have been able to make payments to "thousands" of larger billers since 2011, Schultz tells BTN. With the new P2P feature, the list now includes local billers like piano teachers and gardeners.

"This expands the breadth of bills we can cover inside of our apps," Schultz says.

The service, which was created in response to customer requests, works like this: a user taps on a button labeled bills, to jump to two new options: big biller and small biller. Once a person touches small biller, he can choose whom to pay, say a babysitter, and enter that person's phone number or email address, along with a message about what the payment is for in order to make a transfer. Then, the user chooses which bank account to use to pay the person. The person getting paid, meanwhile, must enroll in the startup's receiver service in order to receive the funds. Currently, customers can only pay from bank to bank, though Pageonce plans to add additional ways to send funds looking ahead.

Click here to view the demo video.

The pricing for local billers and consumers for bank-to-bank transfers is free. "Once a biller is in our system, [he] can collect money from whomever," Schultz says.

If there's a hiccup in a bill payment, users can contact Pageonce support through phone and email.

The P2P market has been heating up for months. Though Javelin research published in 2012 dubbed PayPal as the leader of P2P transfers, the firm found the eBay-owned company facing more and more competition, including from the likes of Fiserv's Popmoney and clearXchange, a partnership among Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

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