Financial Plus Credit Union this week became the first company in the country to sign on to use FiSync, Dwolla's integration tool that shortens the process of linking accounts with the alternative payment provider from days to seconds.

Besides the boost in speed, "the other primary concern was secure methods," Dave Cale, Financial Plus' chief executive, says. "We were aware that security was a key aspect of their software."

Dwolla is working with about a dozen banks and credit unions and has more than 10,000 end users. Its system enables consumers to make person-to-person payments through email and through social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Before the integration with FiSync, a Financial Plus customer who was a Dwolla user would have to create a Dwolla account at the credit union by filling out forms with demographic information and by providing Dwolla with the routing number so two small "test" deposits could be placed.

With FiSync, that entire process is done more quickly through the website.

"This streamlines the process for Financial Plus customers, as it eliminates all of the demographic information that had to be submitted before. And it eliminates the trial deposits from a Dwolla account the customer would have to make to get an account started," says Brian Day, the Dwolla product leader for The Members Group, which develops processing and payment services for credit unions and banks.

Financial Plus, Dwolla and The Members Group are based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dwolla's Grid security software aided the integration process.

"That was a nice aspect of this," Day says. "It helped Dwolla enhance existing data security, and it's a secure platform that lets the customer control the information being shared."

Ben Milne, Dwolla's CEO and founder, says "we have 12-plus financial institutions in our queue to work with in the future, but getting the first one done in any process is the most important step."

Dwolla reported last month its Iowa user base had reached 20,000 and transactions were totaling more than $1 million a week, with online payment users from all 50 states.

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