The shift to mobile payments is underway, especially now that Apple is encouraging customers to pull out their smartphones instead of their old leather wallets every time they pay. But the possibilities for brands to capitalize on the mobile wallet revolution extend far beyond payments.
So you want to be a mobile payment company? (It's understandable; everyone else is doing it.) But you're not a bank, you say? No matter. BancBox, a San Mateo, Calif., start-up, has introduced its new platform and it lets pretty much anyone, even "non-financial companies," build payment services into their web and mobile apps. Thus, anyone can now build in processes to apps to collect, send and store funds for consumers. And it's all secure and regulation-compliant.
"We've done all the integration with banks and regulatory agencies so companies don't have to," said BancBox CEO Sanj Goyle in announcing the launch of the platform.
Goyle said the company's "out-of-the-box" set of APIs covers the entire money movement flow. That means companies can deliver payment services in days rather than months, he said, and scale and adapt them as needed.
"And because all of our services meet regulatory standards, our customers don't ... need to acquire a money transmitter license or maintain PCI compliance," Goyle said.
In short, app developers can now move beyond simply adding in a payment gateway to accept credit cards (which they can do with BancBox) and include more complicated transactions.
Say a developer wants to create a prepaid account or digital wallet product. With BancBox, developers can now securely store funds in bank accounts, even FDIC-insured accounts. The platform even provides for real-time balance and activity history. Or online market and auction sites can handle transmitting settlement funds to sellers or service providers. (A video from BancBox showing some other use cases is below.)
And on the payment acceptance front, the BancBox platform provides payment support for methods like checks, ACH and wire transfers along with credit and debit products. More payment options mean more conversions, especially for applications where users may not have access to credit or debit accounts.
There are, however, some limitations to the services BancBox provides. At the moment, the platform only supports transactions in the U.S. (The company said it's looking to expand to handle transactions in the U.K. and Canada.) And the costs to handle transactions beyond basic credit and debit purchases, or create stored value accounts, seem a bit high. (Creating an FDIC-insured customer account costs $1.00 and carries a $1.00 per month charge.)
But considering just how many new business models are being invented to handle commerce across mobile devices or social networks, BancBox gives developers a payment platform that offers plenty of options and flexibility.
"By taking the complexity out of building payment services, we are giving non-financial companies the opportunity to add revenue-generating opportunities to their business," Goyle said. "The possibilities are endless for today's business to easily include payment platforms to mobile devices and social networks."
James Wester /
James Wester is a technology writer and blogger with over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications in the technology and payments sectors. Prior to joining MobilePaymentsToday.com as editor he worked as Director of Corporate Communications for Chase Paymentech and ran payment operations for AOL. James has a BA in English from Drury University in Springfield, MO and an MS in IT Management from the University of Virginia.