Fuze In The News
T he National Retail Federation expects nationwide gift card sales to top more than $28.79 billion in sales in 2013, with $8 billion of the sales originating through the already thriving mobile and virtual gift card channels. With the proliferation of smart phones, the wallet-placeholder status of plastic gift cards is being replaced. Through virtual gift cards, consumers can send and spend gifts from their cell phones via an app, email, text or even social media – revolutionizing the way consumers send gifts and spend money.
There are tangible benefits to virtual gift cards over traditional ones, most notably the ability to avert monthly and dormancy fees. Stores now send friendly email reminders to gift-card holders to notify them of card balances and usage. Additionally, the intimate quality of the customer experience a virtual gift card provides creates a more compelling brand environment for the recipient, enabling a unique, multimedia opportunity to redeem the card’s value. Open- or closed-loop virtual gift cards are continuing to proliferate in marketplaces ranging from restaurants, department stores, eBay Inc. and just about anywhere else, thanks to prepaid virtual gift cards branded, for example, by Visa Inc.
E-gifting of virtual gift cards has opened up doors for merchants by leveraging data analytics to target marketing programs based on consumers’ buying trends and habits. Retail chains and stores are developing and deploying loyalty programs tailored to support customers as they shop online. The ability to provide consumers personalized, rapid customer service will attract new customers and cause repeat customers to continue visiting the business.
The future of gift cards is now
Electronic gift-giving companies have penetrated the consumer landscape by inventing apps that allow users to quickly send and receive virtual gifts. Throughout 2013, the industry will continue to see the emergence of business-to-business companies taking advantage of the growing virtual gift card trend. Payment processing companies capable of sending money from the giver’s bank account to the recipient’s are popping up to meet the demands of virtual-gift giving consumers. Location-based virtual gifting allows consumers to send any kind of gift, at any location, without going through a merchant. Gift-giving apps process givers’ requests by using a payment processing platform to quickly and conveniently transfer funds from one account to another.
The simplicity of sending a friend a beer at a local pub through a location-based app paves the way for a sense of community, and a gift that will actually be consumed. According to TowerGroup, virtual gift cards are forecasted to reach $11 billion in sales by 2014, with no sign of the annual revenue depreciating. Companies with payment processing technologies that allow for quick, simple fund transfers are fueling this trend’s ascendancy. They are the driving force of funds and management behind e-gifting platforms – and will procure the most benefits, continuing the trend for years to come.
Originally Published by The Green Sheet here
The location-based process of the electronic gift exchange powered by Giftly allows consumers to send any gift, for any amount, to any recipient. How has Fuze Network delivered and ensured the timely transfer of funds for Giftly’s 25,000 gifts made in Q4 2012 and Q1 2013? Click here and find out.
There are more than 1 billion bank-issued cards in the United States – more than 500 million debit, 600 million credit, 50 million reloadable prepaid, 100 million private label, including store, gas and retail – and yet there are more than 37 million Americans that are classified as “unbanked” and do not possess a traditional checking account. These consumers are technically not unbanked because they possess, on average, three to four bank-issued card accounts. They have a bank account, just not a traditional savings or checking account.
The question remains is how are these consumers paying bills on plastic if they don’t maintain a traditional checking account?
“Unbanked” consumers are restricted to paying bills by waiting in lines to fill out code-specific forms in cash payment centers found in retail stores, or by waiting for their payment to arrive via mail through purchasing a money order or certified check. Traditional checking account customers spend minimal time visiting their financial institution or logging online to handle their financial needs. There are no forms, no codes and no calls to process their desired payments, plus their visit might even end with a lollipop.
How can financial institutions, retail stores and card issuers offer quick and convenient financial services for the “unbanked” and “underbanked” consumers to match those of the banked?
According to NerdWallet, as of November 2012 the average U.S. household hovered around $7,117 in credit card debt. And surprisingly, more than 40 million credit card bills were paid with cash last year. The typical “unbanked” consumer must get creative to turn that cash into a viable solution to pay bills or load money onto their multiple forms of plastic.
Transforming an ordinary point-of-sale (POS) terminal into a payment center would help revolutionize the way the “unbanked” or cash-preferred pay their credit card bills. Credit cards, and especially retail store-issued credit cards, must have accessible and cost-effective methods for consumers to make cash payments. Increasing the locations of payment acceptance for plastic will increase card utilization, customer loyalty and foot traffic – a win for the consumer, retailer and card issuer – and also differentiate the retail store from its competitor by offering such an opportunity.
Credit card payments must be seamlessly integrated into the average, on-the-go American lifestyle. A quick, premeditated trip to the drug store can offer a consumer more than just their drug store needs. A POS that is capable of accepting and processing cash as a credit card payment will allow anyone with a plastic card – banked or unbanked – to add cash to their card account quickly and conveniently. The added benefit of not having to increase inventory and additional costly infrastructure, will increase store revenue and repeat customer visits.
Mobile, online and retail banking are changing the ways consumers purchase and conduct financial transactions; shouldn’t all parties have the opportunity to benefit from this new era of banking?
Dave Wilkes is founder and CEO of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Fuze Network, a payments technology company that has “fuzed” together existing payment networks enabling cardholders to send money to any card. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 888.389.3832.
Originally published by PaymentsJournal here.
Merchants have the opportunity to increase foot traffic by offering consumers the ability to make cash payments at the POS terminal through their ISOs and agents. Enabling retailers to accept cash payments for bills at the POS eliminates late fees and delayed posting times for consumers.
To learn how Fuze Network is enabling this new era of banking: Read Article
Virtual gift cards are growing at a rapid rate, and according to Mercator Advisory Group, its sales are expected to reach $1 billion during 2013’s holiday season. Giftly, a virtual gifting experience that allows a gift giver to send any gift, at any location, has penetrated the gift giving marketplace by enabling the transfer of funds from the giver’s credit or debit card to the recipient’s. The value of the gift is transferred to the recipient via Fuze Network, allowing for a convenient and quick gift exchange. Any merchant can accept a Giftly; opening up the doors for smaller retail locations to offer and accept gift card programs. Instead of losing business to proprietary and large retail programs, says Dave Wilkes, founder and CEO of Fuze Network, Giftly benefits financial institutions because customers are sending money from one bank account to another; riding on the rails of other card networks. To read the full “Gift Cards Go Virtual” article, click here. (The article is on pages 26-32.)
Fuze Press Releases
Fuze Network Presenting at 2013 NACHA Payments Conference
What: More than 35 million consumers choose not to establish a checking or savings account with financial institutions. Even more consumers – upwards of 50 million – use prepaid cards to manage their finances. While these consumers do not engage in traditional banking activities, many rely on the convenience and protection of credit cards and prepaid cards. One hindrance to self-banked consumers using plastic has been the expensive, time-consuming challenge of paying bills without a checking account or reloading prepaid cards. With the developments of innovative payments via terminal technology, transferring cash to any card can be as simple as swiping at the terminal and handing over a payment.
Who: Dave Wilkes, founder and CEO of Fuze Network, a payments technology company with the nation’s first platform that enables the movement of funds to any bank-issued card through an open Application Programming Interface (API), can provide expert commentary on: – How self-banked consumers use both credit and prepaid cards as a safety net against overspending; – The hurdles consumers face when paying or reloading cards with cash and how these barriers reduce the usage of card services; – The benefits of setting up terminal and point-of-sale (POS)-based load services for financial institutions, card providers and retailers; and – How consumers can use cards to receive funds from any electronic transfer without a checking account.
When: Wilkes is available to provide insight immediately by phone, or at the 2013 Payments Conference hosted by NACHA in San Diego, Calif., Monday, April 22 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. PDT.
Contact: To speak with Wilkes, or for more information, contact: Joanna Braeckel at 678.781.7211 or David Jones at 678.781.7238
- Credit card payments made by noon CT on due date will post without penalty, or payments company will reimburse customers -
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 8th, 2013 – Fuze Network, a payments technology company, is now guaranteeing that its consumers making credit card payments by noon Central time on or before the due date will not be charged a late fee. If they are, company executive Dave Wilkes says Fuze Network will reimburse the consumer.
“Hectic schedules, forgetfulness and simple day-to-day activities sometimes interfere with making a bill payment in advance,” said Wilkes. “Consumers should feel confident that no matter what happens during the billing cycle, if they can make a payment using the Fuze reCHARGE™ Network by noon Central time, their payment will post without penalty.”
According to a report conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act has curtailed credit card late fees paid by consumers; from $901 million in January 2012, to $427 million in November 2012. However, consumers still find themselves paying $25 for a first late fee violation, and $35 for a second violation within the next six months, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), who holds regulatory responsibility for administering the CARD Act.
“In our analysis of consumer complaints from the CFPB and feedback we’ve gathered from social media, fees are a huge pain point for credit card customers,” said Steven J. Ramirez, CEO of customer experience firm, Beyond the Arc, Inc. ”Customers view late fees as a particular nuisance and are an obstacle in building customer loyalty from the card issuer.”
“Alternative methods to pay a credit card bill take at least two or more days to reach their issuer, and end up costing the consumer an exorbitant fee because they need a quick posting,” said Wilkes. “The Fuze guarantee ensures the customer that their payment – on any credit card type from any card issuer – will post quickly and without penalty.”
Fuze Network’s nominal convenience fee of $3 to process a payment enables cardholders to pay their credit card, deposit cash or load debit cards by swiping their card and paying the cashier. The Fuze reCHARGE Network is available nationwide at thousands of retail locations including Pay-O-Matic, Fidelity Express, the Community Financial Service Centers (CFSC) and ACE Cash Express.
“More than 70 percent of our customers are repeat users of Fuze’s services for their credit card payments,” said Robin Miles, CEO of Pay-O-Matic, the largest financial services chain in New York. “Partnering with Fuze has allowed us to significantly reduce the fee on expedited credit card payments, provide our associates with a faster processing system and offer an affordable credit card payment option for our customers.”
Card issuers will see incentives from the no late fee guarantee in the form of on-time payments and assurance from their customers; building customer loyalty and repeat card usage.
“The ability to make cash payments on a credit card bill isn’t as simple as consumers would like it to be,” said Wilkes. “Our service helps build the relationship between consumer and card issuer – making bill payments a convenient and cost-effective occurrence.”
About Fuze Network
Salt Lake City-based Fuze Network is the nation’s first method to easily send money to any card. The company’s reCHARGE service “fuzes” together existing payments networks to enable users to pay bills, deposit cash or reload prepaid cards by simply swiping the card and paying the cashier. Fuze Network is the easiest, most cost-effective method of increasing retail traffic and building payment transaction volumes. For more information, visit www.fuzenetwork.com.
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec 17, 2012 – Fuze Network has developed the technology that enables consumers to make cash payments on virtually any card at any participating retail location, processed more than 3.5 million transactions in 2012.
Since its inception in 2010, the Fuze reCHARGE Network has provided consumers with a simple way to send funds to credit cards as payments, to debit cards as deposits and to prepaid cards as loads.
The Fuze reCHARGE Network routes transactions to more than 14,000 financial institutions and card issuers, and is directly promoted to cardholders by many of those, including Citi Bank, First Premier Bank and Merrick Bank. The reCHARGE Network expands the number of retail locations in which a consumer can make a load or payment on a card; increasing card usage.
“We processed more than $250 million in total volume this year, providing retailers, financial institutions and card issuers who partner with us a competitive advantage,” said Dave Wilkes, founder and CEO of Fuze Network. “More than 60 percent of our transaction volume comes from repeat cardholders using the service, which builds customer loyalty and repeat usage at participating retailers.”
There are currently 150,000 integrated retail endpoints with access to the Fuze reCHARGE Network, including Pay-O-Matic, ACE Cash Express, Fidelity Express, the Community Financial Service Centers (CFSC), and the Community Choice Financial Inc. (CCFI).
Since the open platform Application Programming Interface (API) can be accessed by any point-of-sale (POS) terminal, Fuze’s reCHARGE Network requires no additional hardware from retailers. It simplifies and accelerates the transaction process by eliminating manual entry at the point of payment: no forms and no codes. The consumer simply swipes a card and presents their payment, discarding the possibility of error.
“For the card issuer, the Fuze Network technology removes the process of filling out forms and entering mis-keyed account numbers and incorrect codes,” said Wilkes. “All other payment types require manual entry, but Fuze Network routes the transaction perfectly through the system with one swipe.”
The benefits for retailers and card issuers have established Fuze Network as an efficient payments platform to ease day-to-day operations of alternative financial services stores. The card issuer is provided with a low-cost, error proof method for card processing. The ability to move a payment procedure into the check-out lane significantly reduces the retailer’s time serving one individual customer, providing them the opportunity to participate in more transactions.
“Fuze Network is gaining traction heading into 2013,” said Wilkes. “We are currently focused on cash payments, however Fuze Network will soon be able to offer an extensive amount of services.
About Fuze Network
Salt Lake City-based Fuze Network is the nation’s emerging method to send money to any card. The company’s reCHARGE Network fuses together existing payments channels to enable users to pay bills, deposit cash or reload prepaid cards by simply swiping the card and paying the cashier. Fuze Network is the easiest, most cost-effective method of increasing retail traffic and building card transaction volume for consumers. For more information, visit www.fuzenetwork.com.