Dwolla – the mobile and online payments provider supported by Des Moines, Iowa-based The Members Group – has announced roll-out of “Proxi,” a smartphone app that will allow users to exchange money with other people and merchants in their proximity.
Proxi, said TMG executive Brian Day, obviously competes with the trendy Near Field Communication (NFC) tools that have won considerable press.
But, said Day, NFC adoption is lagging as it is caught in a chicken-and-egg dilemma with consumers waiting to see more NFC-enabled merchants before buying an NFC-capable mobile phone and merchants are waiting to see more NFC-using consumers before buying an NFC reader.
“With Proxi, we are shifting the focus from hardware to software,” said Day, who indicated an iPhone app will go into broad testing in September, with downloads available at Apple’s App Store. Android and Windows Mobile apps will follow shortly, Day indicated.
A particular Proxi focus will be mobile merchants – farmer’s market vendors, for instance, or taxi drivers – who will be able to broadcast their location. Proxi-using consumers will be able to find those merchants on their mobile devices. Payments can then be made, easily and without need for additional hardware, Day said in an interview.
In a statement, Day elaborated: “We anticipate the addition of Proxi will encourage even more financial institutions to see Dwolla as a key to attracting Gen X and Gen Y. Members of the younger generation are drawn to the benefits of mobile payments, and the financial institutions who can give them a safe, affordable option will win customers for life.”