Do you Dwolla?

February 10, 2011 —

When thinking about what to write for the DMU blog, I naturally asked my wife Sheila for her opinion. She said “write about technology.” I couldn’t agree with her more, because I’m a geek and technology is what I’m most interested in.

Believe it or not, Des Moines is home to one of the hottest new internet startups in the online payment space. I’m talking about Dwolla. Imagine going to the coffee shop for an all-day study session, carrying nothing but your laptop with the latest anatomy lectures, and your phone. You walk up to the counter, order a voodoo chai, whip out your phone and within 10 seconds you’ve paid! This is already a reality today, and those who frequent Mars Cafe (which has 2-for-1 drink specials Sundays & Mondays with student ID!) may have already seen it in action. Poised to replace Paypal as the king of online payments, Dwolla offers a nearly free (it’s free for sending, 25 cents for receiving) payment option for customers of business that offer it. AS I said, this is a startup, so it’s not available everywhere yet, but we should see this company grow rapidly as adoption spreads. And because it’s based in Des Moines, we’ll see a lot of growth here first.

As I’m writing to an audience of current and future doctors, imagine offering Dwolla as a method of payment for your patients! It’s convenient for them, and will save you money when you don’t have to pay Visa and Mastercard a much larger cut of the transaction than you would Dwolla. Also, payments can be sent and received in far more ways that currently available, including email, twitter, and facebook. Social media integration has been built into the design from the start. Dwolla also has iPhone and Android apps already available.

My wife recently lost her wallet at the airport on a layover, and I had to wire her money so that she could afford her taxi and hotel. Imagine if she had Dwolla – this would have been a non-issue. Frankly, I can’t wait to see what these guys do next.


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