While it will never become obsolete, the staple excuse for late payments—i.e., “the check is in the mail”—may be on the way to holding a lot less water. Ingo, Inc. has announced a check-splitting service that allows users to cash a check on their smartphone via its Ingo Money App and instantly send the funds to multiple accounts.
Consumers may harness the feature—whose introduction makes Ingo Money the first real-time money movement system with a check-splitting capability—to cash checks for up to $5,000 and send the funds to accounts held by multiple recipients of their choice. The app can also be used to send funds directly to banks and private-label issuers for the purpose of making payments to credit card accounts. In all cases, funds are guaranteed, thus protecting issuers and customers from risk and/or liability on returned checks.
Additionally, Ingo Money App users now have the option to leverage it to fund their PayPal accounts. Once funds have been added to a PayPal account, the money is available to make purchases online with the millions of merchants that accept PayPal. Funds received via the app and subsequently added to a PayPal account can also be spent in stores where PayPal is accepted, either through the PayPal mobile app or the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard(R). This occurs through PayPal’s “send money” feature.
“We have… replicated on a mobile device the immediate and reliable access to check funds that have traditionally required consumers to visit a retail bank location or check cashing outlet,” Ingo Money CEO Drew Edwards said in a statement when the check-splitting feature and PayPal funding capabilities were announced. “We continue to add services that enable them to move their money any place they need it.”
The premise behind the new features and funding options in the app seems solid given the strength of the target market: the hundreds of millions of consumers and small businesses that are challenged by delayed funds access and default risks associated with the more than $20 trillion in paper checks issued annually. Paper checks remain one of the leading payment methods in the United States for wage and institutional disbursements and person-to-person payments across all income levels, including financially underserved consumers, freelance contract workers, micro-merchants, and small business owners. By most estimates, nearly 73 million people receive paper checks on a recurring basis for the work they perform, while another 40 million receive checks from other people on a regular basis.
“More than 138 million Americans struggle to make ends meet, and check deposit delays and reversals wreak havoc on their finances,” Edwards noted in the statement. “The new features and funding options in the Ingo Money App make it even easier for them to unlock funds safely and quickly and meet their financial obligations without the fear of bounced checks.”
Ingo Money’s offering will never replace checks—that’s for certain. However, it’s entirely conceivable that the app is only the first of its kind to hit the market as payments industry players continue to expand into the alternative payments space, and as mobile becomes an ever-stronger payments force.