There has been a lot of talk of future iPhones using Near Field Communications (NFC) for payments, but if Dwolla has their way, Apple won’t need to add that capability to upcoming hardware.
On Wednesday, March 16, Dwolla Spots will be added to the App Store. As seen in the video accompanying this post, the app provides a list of locations near you that take Dwolla payments. When you arrive at a location, you simply enter your PIN number and the amount you want to pay to the merchant, and you’re done. A receipt is sent to you, and the merchant receives notification of the payment.
What’s great about Dwolla Spots is that it totally eliminates the need for special hardware. There’s no need for merchant to have a way to swipe a credit card (like a Square dongle or one of the many “sleds” made for credit card apps), nor does the iPhone need to have NFC built in. Online merchants can also use the service through what are called HUB pages, or through an API that connects the service to most shopping cart solutions.
Dwolla charges a flat US$0.25 fee per transaction no matter how large the transaction is, which is excellent for merchants. According to Jordan Lampe, Director of Communications for Dwolla, the company already has a big following in the Midwestern U.S., and with the app becoming available, it’s likely that adoption of Dwolla will increase rapidly.