Hundreds of millions of American consumers and small business owners who rely on checks for wages, contract work, customer payments and other person-to-person payments and institutional disbursements no longer have to wait for check deposits to clear and post before accessing their funds.
Today, Ingo Money, Inc. unveiled its newly expanded, universal Ingo Money App, with First Century Bank, N.A. The app enables consumers to snap a photo of a paper check with their mobile device and receive the funds instantly and irreversibly in almost any bank account or prepaid card account.
Despite increasing emphasis on faster and easier digital and mobile payment solutions, $26 trillion in checks are issued annually, according to the Federal Reserve, with $4.7 trillion in checks written to consumers alone--nearly $1 trillion more than total U.S. card payments. Americans still rely heavily on checks, which exposes them to the traditional banking system that requires them to accept float and risk on check deposit transactions. Consumers and small business owners must wait, often 3-5 days, to access check funds. If checks fail to clear or are returned even months later, posted funds are revoked, contributing to $30 billion in annual bank fee assessments for insufficient funds and overdraft. The Ingo Money App enables anyone to access their check funds in minutes, irreversibly, so they can make purchases and pay bills with confidence.
"The Ingo Money service accessible via the Ingo Money App is the first to make the mobile deposit instant, easy, reliable and safe for all consumers, regardless of their chosen banking relationships," said Drew Edwards, founder and CEO, Ingo Money. "Consumers and small businesses want immediate, reliable access to their money so they can meet their financial obligations. With its newly expanded support for most bank debit cards, the Ingo Money App becomes a critical part of everyone's check deposit routine."
The Ingo Money App's universal instant deposit feature expands the core capabilities of the service by enabling consumers to link almost any bank debit card or prepaid card they choose and fund it in minutes from an approved check for a fee.
"Ingo Money is an excellent example of innovation leveraging the existing, near-real time push payment capability of the card networks to meet unmet customer needs," said Cecilia Frew, senior vice president and head of U.S. Push Payments, Visa Inc. "We are proud that Visa's Platform can help enable Ingo Money to bring secure, fast financial access to millions of Visa cardholders."
Paper checks remain a primary payment method for wages and institutional disbursements, and the leading payment method for person-to-person payments, spanning multiple income levels:
34% of underserved consumers do not have access to direct deposit and instead rely on check payments, according to research from Visa;
Data from NACHA indicates that two-thirds of small businesses, which employ over 8 million people, do not offer direct deposit to their employees, and many of the 26 million part-time workers in the U.S. are not offered direct deposit;
Of the 53 million freelancers and contract workers comprising the burgeoning 1099 economy, most receive check payments from the businesses for which they provide services, and 20 million sole proprietors and micro-businesses receive checks from their consumer and business customers;
In total, nearly 73 million people receive paper checks on a recurring basis for the work they perform, while another 40 million receive checks routinely from other people.
"For millions of consumers, and particularly digital native Millennials, instant deposit is the corollary to real-time digital payments," said Lisa McFarland, chief marketing officer, Ingo Money. "There is an expectation that money, regardless of its source, should be able to flow into an account as quickly and reliably as it can flow out of an account."
Consumers can use the Ingo Money App to cash checks up to $2,500 and receive the funds in the account of their choice in minutes for a fee. All checks submitted in the app are processed, cashed and funded by First Century Bank, N.A., (FCB), a national bank. Funds from approved checks are available to spend immediately after they are posted and are guaranteed, which protects account issuers and customers from any risk or liability on returned checks.