Dwolla was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Much of the information encountered by prospective customers and the Review Team is targeted towards merchants becoming providers with Dwolla so that they can accept Dwolla payments from their customers. One of the primary differences between Dwolla and other mobile wallet apps is the fact that Dwolla does not store or use their customers' credit or debit card numbers. Rather, when sending money with Dwolla, users' funds are debited from the existing US bank account.
Businesses using Dwolla as one of their accepted methods of payment are able to offer their customer security in that their financial information is not shared at any time with the merchant. Additionally, the fee structure for sending money with Dwolla (previously $.25 for all transactions of $10 or higher was discontinued in June, 2015.)
Dwolla is a good alternative for a small percentage of the population who are looking for a mobile payment option, but is too limited in its scope at this time to be considered a top choice or fully recommended company by the Review Team.
- Free account
- Mobile app
- Convenient payment process
Users are able to sign up for a free personal account with Dwolla, which is best used to send money to friends or family. Some retail locations accept Dwolla as a form of payment, but not many. Accounts are free and it is free to send/receive money from another member of Dwolla. When sending funds, the money is deducted from the user's confirmed US bank account and the details of this account (account number, etc.) are never shared. There are no fees for using Dwolla. Likewise, if a merchant accepts Dwolla, they usually display a sign near their register/POS terminal. The majority of merchants accepting Dwolla are online sellers.
Dwolla's mobile app allows users to send money from their Windows phone, iOS, or Android devices with a few taps. All transactions require multiple steps to sign in and confirm, so users are protected against unauthorized or accidental transactions.
Dwolla has a number of security measures in place to protect its users against fraud. These include:
- Financial information is never transmitted during a transaction.
- User information is never sold or shared a third party.
- Dwolla's servers are encrypted with 128-bit encryption through Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) and/or Transport Layer Security (TLS). The servers all are protected with firewall and intrusion protection.
- All the information is backed up on a disaster recovery system
- Users must enter their personal four digit PIN for every transaction.
- Dwolla also allows users to set up a two-factor authorization which requires the user to provide two types of identification to complete the login process.
Convenient Payment Process
The payment process is convenient for paying friends or other individual people.The company recently suspended all of their fees for transactions above $10, so sending/receiving money is free. There os a $5,000/day limit for accounts. This limit may be increased at Dwolla's discretion, and is determined on a case-by-case basis.which can be transferred on any given day however.
Users may schedule payments in advance for recurring bills, such as rent, etc. Users receive notifications before their payment is sent so that they may modify or cancel their automatic payments if necessary.
- Lack of information
- Limitations of service
Lack of Information
One of the disadvantages to using Dwolla is the lack of available information about how many and which businesses accept Dwolla as payment. Dwolla's main strength is person-to-person payments, and they are growing their merchant base. Since merchants can white label Dwolla as their persona payment system, it is difficult to get accurate information on how many businesses are using Dwolla.
Limitations of Service
Receiving money from an individual sent via Dwolla requires that both parties are members of the service, and with as many person-to-person payment solutions available, there are
Dwolla does include a reward system for their members, nor do they have the ability for users to store their loyalty cards in the mobile app.
For those retail location which accept Dwolla, the process needed to complete payment involves several steps and is more involved than many customers would like.
The payment process for Dwolla is as follows:
- Enter a recipient: the user must know the address, email, or Dwolla ID to make a payment to them
- Enter amount: the user then enters an amount to pay, with a $5,000 personal limit and a $10,000 limit for businesses
- Choose where the payment comes from: the user must then decide if they want the payment to come from their bank account (1-2 business days) or their Dwolla account (real time).
- Submit PIN and payment: finally, the user reviews the information and enters their four-digit security pin. They can then select the Submit Payment button to initiate the transaction