Will Dwolla add credit cards like Paypal?

Continuing the discussion from About the Feature Requests category:


Using cards isn’t a bad thing but it is where a large number of fees come from and that’s how Dwolla provides such a massive discount on pricing in comparison to other networks. Receiving anything under $10 is free and receiving everything over $10 is just 25c a transaction.


Dwolla is able to offer this pricing model because we rebuilt our own network, replacing the old tech, and allowing anyone with an internet connection to gain access to it. Given, they need to be in the US for the time being.

These fees charged by the card companies aren’t just an issue of what companies select to charge but are also embedded because of the technology the networks use.

There’s only so low pricing can go using traditional networks. Which is why we built our own. To fix the fee problem, you must start over from scratch.

If you’re using Dwolla to try to process debit/credit cards you might be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

The trick is, you trade us 5 minutes to create an account and we trade you a lifetime of saving money. Every time a customer uses Dwolla with you, you make more money

On the Dwolla network, the internet replaces the card. There is no physical card.

At some point it’s not impossible to imagine a world where a gateway builds a payout functionality to your Dwolla account but adding that to Dwolla’s core network would dramatically change what Dwolla is today.

If you’re looking for Paypal alternatives (to replace charging credit cards) I’d look at Braintree, Authorize.net, Stripe, Simplify, or any merchant reseller might be a good option.

If you’re looking to get paid electronically and don’t want to pay those fees. That’s what Dwolla is here for.

You have lots of options for charging credit cards and there’s no shortage of people that would love to have your 2-3% on every payment.

We don’t want to charge you those fees. Dwolla wants you to have a better option and save a boatload of your money. That’s what we do and that’s how we can help you and your business.

Said in another way.

I think about adding cards to the network like Tesla changing it’s cars to run on gas because gas stations are on every corner. Sure, it’s hard to start over but it is possible.

If Dwolla was a car company… Think of it like we produce electric cars and making those cars run on gas because gas is everywhere, changes the future for us and what we are here to do.


If Dwolla was to add Debit/Credit cards and would work around something that makes sense legally the amount of people who use Dwolla would increase because this would further benefit the company overall and the people.

Right now, PayPal is one of the only websites that offers “instant” payments via Debit/Credit cards and that is one of the only things standing in the way of Dwolla. If all of the legal aspects of using Debit/Credits cards were handled then this would benefit so many people. I know for a fact that customer usage would increase if Debit/Credit cards could be used just by operating the business that we operate. The community and the public people are moving towards virtual currency and the sending of money to one another.

If Dwolla was to make it to where you could send money instantly from a Debit/Credit card to another user. Dwolla is already being used for payments by some major companies such as Major League Gaming or MLG and the players would all transfer to Dwolla from PayPal if this was to be enabled. This is just one community and this community could create a domino effect and bring many new people to the universe of Dwolla.

I want to come back to this analogy

I think about adding cards to the network is like Tesla changing it’s cars to run on gas because gas stations are on every corner. Sure, it’s hard to start over but it is possible.

We can absolutely technically do this. But is it a good idea for a network that is built to save you those fees and will it inherently hurt the business in the long term? Likely, so.

If you’re being paid out today you can instantly send money to another other member on the Dwolla network or make purchases at any stores that accept Dwolla.

What would you say are the primary reasons for wanting to have that money in Paypal? Is it ability to shop at various merchants?

Thanks for the feedback!


Yes, the main thing PayPal is used for is from various other businesses such as MLG.com, Office Depot, ETC. Right now, Dwolla has a lot of potential because they care more about the customers, all that is left are features such as the ones you listed above. The reason PayPal is so big is because they have features such as payments through Debit/Credit Cards, PayPal Debit Cards (Uses money from your account), and such.

People would come to Dwolla if the service featured a unique Debit/Credit Card payment system so users can, for say, pay for services, purchase items on other websites, and to be able to send money to other users instantly instead of waiting the 3-5 day wait time during the transfer of money from their bank account. Now if Dwolla could offer these services the amount of users would increase in the next 5 years and Dwolla would be open to SO much more than what it is now.

I, personally, work in the gaming industry and we watch for trends and certain things the community wants and asks for and majority of the time the word “PayPal” is used because they are a source of instant payment. I would love to see the word “Dwolla” take that position because of how simple payments could potentially be.

I do not know how many users are on Dwolla but maybe putting a global message to all users and basically ask for feedback or make it something that users must do in order to proceed to the page. This would help and get the feedback of the people who do use Dwolla and would possibly help to get more feedback from the people.


On the shopping side:

You can shop on Amazon and other large sites with this: https://www.zincsave.com/ - Which would allow you to find just about anything including office supplies.

There are a few comments on the blog which may be helpful here - http://blog.dwolla.com/buy-anything-on-amazon-com-with-zincsave-and-pay-with-dwolla/

There’s also growing merchant base and if there’s something specific you’re looking for I’d just post on the board and someone might actually find it.

On the payment side:

You should be able to enable credit and you’ve got no delay without even waiting for a card to show up - http://blog.dwolla.com/real-time-payments/

Solves the issue of instant payments without the delay and it still keeps the cards out.

In the future

I’d be surprised if a provider of reload-able brand name card didn’t provide cards that pulled from your Dwolla balance or from the credit balance. That’d actually be a really great product but at this time I don’t see us building it.

In our mind. Simple also means simple fees and reducing the cost of payments. We’re open to partnering with people to offer services like this but selling them directly changes our engine from electricity to gas and takes away from the problem we care about solving.

I hate to say this but if what you’re looking for is a place to use the plastic cards. Paypal or another option is what you’re looking for. If you want to help build a new network without any of those fees from the ground up, that’s what Dwolla does and we’d love your help.

I agree. I think that if Dwolla accepted Credit/Debit cards it could cause a branding issue–people might think Dwolla is just another Paypal/Square company. I do see the point that is being made that it would be convenient for customers to still use Dwolla if they were paying with credit/debit cards. But I think the branding issue is more important, and that Dwolla should not accept debit/credit cards.

If getting people to use Dwolla is your goal and the reason is solely because it will save you–the company–money, then you need to offer your customers an incentive to sign up for Dwolla!

Look at the user’s purchase history (either by account of by credit/debit card) and determine:

  • How frequently they make purchases
  • Average amount spent & average number of transactions
  • If you think they will continue doing business with you

Now determine how much you could save if the customer used Dwolla and these numbers continued into the future. Maybe you pass on 6-months worth of savings onto the customer and that amounts to a 10% discount on the day they sign up.

And Dwolla could help by given the merchant that signs up a new customer X number of transactions for free. (I’m not a merchant so maybe this is already done.)

Also, merchants could team up with other local companies and offer X% discount if the customer uses Dwolla on that day. Make it a cooperative marketing effort.

There are times when I want to find all of the stores that accept Dwolla, which I can’t find one online and the iPhone app is unusable (sorry… truth). It would be nice to have a quick directory/local map view of all stores that accept Dwolla.

Hope some of these thoughts helped.


I’m interested in the “Paypal or another option” part of your reply. Are you aware of another option besides Paypal that will allow a transaction to be processed, funds sent to another user and have those funds be available immediately at the majority of retailers?

Tesla can’t build their cars to run of gasoline, i understand that. However Tesla is trying to build the public charging infrastructure everywhere like Walgreen, some chain stores and personal charging infrastructure at home. Trying to make the alternative fuel readily accessible. Along those lines, is there way to instantly access and transfer the bank account funds through Dwolla. same question for Credit card funds. is Dwolla collaborating with third party credit card company that is not visa, not mastercard,etc. same question for banks. I really like your concept. hopefully in the future everything will come together for Dwolla.

Yes. Absolutely. Open a FiSync connected bank account. FiSync connected banks have our real-time connection so there is no wait, at all.


Dwolla. same question for Credit card funds

Yes. Absolutely. See, credit:

Both of these solutions are focused on banks building connections to the Dwolla network that give you the speed and convenience of real-time payments.

I’d be surprised if a provider of reload-able brand name card didn’t provide cards that pulled from your Dwolla balance or from the credit balance. That’d actually be a really great product but at this time I don’t see us building it.

I am referring to this line and suggesting a different approach. Instead of re-loadable brand name card, something like re loadable app on iOS , Android, etc would be ideal. Main success criteria of this app is going to be the ability to connect to most of the bank accounts and credit accounts. If this app is build correctly, this app can eventually replace VISA and MasterCard slowly.

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@Hannya_Tech_Inc - Shiftpayments.com has done just that.

I’ve been using the card myself lately and it’s a pretty great experience overall. Definitely worth a shot.

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