The Network Effect: Ingo Money Acquires Fuze
By Loraine DeBonis, Editor-in-Chief
Cash and checks in, electronic funds out to just about any card or biller—that’s the promise of the latest payments industry acquisition announced today at Money20/20. Ingo Money, known for its mobile check deposit capture technology and Good Funds Network, is planning to acquire Fuze Network, a payments technology company that enables loads to more than 1 billion bank-issued cards at thousands of retail locations.
The deal, which is expected to close by year-end, brings together the key pieces of the puzzle for consumers looking for more convenient ways to access their money and manage their financial obligations, Ingo Money CEO Drew Edwards tells Paybefore—funds in and funds out. For their partners—financial institutions, card providers, retailers and alternative financial services providers—the combined company offers extensive expertise and reach into two important channels—mobile and retail.
“This is game-changing for our business model,” says Edwards. “We’ve got the check-cashing piece licked,” he says pointing to Ingo’s mobile, ATM, branch and self-service kiosk network that enables consumers to “digitize checks.”
The Roswell, Ga.-based company has a direct-to-consumer mobile check-cashing app consumers can use in conjunction with Ingo’s prepaid card partners. It also has an enterprise solution that enables companies to offer irreversible good funds deposits to their clients via multiple channels. Fuze adds the ability to direct funds from consumer check deposits to almost any credit, debit or prepaid card, money transfer or bill payment. In addition, its retail network helps Ingo users—and its partners’ customers—digitize cash. And, Ingo’s mobile platform enables Fuze partners, like major check cashers, to reach consumers via their phones.
“This is a rare occasion when combining technologies has the potential to help millions and millions of customers,” says Dave Wilkes, founder and CEO of Fuze Network. “This isn’t just for the self-banked. It’s about helping everyone transact in easy and convenient ways using their phones or at retail, and being able to direct those funds immediately to where they want them to go.” Wilkes, who started Fuze in 2010 will be staying on with the combined company.
The first order of business is integration. Edwards expects to have some clients up and running on the integrated platform by the end of this year.
“We have a shared vision,” Wilkes adds. “Doing it together absolutely accelerates the path both of us are on.”
Edwards, profiled as one of six Payments Visionaries in the Fall 2014 issue of Pay Magazine, says the venture-backed company, which is increasing its shareholder base with the acquisition, is poised to take on the cash economy. “The problem with cashing checks is you’re often handing consumers’ cash in return, so you’re propagating the cash economy. We want to feed consumer funds into the digital world, so they can move and manage their money electronically.”
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