Payments on Twitter

I sent a friend some money via Twitter today using Dwolla.

Overall, it was a very slick experience. It took me the time it takes to write a tweet (and I did it on my mobile so conceivably we could do it real time, say, as we settle a check at a restaurant). 

The drawbacks/issues: 

  • Funds transfer. I don’t keep lots of money in my Dwolla account so, first, I had to transfer funds. That took four days. Perhaps as I do this more often, I’ll just keep a few hundred dollars there. 
  • Receiver sign up. The receiver, of course, has to sign up for Dwolla. The service is well-architected in that the receiver doesn’t have to be a Dwolla user at the outset. I can send funds, and they can then go through the sign up process to receive them (or at least in theory as I haven’t confirmed with my friend yet whether he received the funds). But, nonetheless, from the receiver’s perspective it’s somewhat a pain as they first have to sign up. (Admittedly, Dwolla’s sign up process is very well-designed so it’s as easy as it can be.) Then, the receiver has to validate their bank account to transfer the funds to their bank account. That requires them to check their bank account and tell Dwolla the amount of two small deposits they made. It can take a few days. That’s frustrating and takes time. 
  • Transfer fee. I had wanted to pay the $0.25 transfer fee (rather than have the receiver pay it, which is the default). When you transfer on the Dwolla site, you can check a box to do that. I couldn’t do that on Twitter. (So, Ahad, I owe you a quarter.)
  • Pending? Immediately after I made the transfer, I checked my balance in Dwolla, and it still hadn’t reflected the transfer. I also couldn’t see the transfer in the Pending section. That seems unusual because I could conceivably send more money than I have in my account. I did see the following tweet sent from my Twitter account immediately after I tweeted so it seems to have worked:

So there’s some overhead in the process and some tweaks that I’m sure the team will iron out.