Remote deposit capture may be a recent innovation, but Plastyc is already looking to improve upon its foundation, giving customers the ability to access their funds immediately for a small fee. PYMNTS.com spoke with Patrice Peyret, Plastyc CEO, about Plastyc’s unique approach to check deposits, the CFPB’s interest in his company, and why prepaid accounts are taking the place of their traditional checking counterparts.
By now, most tech-savvy consumers are familiar with remote deposit capture technology. You grab a photo of your check with your smartphone, fill in some information, submit for clearance, and a few days later you see the funds in your account. It’s an incredibly useful tool that saves consumers time and trips to physical bank branches. But in 2013, it’s starting to become old hat.
So what has the CFPB, H&R Block and half a million consumers so interested in Plastyc? The ability to not only remotely deposit your check, but to decide when you receive your funds as well.
PYMNTS.com spoke with Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc, to discuss his company’s unique platform, its partnership with the CFPB, and why he views prepaid as the modern alternative to traditional checking accounts.
According to Peyret, Plastyc began in 2006 as a company that specifically targeted teenagers — a demographic he believed to be underserved and largely ignored by traditional banking infrastructure. But after the economic crisis began to hit in 2007 and beyond, Peyret and others quickly began to see that teens weren’t the only ones with trouble finding suitable banking services — millions of adults encountered such difficulties too.
“We realized that that big opportunity to serve people who were not really well served by existing banks was even bigger,” Peyret admitted.
It’s from that lineage that Plastyc has evolved to what it is today, as it prepares to launch the trial of its new breed of mobile check deposit. Under Plastyc’s system, consumers can choose to access their funds several days after deposit for no fee, just as they would under many similar platforms. However, Plastyc also offers consumers the option to access the funds immediately for a small fee, determined by the type of check they wish to deposit.
Peyret says three factors allow Plastyc to offer the unique service. The first: mobile push notifications.
“We don’t always know how long it’s going to take for accepting a particular check, so it’s important that people don’t get stuck looking at a spinning wheel on their cell phone,” Peyret said. “Now we can simply alert them when their check has cleared.”
The second factor is Plastyc’s arrangement with Chexar Network, a company that “manually reviews the most challenging checks,” which Peyret says is the most effective anti-fraud method, as “humans are better than machines at detecting” fraud.
And finally, Plastyc takes advantage of Visa’s Personal Payments platform, which Peyret notes lets any Visa payments card issuer send money to other via issuers anywhere in the world.
Consumers have to pay just one percent for any payroll or government-issued check from which they wish to receive immediate funds, and four percent for all other forms of checks. Consumers can deposit amounts up to $2,500 — a number Peyret says was selected as it encompasses most payroll and government checks.
The consumer appeal of Plastyc’s unique system is self-evident, but the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau has taken an interest in the company as well. According to Peyret, Plastyc is part of the CFPB’s new “Project Catalyst,” where the agency is “collaborating with innovators like [Plastyc] to learn more about the products we are creating.”
The relationship is a mutually beneficial one: the CFPB can determine the popularity of Plastyc’s immediate fund access option.
“An of course form our case, we are benefiting from the fact that we understand what is important for those regulators, so we make sure that we are a step ahead of the curve,” Peyret said.
To hear more about Plastyc’s remote deposit capture system and Peyret’s comparison of prepaid and checking accounts, listen to the full podcast below.
(If you have problems with the audio player above, click here.)