What do PayPerks and streaming music app Songza have in common? Both have founders with the last name Davich and both companies have a founder that went to Bowdoin.
There are many more lesser known facts, and fun photos, in this feature story from the Fall 2013 issue of Bowdoin Magazine.
Go U Bears!
Bowdoin Magazine Features PayPerks’ CEO (and her brother)
PayPerks is proud to be included in Poets and Quants’ first annual list of top MBA Startups. In good company, to boot: congrats to our friends at Warby Parker, SoFi, Rent the Runway, Blue Apron, FSA Store and Olapic as well!
This past year has been filled with many exciting milestones for PayPerks, one more exciting that the next. Nothing does a better job of putting those successes into context than this white paper, released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Payments Cards Center, about PayPerks.
The genesis of this paper began in July 2011 when Susan Herbst-Murphy, the author of the piece, learned about PayPerks at a conference on the government’s use of prepaid cards. From there, she invited us to conduct a workshop at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Over the 2+ years since we first met Susan, PayPerks has grown from 2 to nearly 30 people, launched on numerous programs and touched hundreds of thousands of cardholders. The paper, “Driving Positive Behavior Change through Education and Motivation” (link to download PDF) provides a deep dive on what happened along that path.
Here’s a summary provided by the author:
This paper discusses the fusion of financial literacy instruction and gamification as developed and delivered by start-up firm PayPerks. PayPerks’ initial emphasis has been on improving the understanding and use of prepaid cards among individuals with little prior experience using payment cards. PayPerks co-founders facilitated a Payment Cards Center workshop where they demonstrated their product and discussed the journey it took from raw idea to commercialization. Two significant new PayPerks partnerships, including one with the U.S. Treasury Department’s DirectExpress program, were also announced during this workshop. Along with describing a novel approach to consumer financial education, the PayPerks story is also a study in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Download the full PDF
Jumping in the Washington Square Park fountain has become a PayPerks way of documenting milestones. The team jumped in last year (see photo) to celebrate some early milestones, and the year before that too when we were just getting going.
For our third team jump, and my first (since I joined the PayPerks team this past spring), we set our sights on hitting 100,000 PayPerks users as “the next big thing.” We only hoped we’d reach our goal before they turned the water off for the winter.
Crossing that big milestone didn’t feel “real” until we started making the trek down from our office in the Flatiron District of New York City (past several lesser fountains). Along the way, we pointed out sights, making casual conversation while trying to psych each other out with how cold the fountain water was going to be in September. Truth be told: it was more than a little chilly.
The size of our team had doubled since the last jump, making it a little harder to sneak in for a quick picture and dart out again. But we somehow managed to dash in, pose, and all be looking at our plucked-from-the-crowd photographer at the same time. Miracles do happen!
We haven’t chosen our next milestone yet, but we’re hoping to have even more PayPerksians crowded into the fountain as our team continues to grow. We’ll have to take turns with which unlucky few have to take the brunt of the fountain in the back—thanks Ali, Caroline, and Tim for being brave enough to go all in this time!
We were excited to see how many complimentary things Paybefore’s recent article “Gamification: More than Just Fun and Games” had to say about PayPerks.
The article explains how gamification can help consumers overcome some major barriers to trying a new financial service product—fear, distrust and lack of interest—and goes on to suggest that PayPerks’ usage rewards takes gamification to a new level by incenting ongoing product utilization.
Hard to believe it’s been more than 2 years now since Paybefore named us their “Company to Watch”. We are glad to see they’re still watching!
Gamification: More than Just Fun and Games
Nice shout-out for PayPerks in the Association of Government Accountants’ recent report on the cost savings generated from transitioning from checks to prepaid cards:
“We’re now beginning to see a focus on using the prepaid platform to drive financial capability for cardholders, as in the recent announcement of the rollout of PayPerks in the Treasury program,” [Andrew Gillen of MasterCard] said. “It will be interesting to see if state governments follow suit.”
In addition to ease of use with prepaid cards, the AGA found significant savings for both the payees and the recipients of federal benefits payments. While it’s possible to use the government prepaid programs at no cost, an average cardholder will see a cost of .03% of the payments received on a prepaid card– compared to costs up to 4% for the alternative in check cashing fees.
The government is also saving– Treasurer of the United States Rosio Rios famously wrote a check to American taxpayers in 2011 for the $1 billion that will be saved by moving from checks to prepaid cards.
It’s a win-win-win!
Read the full article here: http://bankcreditnews.com/news/aga-report-finds-government-prepaid-cards-offer-numerous-advantages/11472/
Arlyn had a great talk with Kathleen Smith Shelton of the Center For Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) about some exciting milestones of this past year, how PayPerks defines success, and the advice for innovators breaking into underserved markets.
Kathleen: Do you have any thoughts for those just starting to look for ways to serve the underbanked markets?
Arlyn: My advice to entrepreneurs is always focus on solving problems — not just creating a business. … That’s the best place to innovate, right? If you can solve a big problem in a big market, you have a business.
Read more here:http://www.cfsinnovation.com/content/thoughts-winner-2013-core-innovators-mega-challenge
Many thanks to our friend and champion Andrew Gillen for touting some of our recent successes in the trade press.
Thanks to his artful prose, articles in Paybefore and Bank Credit News highlight PayPerks as an important tool for driving meaningful and beneficial changes in financial behavior and cite some comments from our Facebook page to illustrate PayPerks’ warm reception from DirectExpress cardholders:
- “I use PayPerks and it is a very good way to learn how to use your Direct Express card.”
- “I really like the program! Thank you!”
- “Great concept. I am having fun learning how to save!”
- “What a great program. . . this would be a great thing for students who are in college and managing their own money for the first time!”
- “Love this. Very Educational. Love the chance to win money.”
- “This is ingenious! The earn-while-you-learn concept is awesome. Even an absolute newbie can learn how to make the most of their money with this setup.”
Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to join the conversation!
PayPerks was crowned the winner of the 3rd Annual Core Innovators Mega Challenge!
PayPerks Founders, Arlyn and Jake, on the right, with their prize!
The award was determined by a live vote of hundreds of financial services executives and fellow innovators at the CFSI Underbanked Financial Services Forum.
While it’s always encouraging to be recognized, this award was particularly meaningful as we were identified in the company of other start-ups that are focused on solving the unique pain points of the emerging middle class. It’s an honor to share the stage with other great companies such as LendUp and Mitek.
The Mega Challenge kicked off an incredible conference that shined a spotlight on innovative new technologies and services driving meaningful change for consumers. Congrats to the CFSI Team on exceeding expectations, once again. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference “Emerge: The Forum on Consumer Financial Services Innovation” in LA!
Last week, I had the honor of sitting on a panel about the future of cash with people like Hikmet Ersek (the CEO of Western Union) and Larry Summers.
While I spent most of the 90 minutes respectfully disagreeing with the majority of the panelists (no big deal…it’s not intimidating at all to publicly disagree on the future of cash with the Former Secretary of the Treasury), there was something Mr. Summers said that I couldn’t have agreed with more: “While things take longer to happen than you ever thought they would, when they happen, they happen faster than you ever imagined”.
This message could not resonate more on this 26th of March. We’re now just days away from our launch on the DirectExpress program: an exciting milestone whose journey began over two years ago (i.e. longer than we ever though it would). Alternatively, when word leaked that we were launching next week, we had over 1,000 Facebook likes and 20K site visits in just three days. (i.e. faster than we ever imagined)
So what does that mean for the future of cash? Well, if PayPerks’ success is inversely related to its persistence, I’m sticking to my guns.