Seconds Is The Fastest Mobile Payment Method Involving Dwolla Or A Credit Card

As the name suggests, Seconds is the fastest way to make a mobile payment using either Dwolla (digital cash from bank account) or a credit card.

If you are familiar with Seconds you may already know you a transaction can be completed by simply texting the merchant phone number with a keyword (that they previously set up) or any dollar amount value you wish.  With an account already created and payment credential already in place, the transaction instantly takes place securely in the cloud and you are done!

No text boxes to mess with, pinching and zooming or other hassles.

It’s that easy.  Watch this video to see just how easy Seconds payments are…

If you are walking through the mobile web experience for the first time with no previous Seconds account, you will see below we’ve made it a piece of cake to complete.

Click here if you are interested in accepting payments in Seconds >

Go to


Find the merchant.


Input the amount.


Complete payment with Dwolla.


Or complete payment with credit card.


It’s that easy.

Click here if you are interested in accepting payments in Seconds >

Seconds Partners With Dwolla For Awesome New Guest Checkout Announcement

Seconds is happy to announce our partnership with Dwolla for their latest product release, referred to as guest checkout, allowing anyone to use Dwolla to make a one-time payment from their financial institution to an online merchant or marketplace.

Why is this so awesome?  Now people can make Dwolla payments, in Seconds.

Simply put, Dwolla is great.  For months we have been evaluating how to include Dwolla payments in our mobile payment experience.  Their online and mobile payment network enables friends, families, and businesses to move money in a way that is safer, faster, and significantly more affordable than traditional payment options.  We always believed in Dwolla’s mission to rid the world of credit card fees and today we are excited to finally turn on the Dwolla payment option.

With Dwolla, you simply connect a bank account so you can make payments through the system.  The challenge up to this point was the fact that unless someone already had a Dwolla account created, it was nearly impossible for them to create a Dwolla account and make a quick payment during their first Seconds experience.   Unfortunately, there were a number of steps – some even taking a few business days – to authorize the financial institution and finalization of the Dwolla account.  It was basically a non-starter for our emerging payment platform.

As you can see, this new release leaves all that behind and puts Dwolla center stage in the Seconds payment experience, allowing someone the choice of quickly paying with their bank account using Dwolla in addition to a credit card.

Why is this so great?  Merchants accepting Dwolla are charged at most $.25 per transactions over $10, and transactions under $10 carry no Dwolla transaction fee at all!  Comparing this to the traditional 3% processing fee when dealing with credit cards and your looking at significant savings for merchants with each transaction.

We believe Dwolla has an incredible future and are excited to see where this will lead.  More information about the Dwolla announcement is below.

Try it out now with GIVENATION, and give to to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery.

What is Dwolla?

Dwolla is an online and mobile payment network that enables friends, families, and businesses to move money in a way that is safer, faster, and significantly more affordable than traditional payment options.

Using the Internet, Dwolla has designed a smarter way to structure payments and identify fraud. This allows the system to bypass credit cards, PayPal, and other payment types and, at the same time, offer the nation’s lowest cost payment network.

Since 2010, the Des Moines-based company has processed millions of transactions, becoming the nation’s newest and fastest growing payment network.

Pay as a guest:

Now, with Dwolla’s new guest checkout option, anyone can use Dwolla to make a one-time payment from their financial institution to an online merchant or marketplace.

Guest checkout adds Dwolla’s payment engine to traditional bank-issued transactions, allowing the same level of security, safety, and innovation regular Dwolla users enjoy.

Benefits of guest checkout

For consumers:
  • No need for a pre-existing Dwolla account
  • Free to pay: no hidden fees or costs
  • Cardless and checkless
  • Safer than writing checks
  • Safe and secure Dwolla network technologies
  • Save money with Dwolla price (with participating merchants)
  • Privacy conscious (we do not sell your data!
For merchants:
  • Increased profit margins and savings over credit cards (flat 25 cent fee for transactions over $10, under $10 is free)
  • Easily add Dwolla as another payment method
  • Fluid offsite checkout experience
  • Automatic PCI compliance

Using Guest Checkout vs. paying as a traditional Dwolla user

Paying as a guest (for those without Dwolla a account):
  • Free to pay: no hidden fees or costs to use
  • Safer than writing checks
  • Cardless and checkless
  • Safe and secure Dwolla network technologies
  • Save money with Dwolla price (see below)
  • Privacy conscious (we do not sell your data!)

Users with Dwolla account (“Paying as a guest” plus the following): 

  • Pay your friends and family through your social networks
  • Lowest-cost (25 cents for payments over $10, free for transactions under $10)
  • Faster payments and clearing dates
  • Suite of features and tools
  • Connect a bank account for simple depositing and withdrawing
  • Use your phone to pay merchants and friends
  • Minimum balance keeps your account full
  • “Plug-and-pay” with numerous web third-party applications

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Does the merchant ever see my banking information

No. Aside from the fact that you’ve paid, Dwolla does not disclose or include sensitive financial information inside of transactions.

2. Is Dwolla safe?

All information is securely passed, encrypted, and stored in ways that meet or exceed industry standards. Dwolla does not sell your data or transactions with corporations or private parties. For more information, visit security and partnership.

3. Can I cancel my payment?

Yes, but the canceled payment must a.) be initiated by the merchant and b.) occur before the payment is processed.

4. How do Refunds and Disputes occur?

Dwolla defers to the refund policy of its merchants, but will assist in the dispute process whenever necessary. Learn more about Dwolla’s dispute process.

5. Why isn’t my total cheaper when I use Dwolla?

Not all merchants have opted to offer the Dwolla price discount. Dwolla believes it’s up to the merchants to decide what’s best for their business.


A Mobile First Mentality

Fred Wilson has written extensively on designing for mobile first, desktop second.  I couldn’t agree more and that is exactly what we are doing at Seconds.

When looking at our initial user interface design of both the mobile view and the web view, one will see quite a few similarities.  This is not by accident, this is because we start with the mobile view first.  We first ask ourselves which mode most people will use our service, mobile or desktop? Given the fact Seconds is a payments platform oriented around mobile devices, mobile takes highest priority.

Also, the fact that more smartphones are shipping than feature phones and the estimation by 2017 is the majority of web traffic will come from mobile, we feel designing for mobile first is a safe bet.

Finally, it’s such a pain to view a website on a mobile device only to have to pinch and zoom to even read the content and click the desired button.  We feel it’s better to design for the smallest screen and allow the larger screens to pull the content/visuals out.  It’s the reverse perspective of the pinch and zoom experience you mostly see today.

So, if take a look at our desktop web presence you will see pretty much the same information and visuals, just aligned slightly differently since there’s quite a bit more real estate.

How did we do this?  Did we use a different service to create a “mobile optimized website” to augment our desktop website?  One with drop down menus and a very different look and feel to it?  Nope.  I don’t believe this is the right approach.   Unfortunately, farming out your mobile experience to a third party white-labeled service removes your branding and familiarity of your product.   (For example, view this blog article on a mobile device vs the web and you will see what I mean.)  You can refer to this mentality as desktop first, mobile second because you are not allowing the mobile device constraints drive overall user interface design.

Without sounding too redundant, why would you focus on desktop first when as a society we are clearly spending more and more time on mobile devices?

So how do we go about it?  As stated above, we have a mobile first mentality.  We design all Seconds experiences mobile first and then scale up to desktop.  You can see this in play when you access Seconds on a desktop browser.  (Try resizing your browser and shrink the width of the page.  It’s responsive.)  If anything, one might initially feel there is something lacking in the desktop view.  You might think maybe there’s not enough imagery or things to look at… yet is that really the reason to go to Seconds?

You know what, we don’t care.  We know people aren’t coming to Seconds to view pictures, to browse friends’ profiles or to see anything else.  What we care about is that the primary functions of the system, which is to complete a transaction as quickly as possible.  This is paramount.  We measure user experience in mere clicks and finger swipes and most times the more visually stimulating the design, the more clicks/swipes to complete the desired experience.  Those extra steps, in the end, often result in a lost transaction.  Just ask PayPal.

Our mobile first mentality allows the design and UI constraints of the smaller mobile screen to aide us in development of Seconds.  Why?  They help us sift out all the unnecessary and focus on the essentials.

Brevity is always refreshing.  Clean and clear is more compelling than busy and confusing.  Adding things when it seems right is always easier than trying to determine what to remove from the 100 options that could be the problem.

Seconds Was Just Chosen For Another Nationwide Mobile Donation Campaign

We will be announcing the partnership with a global non-profit and the roll out of a national campaign for donations towards a recent disaster to our county.  More to come….

In the meantime, try Seconds out and give to the Capitol Christmas tree to support forest restoration.

The Future of Commerce Will Combine Your Social Network and Mobile Device

Below is from my latest posts published on PayPal’s DevZone, titled The Future of Commerce Will Combine Your Social Network and Mobile Device.

Each day we hear growing speculation about the so-called mobile commerce revolution that’s just starting to take shape. Some think NFC payments will be the next big thing in retail. Others believe text-based payments will open up the mobile payment experience for the billions of mobile device holders around the world. And thousands of new apps are created each year with a new twist on using your mobile device to pay for everyday things.

To some extent, these concepts and more will shape the future of mobile commerce. However, pundits are forgetting what might happen if you combine the most commonly used platforms in the world—mobile devices and social networks—and infuse quick payment technology within them.

If Those Two Powerful Phenomena Merge, Will We Discover a New Payments Utopia?

It seems as if we’ve been in the stone age of social commerce for years now. Facebook has been around for almost a decade, and before that we had Friendster and Myspace. From my perspective, most don’t realize how close we actually are to merging social and commercial actions. How many times have you read a Facebook update from a friend, for instance, saying something like “I just saw ____ and it was the best movie I’ve ever seen.” Or what about the posts that show off a new car or recently purchased clothing? Those posts, in a small way, are the beginnings of social commerce. By sharing things such as a new purchase or a cool new movie, you are influencing your friends’ commercial interests. Today, people are partaking in social commerce without actually knowing it.

The question is, what will happen when they know they are doing it and they help you make a similar purchase? And more interestingly, what happens when it originates from a mobile device?

Read the rest here.

Seconds Chosen To Provide Mobile Donations For U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

We are pleased to announce Seconds has been chosen to power mobile payments for the 2012 U.S. Capitol Building Christmas Tree.  Yes, the one that travels across the country on a truck and is put on display in front of the capitol building in Washington D.C.  That one.

This past spring, wildfires burned more then 100,000 acres of land and more than 600 homes near Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition to destroying homes, these fires severely damaged critical watershed areas that supply water for the cities of Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. They also damaged critical habitat for wildlife and fish in the region.

Seconds was sought out by a Colorado non-profit called ChooseOutdoors and the National Forest Service looking for a dynamic mobile/text payment system to help raise money for restoration of the thousands of acres destroyed in the fires.  They were very clear they wanted it to be as smooth and quick as possible to complete since people will be standing outside during festivities and if wanting to make a donation, they should be able to with a mobile device.

I told them “No problem.  Heres how it works: People simply text a numerical dollar amount to the phone number. For example, texting “5” will instantly send back a link to quickly complete a $5 payment using a credit card or bank account. Payments can also be made on the desktop or mobile web by visiting and searching for the tree.”

That’s it.

You can learn more about the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree here.  From the press release (full press release below):

People are encouraged to give what they can – even $5 or $10 – to help restore their country, whose deteriorating forest conditions place America at a growing risk of forest fires. “Our team wondered how many dollars can we, as a nation, raise to help restore the forests during the holidays,” said Nick Hughes, CEO of Seconds. So the goal became to raise at least $25,000 for restoration of the very forests many of us make our back yards. “All money raised will go to supporting work crews and acquiring materials needed to replant riparian vegetation, stabilize stream banks and re-plant trees lost in the fires,” said Jeff Olson, president of Choose Outdoors.

Please take a moment out of your busy day and give to the tree.

Seconds Powers Mobile Donations For U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Campaign

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree now represents much more than an old holiday tradition

SEATTLE, WA – November 1st, 2012 – Seconds, the company enabling quick payments using mobile devices, is announcing their have been chosen as the payments provider for a holiday donation campaign associated with the Christmas Tree standing in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.

This past spring, wildfires burned more then 100,000 acres of land and more than 600 homes near Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition to destroying homes, these fires severely damaged critical watershed areas that supply water for the cities of Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. They also damaged critical habitat for wildlife and fish in the region.

Seconds is announcing today they have been selected to help and the U.S. Forest Service with the Colorado Forest Fire Restoration Challenge Fund, in association with the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree project. The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will be cut from Meeker, Colorado and driven across the country starting November 6th, touring more than 30 cities before being decorated and put on display for the holidays in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington DC.

People are encouraged to give what they can – even $5 or $10 – to help restore their country, whose deteriorating forest conditions place America at a growing risk of forest fires. “Our team wondered how many dollars can we, as a nation, raise to help restore the forests during the holidays,” said Nick Hughes, CEO of Seconds. So the goal became to raise at least $25,000 for restoration of the very forests many of us make our back yards. “All money raised will go to supporting work crews and acquiring materials needed to replant riparian vegetation, stabilize stream banks and re-plant trees lost in the fires,” said Jeff Olson, president of Choose Outdoors.

To donate, simply text a numerical dollar amount to the phone number 303-502-5858. For example, texting “5” will instantly send back a link to quickly complete a $5 payment using a credit card or bank account. Payments can also be made on the desktop or mobile web by visiting and searching for the tree.

“It’s an honor to be chosen by the U.S. Forest Service and as the payments platform for this special event. Our goal is to encourage people to give any amount they can during the holiday season to help improve the health of our land”, says Hughes. All participants from the winning state will be placed in a drawing for two tickets to next year’s tree lighting ceremony in Washington D.C.

Give up a latte, gain a forest. Our nation’s forests are in critical condition and need our help to restore their health. Imagine what Americans can accomplish by simply giving up one holiday latte and gifting that $5 to the forest. Funding for restoration and public education are just a few of the ways we can decrease the chances of devastating fires – saving homes, neighborhoods and possibly lives. “We are thrilled that a Colorado forest is providing a gift to the nation and hope that it will assist in educating the country about forest health and restoration” said Jerri Marr, supervisor of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests.

For additional information on how to support or help with efforts, contact Jeff Olson at or Nick Hughes, CEO of Seconds at

About Seconds

Seconds enables any device holder to send or accept payments, whether through the web, mobile web or a quick text message. They believe the payment experience should be as quick, simple and intuitive as sending a text message. Founded during the fall of 2011 in Seattle, the original idea was to enhance mobile ordering and commerce for small local businesses. After pilot tests proved both merchants and customers just want the payment experience to be completed as fast and easy as possible, they decided to only focus on the mobile payment experience. They have a vision of any individual being able to interact and transact with any merchant in the world, holding any device they wish. Currently they hold office space in the recently opened SURF Incubator in downtown Seattle.

The Future of Mobile Payments Will Be ‘Artificial Intelligence’

This is a section taken from a recent article I wrote on PayPal’s network.  

How we interact with computers—and to an extent the rest of the world—is changing. As you know, we no longer log on or are required to go to a computer to get online. We now carry computers with us all day, every day; we are always connected.

We do not have to reidentify ourselves and re-enter our credentials each time we go online. And with the inception of Siri, along with other crude artificial intelligence (AI) interfaces, it is now apparent that we will leverage new blends of AI and intelligent data systems integrated within our mobile devices to create very personal consumer experiences.

These technologies and more will drastically change our purchasing experiences. I see a future where the specific mobile device you carry doesn’t have any bearing on how you make a mobile payment. Take simple text, for example. It is fair to say that text messaging has taken over as the most common form of digital communication on the planet, with 6 billion capable devices and more than 8 trillion messages sent in 2011.

But what if SMS and messaging technologies were not only created for basic communications, but for commerce as well? Imagine being able to say things like “send a message to the coffee shop telling them I will be there in 10 minutes and I will have the usual,” and by the time you get there, your correct drink is sitting on the counter, already paid for.

This is not too far off. Actually, the technical requirements are manageable, and the right pieces just need to be put in the right places. The next few years will bring a fundamental shift in the economy as merchants and business adopt this popular method of communication and use it as a new form of commerce. It is already being accomplished through simple text, voice, and gestures, thanks to natural language processing within your mobile device.

Personalization will also become prevalent and is another key component in the future of payments. Today, most merchants still require voice calls to communicate with them; when it comes time to transact, the customer must actually be present with cash or credit card in hand. Think about how far brick-and-mortar retailers need to go to catch up with the e-commerce world. Even today, when I call a local merchant I’m asked to identify myself and to read my payment information (aloud) if I want to make a purchase.

How secure is that?

Interestingly, this lack of personalization does not change when I am present. As I walk in the door, the merchant has no idea who I am, how many times I have visited that location and what my purchase history there might look like. In a word, these retailers are ignorant. They lack the necessary and vital information to not only improve their operations but also make my customer experience much, much better. And why do I still need to stand in a line for them to swipe my card and write my signature before I leave?

A whole new world of possibilities opens up when personalized connections between customer and merchant are made available through mobile technologies and artificial intelligence.  Customers will be able to quickly find and interact with a merchant, requesting more information or making purchases when and where they feel most compelled. Since identification and payment credentials will have already been verified and stored securely in the cloud, transactions then become frictionless.  Merchants are not only afforded a more efficient method of communications and transactions, but also a unique perspective on each customer and a clearer picture of their entire customer base—in real time.

Visit to read the whole article.

People Actually ‘DO’ Want To Make Mobile Payments If It’s Easy Enough

I had a good feeling as the month of May was progressing we would be seeing some awesome Seconds numbers.  But since we are now into June and I was able to get some time to crunch the entire May results, I am astounded by what we are seeing.

For those of you who do not know, Seconds is a fast and easy way to make payments with your mobile device.  We automate payments through words sent in simple text messages (cool Siri video below) and shorten a minutes worth of transaction time into just a few seconds.

Below are a few charts specific to our pilot test around mobile payments.  The first one is for total monthly transactions and as you can see, the growth from January through May is accelerating.  (Chart actually starts with early testing in December.)  In fact, the change from April to May is most impressive.   In April we had 384 transactions and in May we completed 615 transactions.  Blow-out month for sure!

Monthly Transactions

Going further in depth on the numbers, some very interesting consumer observations emerge.  We took the entire user population and parsed out categories based on the number of times an individual made a transaction.  Specifically, we evaluated May and compared it to the previous month of April to see if we could identity any trends in usage.  Here’s what we found:


1. The number of people making 10 or more transactions in a month DOUBLED!  This means as months go by people become more comfortable with using the system and more apt to make a quick purchase in Seconds.

2.  The overall user base grew 48% from April to May.  We continue to gain more users who easily jump into the system and start making payments using their mobile device.  Uploading payment credentials securely in the cloud just once is all it takes for a new user to start using Seconds.

3.  Roughly 2 out of 3 Seconds users are multiple purchasers.   This means they returned within the month and transacted at least twice using Seconds.  This is a very good sign.

4.  An astounding 82% retention rate is HUGE!  More than 8 out of 10 users in the month of May were users in the month of April, proving that we are not seeing much drop off once an individual enters the system and starts using Seconds.   Although adding new users is a driving force, more important is the ability to retain the ones you have already attracted.

Our assumptions are continually proven true and the lessons here are manifold.  When offered a quick and easy way to complete a transaction using their mobile device, people do it!  And time goes on people are more comfortable with making more payments by simply sending a text message.

Now, what if you could pay your rent that way?  Or refill your transit card?  Or rent a movie?  Or all the other areas of your life you want to take care of in Seconds.  That is why mobile payments are set to be a $1 trillion industry by 2016 and automated application-to-person payments are an estimated $100 billion industry.  We are only getting started.

What If You Could Pay Your Transit Pass With A Simple Text Message?

Have you ever been waiting for the bus only to realize you have no money left on your Orca card, or whatever they call the transit pass in your city?   Maybe you realize you are at zero balance as you are leaving the house and have to grab a few dollars in change just so you can pay for your bus into work?

Yeah, it’s not fun!  And that is why we are changing it.

Now you can refill your transit pass in Seconds.

The Main Problems with Mobile Payments, and Why I Started Seconds

I recently connected with someone at and have been able to get some articles published on my view of mobile payments and the opportunities that lie ahead.  If you are not aware, is part of the Xconomy/PayPal commerce network.  Below is a section from my first article:

Curiosity is actually what drove me to start a company. It all began by my observing how consumers interact with merchants; their tendency to repeat interactions particularly caught my attention. Isn’t it funny how we go to the same coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores, gas stations, websites, and other consumer activities each day? In fact, we do this so much that the person at the counter who “swipes” your card actually recognizes you and may even know your name.

Although loyalty started my entrepreneurial journey, it didn’t end there. I started to think a bit deeper about what people typically do each time they go to the coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores, or gas stations—yep, make a payment! Amazingly, payments are the one data point that can trace a consumer’s path through our economy and organize commercial actions, habits, relationships, and trends. Imagine being able to quickly aggregate and see all those data points in your own life—things like where you spend your money, how much, when, buying what, and how often. Now imagine seeing that on a merchantwide level. How about a worldwide level?

This thinking drove me not only to start a payments company, but also to figure out how to create the fastest way to transact and interact with merchants using a mobile device. Transactions and interactions driven through a simple text message take only a few seconds. I believe that if you speed up a traditionally laborious process, make it available to the widest range of people possible, and emancipate the data to be used in adding value to the system, great things will happen.

The article goes on to review the last 20 or 30 years of innovation in payments and then talks about a few of the current challenges in mobile payments, namely the fact that a full 75% of the world is being forgotten by most of the new payment platforms.  Go ahead, read the entire article.

Mobile Payments Startup Seconds Is Looking To Add An Engineer. Who’s It Gonna Be?

After successfully launching a our beta product and receiving interest from around the world, we are seeking a new technical lead who can help scale Seconds to a large mobile payments business.  Below is our vision and the basic requirements we are looking for in the person who will eventually join our team.  For more information about the business, see video’s below, go to or respond to me.

What is Seconds?

There is vast inefficiency in how consumers, merchants and brands exchange money for products, services and content. Issues stem from legacy payment methods (checks, cash, wire transfers) and from the fractured landscape of personal identity (SSNs, driver’s licenses, login credentials). Seconds’ communication and commerce platform solves these problems by converting the mobile device into both a fast and simple method of payment and a secure way to guarantee consumer identity.

We believe there is an unprecedented opportunity to bring mobile payments technology to the 6 billion mobile devices around the world.  We do this in three distinct ways:

PLATFORM AND DEVICE AGNOSTIC. Leveraging SMS technology for payments allows Seconds to be platform agnostic, meaning any mobile device holder can transact with any merchant or brand connected to the platform. This instantly opens up a market of over 240 million mobile consumers in the U.S. and almost 6 billion more individuals worldwide–giving Seconds the potential to be the most democratic mobile payment platform on the planet. Most other competitors opt for a native app experience, which immediately limits their reach. We believe that mobile payments should be open to all–not just to owners of smart phones.

PROXIMITY AGNOSTIC. Seconds dissociates proximity from transaction. Unlike NFC or Square, consumers can pay for products or services from anywhere with Seconds. This frees up the mobile device to become the new payment terminal, a terminal that resides in the consumer’s hand rather than sitting on the merchant’s counter. As a result, entirely new categories of transaction–from rent payment to concert ticket purchases–are available anywhere, anytime for anyone.

CONNECTION AND COMMUNICATION. Seconds sits at the convergence of communication and transaction. Our platform treats all parties–be they merchants, brands or consumers–as humans. Not only does Seconds offer quick and easy payments, but it also provides the opportunity for brands to have a conversation and relationship with their customers via the SMS channel. This high-tech, high-touch connection separates Seconds from all the other mobile commerce platforms on the market.

How big is this opportunity?

Previous Experience:

  • Has spent time in a startup environment
  • Has managed/led a team of engineers
  • Front and backend coding experience
  • Has experience with scaling technical infrastructure


  • Cloud based infrastructures such as Heroku or AWS
  • Ruby on Rails
  • MongoDB
  • Node.js and coffeeScript
  • Cloud communication platforms such as Twilio
  • Natural language processing
  • Electronic payments, web processors and web merchant accounts

Personal situation:

  • Can go 3-6 months without/low pay
  • Ready to take on a very big challenge
  • Looking for a full time company, not a side project
  • Is entrepreneurial in nature


  • Equity stake
  • Competitive salary
If you want to change the world, please reach out to us.

Here’s A Lesson On Why You Should Listen To Your Early Customers

Here’s a great write up on how Seconds is transforming an office catering business.  Molly’s Salads is one of our early customers, and in fact our most important to date.   Truth be told, they were actually the ones who came to us with the idea for text payments.   Their CEO simply said “can’t we have a system where people just text the word “sandwich” to our number and it automatically charges them?”  We looked at each other without blinking and said “um sure, we can do that!”

From the article:

How does Seconds work from your end, as the merchant?
From our end, it’s super simple. The technology just reads what [customers] text. So if they text SALAD, it just reads SALAD and automatically bills their card for whatever the price of a salad is. That is built right in. The sales go directly through us. We plug in our gateway, and it goes directly into our bank account. The only work we have to do is when somebody has an issue. When they say, “My card’s not working,” or “There’s none of this left in the fridge,” that comes straight to my email. I can respond through my email, and it goes straight to their phone. Everything is automatically billed, and then I can monitor how sales are going by going to my dashboard.

read the entire article….

As we walked out of the initial meeting I looked at my CTO and said “dude, he’s dreaming.”  He just chuckled.  Amazingly, we ended up building it within a month or so and the rest is history.  Multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporations are reaching out from all over the world are now expressing interest in what we are doing.  It’s awesome and we owe it to Molly’s Salads for leading us towards this cool concept.

Below is the simple way people are paying for Molly’s food using Seconds.

A Great Article On Mobile Payments, Quoting Yours Truly In The Process

Connected smartphones and other devices can take the place of any number of other items, including calculators, watches, maps and GPS devices. It’s only a matter of time before they also become mobile wallets, too, and in fact, that’s already starting thanks to companies like Square, PayPal and Google. But it isn’t only big companies rushing to fill that need; the space is a point of focus for plenty of smaller players, too, many of which are trying to do something a little different than what’s already out there…. read more for my quote.

Slideshow: Imagine Your Life… In Seconds.

Seconds is the simple way to pay with your mobile device.

As I have stated before, virtual transactions – payments made without having to swipe, show or display anything – will transform the payments landscape like no one has ever seen before.  Since people carry their mobile devices with them everywhere, it makes the most sense to streamline transactions through the computer in their hands.  With cloud computing and offsite secure services holding payment credentials for every consumer, people now have an ability to make simple, quick and easy mobile payments ANYWHERE.

I have also said this before but it bears repeating: what if SMS messaging was not only for communications?  What if, as a very efficient information transport  mechanism organically built into billions of mobile devices around the world, it was used for payments and transactions?  Seconds drives secure payments through text messages, allowing someone to quickly make a instant and automatic transaction by simply texting a keyword to a merchant.   Conversely, a merchant can ping your mobile phone with a message to complete the transaction by simply responding with a specific prompt.

Below is a brief slideshow to imagine your life… in Seconds.

Where Is Your Favorite Payments Company In The Mobile Payments Landscape?

The mobile payments market is white-hot right now.  PayPal just announced their latest creation, a Square knockoff (at first glance), LevelUp is seeing more than $1,000,000 worth of transactions per month and Square is now measuring their transactions in billions of dollars on a yearly basis.

The chart below is an illustration of the current mobile payments landscape.  The horizontal axis is the spectrum of where the product can be used in relation to proximity to the merchant.  Do you have to be in the store to complete the transaction?   Do you need to actually be at the register and touch or scan your mobile device to complete the transition?  If you do, I would argue it is not much of a step forward in payments technology.

The vertical axis is the spectrum of user accessibility, or the ability for an average mobile user to actually use the mobile payment platform.  As you can see, most mobile payment platforms are app based and focus on Apple or Android, the two main operating systems.  This excludes many millions of mobile consumers.  Also, the requirements for NFC enabled devices is even more far reaching and pretty much isolates payments to very few merchants and consumers.

Where’s Seconds?  It’s all the way to the upper right.  The most accessible to merchants/consumers and is the most dynamic in relative proximity to a merchant.  Using Seconds, I can send a text and transact from anywhere in the city, state or country.  Shouldn’t mobile payments actually be mobile?

Don’t see your favorite?  Just let me know and I’ll place it on there.


A New Article Covering Seconds Points To Our Larger Vision Of Payment Identity

Seconds was recently covered on BetaKit, here’s a snippet:

Smartphone growth is trending upward worldwide, but there’s still a huge percentage of the population using feature phones, and another group of users for whom a stable and consistent data connection is little more than a dream. A couple recent startups are poised to address those markets directly, both in emerging markets and in North America… Read more.

I want to highlight something that came out in the interview that points to the real game changer in mobile payments, although we don’t talk about it too much at this point.

Seconds isn’t just about SMS, however; Hughes said the bigger picture is in establishing user profiles that can be attached to any tech. “We’re more about the software and the identity,” he told us. “Attaching that user identity to other platforms is relatively simple.” That strategy should allow Seconds to work with other mobile communication tech, including NFC and Bluetooth 4.0, as they accrue more popularity.

I believe the winner (or winners) in the mobile payment space will be oriented around a consumer’s identity, meaning everything is aggregated  and organized for both my benefit and the greater merchant ecosystem no matter what method of payment I use.  This is important to the future of commerce and we intend to be a major player.


How Seconds Will Give 2,433 Hours Back To Your Life

2,433 hours

The amount of time wasted in an 80 year lifespan just waiting to interact with businesses doing things like:

  • pressing 1 for the employee directory, pressing 2 for account information…
  • waiting on hold on the phone
  • Waiting in line to purchase something
  • calling to ask a question
  • writing a check (who does that anymore?)

How did I get to 2,433 hours wasted in a lifetime?  On average, we can estimate approximately 1 minute is wasted each time we interact with a businesses.

Multiply that by roughly 5 each day.

Multiply that by 365 days each year.

Multiply that by 80 years in a lifetime.

Total all that up and you get 2,433 hours.  This could be an underestimation if one minute turns out to be more like 5 or 10 minutes but I think you get the picture.

How can Seconds save you those hours so you can get back to living your life?

Seconds enables customers quick interaction and transaction with merchants through the mobile web. Our mission is to make the consumer experience more efficient and enjoyable.   When a consumer attaches their payment credentials to their Seconds account, they have effectively transformed their phone into a transactional device.  With Seconds, people can send quick messages and easily make transactions with merchants – which takes seconds, not minutes.  No more waiting on hold.  No more of the “press 1 for operator” crap that no one likes.  No more waiting in a line of ten people to simply swipe your card to pay for something.

If you have a question for a merchant, you simply send a message and then get back to your life.  Within a matter of seconds you should receive a response.  It’s just like how you interact now with your friends and family, shooting them a quick text during a commercial break or in between glances on the road (kidding…. kinda).  Interesting enough merchants actually want you to do this as well since they just want the phone to stop ringing.

Mobile payments work the same way.  Seconds allows merchants to program their account and customize keywords with specific dollar amounts which act as triggers to charge a Seconds user’s mobile payment account.  If you want to purchase something you can text the keyword and immediately pay for whatever you were buying.  Or if you don’t know the keyword the merchant can send you a conformation text and charge your Seconds account for you.  Simple as that!

Even more cool, because Seconds is driven through text messaging, if a person is holding an iPhone 4S they can use Siri to complete the mobile transactions by simply saying the keyword.

Maybe you have noticed our world speeding up and getting faster and faster each day, I know I have.  It just seems like there is so much to do and so little time to accomplish all my daily tasks.  I have no time to waste, and yet I find myself along with others standing in line at the grocery store checking my email or twitter stream.  I do this because I don’t like to be idle and feel like I am missing something.  Whether we agree with using mobile devices at places such as the grocery store, I think we all agree there are many things in our life that need to be made more efficient with technology.  Seconds allows us to minimize the time we spend in the minutia of life so we can get back to what is important.

Who’s already using Seconds and helping save hours in their customers lives?

  • Quick Service Restaurants
  • Food Distributors
  • Auto Dealerships
  • Customer Service Consultants
  • Fast Food Restaurants
  • IT Consultants
  • Cafes and Coffee Shops
  • Wine Distributors
  • Beauty and Health Salons
  • Clothing Retail Outlets
  • School Districts

Check out Seconds now and start getting back those precious hours.


Mobile Payments: Siri Hears Your Words And Pays Your Rent In Seconds

Siri is an amazing step forward in computing technology.

So is Seconds.

Seconds enables customers direct interact and transaction with merchants through the mobile web.  When a consumer attaches their payment credentials to their Seconds account, they have effectively transformed their phone into a transactional device.  With Seconds, people can send quick messages and easily make transactions with merchants using the service.  Even more cool, because Seconds is driven through text messaging, if a person is holding an iPhone 4S they can use Siri to complete the mobile transactions with Seconds by simply saying the keyword.

Here’s how it works when you imagine a scenario such as paying rent, which is something we are set to pilot test in Seconds this month.  When rent is due, all you have to do is:

You say: Send a message to landlord  “Pay Rent”

Siri says: OK, here’s your message to your landlord: “Pay rent.”  Are you ready to send it?

You say: Yes

Siri says: message sent

Two seconds later you receive a text “Your account has been charged  $1,200 for your rent.  That’s it! Your rent is paid & you can get on with your life.

How did Siri know who to send the message to and how much you should pay your landlord for rent?

Seconds allows merchants to program their account and customize keywords with specific dollar amounts which act as triggers to charge a Seconds user’s mobile payment account.  So in this scenario, the landlord was able to simply plug in the amount of money “Pay Rent” would translate with and then told their tenants to just text their number and pay in Seconds next month.  This specific tenant was able to tell Siri to pay his rent for him.  And because had labeled his Landlord in his phone contacts, Siri was able to do the job quickly and easily.

Seconds and Siri are a perfect match, and we see a future where payments are so seamless we won’t even have to take out our phones (let alone our wallets).  In the future, your phone numbers + a pin will be all the payment credentials you will need.

The interesting thing about Seconds is not just the transactional component – which is definitely cool – but the communications aspect as well.  Seconds sits directly at the convergence of communications and transactions, and enables each at certain times and both when appropriate.  It’s truly a 21st century communications and commerce platform fit for almost any merchant – large or small, corporate or independent.

It’s my belief there will be many different players in the payments space, but merchants and consumers will not tolerate a plethora of options and varying requirements based upon specific merchants.  It will be far too confusing and there will need to be some market convergence as time goes on.  Consumers will most likely choose the option which is 1) quickest to use, 2) most widely accepted, 3) is not affected by a specific device they are holding, and 4) the easiest to understand.

We like where we sit within the ecosystem and look forward to a great future ahead.  It’s only the beginning.  If you are not familiar with Seconds, here is a quick video of someone paying for a “wrap” by simply texting the words.  Note:  this is not a demo, it’s the real Seconds experience happening every day and will soon be in your hands as well!

How Seconds Makes Your Phone Number Your New Payment Identity

The device you hold in your hand has more potential to change your life than you think.  We find that no more fascinating than with the future of payments.  With Seconds, consumers create an account which is tied to their device and identified by their phone number.  After quickly connecting a payment credential to the Seconds account and with necessary PIN codes or security layer in place, making transactions can be as simple as giving your phone number.

Now you can leave your wallet at home!

It can also be a quick as sending a short text.  We have already proved that one with our Pay-By-Text system and plan to roll out more pilot tests.  (Please reach out to me if you are interested!)

Imagine how much better life will be when we are not held back by plastic cards and old school paper bills and coins.  Innovative mobile payment platforms such as Seconds break the chain requiring physical presence and disassociate proximity from transaction.  A whole new world of payments is opening up.

Go on a run and pay for a gatorade at the local market by giving your number

Send a quick text to pay for gas without having to have your credit card.

Pay for groceries by typing in your phone number

Pay your rent by texting ‘RENT – 1,000’ to your landlord’s Seconds number

Square up the food bill with your friend by texting ‘PAY – 20’ to their phone

We are not too far off from this scenario and even right now we are programed to type in our phone number to identify our “buying club cards” such as this one at Safeway.  I think you are starting to see where things are going… maybe Safeway was onto something??  I think we are too!


The Future Of Mobile Payments: Text A Word And Pay For Something

Imagine a world where by simply texting a word like “Sandwich” will result in a quick and seamless transaction so you could  go about your day.  Think about how much easier our lives would be if we didn’t have to wait in line, handle cash or be turned away from food or beverage if we don’t have our wallets in hand.

What if texting wasn’t just meant for communication, but also designed for transaction?

Today, most people take more precautions about carrying their mobile devices than carrying their wallets or purses.

The new question is: if your house is on fire what do you grab, your wallet or your phone?

I bet the answer is an overwhelming “phone”, since we do almost everything with our mobile devices and very soon we won’t be needing a wallet.

Our vision at Seconds is to make it easier for merchants and customers to interact and transact.  This is no more apparent than when looking at our latest innovations on the mobile payment front: Pay by Text.

Here’s how it works.

Once a mobile user sets up a Seconds account and attaches a payment card, they now can simply pay for the desired product with a one word text to the merchant’s Seconds number, in this case it would be the word “Sandwich”.  The resulting text a few seconds later will inform the user they indeed have been successfully charged X amount.  Done.

Important Note: This is not carrier billing, where you place the transaction onto your cell phone bill.  Seconds is completely separate from the carrier and a stand alone mobile payment system.

We are currently one month into a pilot program with a customer testing the functionality and perfecting the process.   Each week we are seeing more and more mobile transactions through Pay by Text, and if things keep going the way they are now this could become the default payment method outside simple food offerings.

Roll with me for a moment.  Imagine going to a movie and rather than waiting in line for the teller to give you a ticket you just simply text “Mission Impossible 4” to the box office and the next thing you know you have paid for the movie and are sent the secret code to enter via text.

Or how about the next time to your favorite band is in town…. do we really have to deal with the whole Ticketmaster ordeal?  Why can’t I send a text to the concert organizer with a simple “Said Band Name” and pay for the price of admission.

Okay, here’s a great one…. how about anything to do with hospitality?  Already, when you check in to a hotel they ask for your contact information, namely a cell phone number.  By running on the Seconds platform the can now open a quick and easy channel for you to text and pay for room service, any and all products… not to mention your room.  Or what about on a Vegas Casino floor….

So, what about NFC?

The problem with NFC technology is you actually have to be in physical proximity for the transaction to work.  The whole point of “Near Field Communication” is touching or swiping your device on a reader which will result in a transaction.  But what happens if I want to pay for something when I am not actually at the specific location or can’t get within a few inches of the reader?  What if it’s ecommerce, which will become more prevalent as time goes on?  Although it might have its place, it looks as if NFC  underwhelms and under-delivers.

That is why we are very excited about our Pay by Text technology, we see a whole new world of payments when you disassociate proximity from transaction.  It’s going well right now and the future is looking very bright for Seconds.