For over a year now, Pygg has targeted a micropayments that doesn’t seem to be on anybody else’s sights – small micropayments among friends and families, when one shares a coffee or a beer. It’s not quite clear how big this market might be, or how many tech savvy users might begin to use it.
Regardless, Pygg has just made it a tad easier to win people over. It has released an iPhone app, marrying the ease-of-use features of the iconic mobile device with its own system. Users can make payments to anybody on their contacts, so long as the person has a mobile number, email address or Twitter handle – no bank codes or account details required.
“It is about time sending money to a friend was not only cashless, but liberated from archaic banking speak like BSBs, account numbers and net banking codes,” says Pygg CEO Peter Crowe, squarely taking aim at the banks.
Seeking the banks’ bacon
But Pygg’s market opportunity arises largely because banks are, well, banks. Even though most banks offer a variety of mobile transactions, they are hardly easy to use. A maze of links, codes and authentication, and sometimes having to remember a friend’s phone number etc., riddle the user. And, then there is the cost a well.
Pygg makes it easy, and for that it wants as reward the banks’ bacon.
“These days, everyone has a mobile phone and everyone has their friends’ number in their contacts. We have made sending money to a friend as easy as sending them a text, regardless of who they bank with,” says Crowe.
Pygg, of course, is restricted to users with Australian bank accounts, and transactions are only in the Australian dollar. Those limitations apart, users can send money to others multiple times without cost, top up their Pygg accounts using a credit card and move money to their own bank accounts at any time. The startup claims “bank-grade security” for the transactions.
Pygg is running a cash promotion for the launch of the iPhone app launch. If you sign up now with the promo code ‘FRIENDS’, Pygg will hand you $5 to give to a friend of your choice.
Last year, the social payment pioneer raised $600,000 in angel capital, most of it through the incubator Pollenizer. Investors include Tasmania-based Andrew Spykes, Lend Lease CEO Anthony Pascoe, Hitwise founder Adrian Giles and, Adrian Stone of the Melbourne-based incubator Angel Cube.