Pygg.co Enables Payments on Twitter via PayPal

Pygg.co Enables Payments on Twitter via PayPal [Video Interview]

I’ve just come back from three productive weeks in Singapore and Australia.  I still can’t believe how perfect the timing of my trip to Sydney was: in addition to the few social media workshops I had lined up with some major australian financial institutions and my book launch party, Commonwealth Bank of Australia launched ‘Kaching‘ its industry-leading mobile payment application for iPhone (based on true real-time banking, provided by their recently redesigned core banking system) and Pollenizer officially launched Pygg.co, a service which gives twitter users the opportunity to send and receive payments via PayPal.

Pygg
On 28th October, I went to Sydney’s trendy Surry Hills district to visit the Pollenizer‘s funky office and record a video interview with Michelle Rowan – Business Concept Manager and lead on the Pygg.co project.

Our social media ‘trackers’ on networks like facebook (over 1,050 pages and apps in 75 countries) and twitter (over 1,500 accounts in 72 countries) is one of our key differentiators at Visible Banking.So far, except for Vantage Credit Union and their ‘tweetmymoney‘ service (launched back in September 2009 and enabling customers to consult their accounts via the most popular micro-blogging service – it never took off, but it was an excellent ‘marketing coup’ from the small US-based financial institution) we haven’t noticed any major innovations, disruptive services, or transactional services on twitter.It is even worse than it looks like, because we really announced that 90% of the financial services accounts are inactive.  But some financial institutions are doing a good job connecting content and people, and more and more banks and insurance firms have started to support their customers on twitter.Nowadays the social / mobile payment space is unarguably one of the most trendy areas of banking, and it is already crowded with the likes of square, American Express’ Serve, Standard Chartered’s Breeze and nowCBA’s Kaching which gives its customers the ability to send payment ‘whatever the channel’ (contactless, SMS, email, facebook).So there are few opportunities for new players to innovate and get noticed.  Pygg’s focus on twitter clearly was a smart way to get some national and international media exposure and blog coverage.

But as usual you have to wonder what’s the willingness of people out there to send and receive payments via twitter over sms, bump or online?  How much more convenient could it be?

How does Pygg work
You have to register, credit your account via PayPal (maximum $100 – a bit like Wonga.com, there is a limit which might increase in the future, based on your history and behaviour -).

Then you can send and receive payments directly via twitter, using a specific syntax, or via Pygg’s mobile application.

How does Pygg make money
There is a flat transaction fee of $2.5 every time a user tops up its Pygg account via PayPal.

How much activity
Pygg-Tweets
I did a quick search on twitter for ‘Pygg pay’ which is the syntax to send money to another tweep. I found a modest 236 tweets between 02-11 November (including a majority of tweets from @Pygg itself).

Video Interview
I invite you to watch my 20mn interview with Michelle Rowan.

I challenged Michelle on the size of the market and the current revenue model.  We also discussed future developments (twitter is just a way in to build awareness so email and facebook could be next…) and engagement model (partnership with a bank ‘a la Smartypig‘?), gamification, categorization of the tweets which would enable ‘real-time’ PFM integration…

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