Peer-to-Peer Lending Gets Real With a P2P ATM

  • Philip Ryan
  • January 10, 2014
  • 4

spareNeed cash but the bank account’s empty? No problem, try the ATM — the peer-to-peer (P2P) ATM, that is.

Crowdfunding and P2P lending have become mainstream concepts. Kickstarter is practically a household word and Venmo is plastered all over the New York subway system.

In the coming months, a company called Mercuri Systems plans to introduce a P2P ATM product called Spare. Few details are available at this point, but it seems that users who are able to “spare some cash” can use a mobile app to prime an ATM for a friend to make a withdrawal of those funds. Users that “need some cash” can also put in requests on the app to let friends know it’s time to pony up.

Allowing P2P payments to go through cash access machines is both a logical growth in functionality for P2P payments as well as a natural step forward from ATMs that allow cardless withdrawals to be primed beforehand and then activated using QR codes.

Much of the effectiveness of this product will depend on the network of participating ATMs. If the functionality could be extended across international boundaries, that would greatly increase its utility. It is also unclear how users will connect on the app, though social media tie-ins would seem to be a natural starting point.

While some scoff at innovation that involves the ATM, the amount of cash-dependent customers — not to mention businesses — should make such critics pause. PayNearMe, which allows customers to use cash to make payments that would ordinarily only be feasible using cards or checking accounts, also operates in the space serving cash-dependent customers. Cash may be old and boring, but there is plenty of room for innovation to ease some pain for those that need to use cash often. Not everyone is ready to start buying lemonade with bitcoins just yet.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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4 thoughts on “Peer-to-Peer Lending Gets Real With a P2P ATM

  1. I may be missing something, but has anybody looked at something called “HAL Cash”? Seems a very similar underlying concept.

    It’s a service that started in Spain and has already been around for a few years. It allows you to send a mobile message to a friend with a code, and they can then pick up money at an ATM.

    Also works cross-border and no bank card needed, with service available in multiple countries.

    I have NO affiliation with HAL Cash… so I had to check their status, and I see that they appear to be aiming to extend their presence to the US market also.

  2. Working as a manager in a bank we have a lot of customers, especially low wealth individuals rely on cash for day by day transactions. These individuals do not have credit cards, often don’t have debit cards and are not very keen on taking all of their financial needs online with many of the new services that are essentially promoting a cash less society with predominant focus on electronic cash.

    It is nice to see an option that can be available to these individuals to be able to have access cash rather than primarily relying on physical ATMs which may be at times broken.

    It is also far more convenient to ask a friend for cash or someone who is in the same area as you to provide you with cash rather than seek out a physical bank or ATM nearby in many cases.

    Extremely interested in where this company will take this.

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