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Innovations and Payment Systems

Binji allows you to combine your payment cards into one digital-display card

The fintech startup aims to streamline personal finance management

Summary

Meet Binji, a new peer-to-peer payment system that aims to streamline the payment process. It also gives the user a clear picture of where and how they’re spending their money, helping them to get their financial affairs in order.

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A new peer-to-peer payment system aims to take on the likes of PayPal and Zelle with some unique features.

In May 2019, California-based Binji launched a platform that allows you to consolidate 24 credit and debit cards onto a single card. Binji’s digital-display debit Mastercard works with the Binji app via your smartphone’s Bluetooth connection to allow you to pay for a purchase, send money to a friend or access your paycheck earlier than you would with a traditional bank.

Binji aims to improve people’s financial lives by enabling them to streamline their finances through app-based banking, card consolidation and peer-to-peer payments on one platform, said Ryan Marquis, CEO and Binji co-founder, in a news release.

“We’re offering consumers something that, until today, didn’t exist: With just a push of a button on the Binji Card’s user interface, consumers can now transfer funds from up to 24 different debit or credit cards into a single spending account,” Marquis said.

Binji’s features

Binji’s digital display card and app provide several features:

  • Card consolidation: Users now need only one physical card to shop online and in-store because Binji can store up to 24 third-party debit or credit cards for funding sources.
  • Digital display screen: Your current Binji balance shows on the card’s digital display screen, along with the last four digits of the selected funding source and a four character “nickname” for fast identification.
  • User-friendly interface: Users scroll through Binji’s two-button interface to view synced accounts — they need only to hold the down-arrow button to start transferring funds to their account from any synced debit or credit card.
  • Data encryption: The Binji Card uses a cloud-based processing engine to transmit information, and all data is encrypted in a secure token vault to protect users’ identities. Binji cannot access users’ information, and if the card is stolen or lost, users can freeze card transactions immediately using the Binji app.

“Binji takes the familiarity of a physical card and combines it with the best parts of app-based banking – convenience and security,” Marquis said.

Binji not only streamlines the payment process, it gives the user a clear snapshot of where and how they’re spending spend their money, enabling them to take control of their financial lives, he added.

And the Binji app is free to download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

In addition, all Binji accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000, and you’ll have free access to more than 35,000 ATMs.

See related:  How to choose a P2P payment service

Binji’s capabilities

The Binji platform offers peer-to-peer payments, which enable you to instantly pay, receive and request money from friends and family. And you can use these funds immediately without having to transfer to a third-party bank.

Users also have access to Binji Spending Accounts, which are direct deposit-ready — and each has a unique account and routing number.

You can store up to 24 debit or credit cards at the push of a button and you can fund your Binji account with direct deposit or when friends send money. In addition, when you enroll in Binji direct deposit, you can access your paycheck up to two days earlier than what banks typically offer.

Binji works anywhere debit Mastercards are accepted, and the Binji Card and app communicate via smartphone Bluetooth connection so you can add and select funding sources anywhere, any time.

How Binji stacks up to the competition

Binji is the first digital payment platform to roll card consolidation, digital display and instant peer-to-peer payments into one platform that allows consumers to pay and get paid in one place.

The platform offers benefits similar to other digital services such as PayPal or Zelle, but differentiates itself by combining them into one platform – with even more features – attached to an interactive-display Mastercard.

While PayPal is a digital wallet, including card options allowing users to pull from their balance, it is still not a bank with a routing number, and lacks the digital banking features many consumers are looking for.

And Zelle is strictly a peer-to-peer payments platform with more flexibility than other competitors.

Binji allows users to “Binji” each other funds with instant P2P capabilities, while providing them with the freedom of a digital bank and all the benefits that come with it, such as early direct deposits, no ATM fees and no monthly or overdraft fees.

See related:  Credit, debit cards slowly losing ground to digital payments

Not the first attempt at digital card consolidation

Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com, noted that Binji is not the first time the fintech industry has seen the launch of a card consolidation product.

“Many others have tried, including Binji’s founder Ryan Marquis with a previous company called Plastc, but this concept has yet to catch on,” Rossman said.

Marquis launched Plastc in 2014 — its key feature being that it could digitally hold 20 credit or debit cards users would have access to — and raised in excess of $9 million via preorders, according to The Verge.

Those who ordered cards, however, never received them.

Plastc announced on its website in April 2017 that it was filing for bankruptcy.

The company was supposed to get $3.5 million in funding in February 2017, but it didn’t come to fruition, and neither did another anticipated investment deal of $6.75 million.

All of the backers lost their money — and their confidence in Marquis. But he’s back in the game with Binji, and it might be poised for success.

Binji offers convenience, but you might miss out on rewards

Binji is appealing to card junkies because they could carry one card and still have access to potentially dozens of cards (for different types of rewards), Rossman pointed out.

But Rossman is concerned about a user’s ability to get category-specific rewards with Binji.

It seems that credit and debit cards you add to Binji merely fund the Binji account and are processed as Binji Mastercard debit transactions, Rossman said.

“So, for example,  you couldn’t tell Binji to use your Chase Freedom for 5 percent back on groceries, but use your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card for 3x points on airfare,” he pointed out.

And, Rossman added, credit cards carry a 3 percent processing fee when they’re used to fund Binji. (Binji representatives could not be reached for comment regarding how it works with different rewards cards.)

“If Binji can perfect this, the concept could be appealing to some. But because of the fees and uncertainty surrounding rewards bonuses, I won’t be an early adopter,” Rossman said. “I’ll wait to see how this plays out. In the meantime, bank-backed services such as Zelle offer instant peer-to-peer payments linked to your bank account. And I’ll keep using individual credit cards (or a mobile payments consolidator such as Apple Pay) for rewards.”

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