Deluxe aims to add crypto

Deluxe aims to add crypto

Dive Brief:

  • Deluxe, which still has a major business in providing check books for consumers that prefer paper, isn’t allowing that to stop it from preparing for the future. The company is planning next year to let consumers make some payments from a digital wallet by converting their crypto to a stablecoin, said Mike Reed, who leads Deluxe’s payments division. 
  • The Minneapolis-based company is aiming to make it happen by next year, said Reed, who is based in Atlanta overseeing that part of the business that offers digital options to customers that can automate payments and remittances processes.
  • “Payments moves really fast so there is always a new thing on the horizon so we’re looking at crypto to see if we want to add crypto to the gateway just to see if customers would want to use that,” Reed said in an interview on the sidelines of the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas last week. The company is “hoping to add that next year,” he said.

Dive Insight:

Deluxe has acknowledged that despite the still robust demand for checks, that mainstay business for the 100-year-old-plus company is dwindling. 

“We expect that the number of checks written will continue to decline due to the digitization of payments,” the company disclosed in its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February. Among the culprits causing the decline, along with debit cards and digital payments, is cryptocurrencies, the company said.

Indeed, Deluxe CEO Barry McCarthy said earlier this year that he expects the company’s payments division to generate more revenue next year than its check-printing business.

The company’s consideration of crypto is one futuristic hedge against that eventuality. “We’re not losing business because we don’t have it today, but you never know,” Reed said. “I’d rather be ahead of things, than not.”

Deluxe started mulling the move into crypto when it noticed that its bank partners were catering to many first-time home-buyers using crypto in 2020 and 2021 for down payments on homes, Reed said.

“If they’re starting to use it in those types of ways for high-value ticket items, and other things, they may want to do that,” Reed explained in describing their turning to the crypto option.

Reed can also imagine consumers turning to their digital wallets to crypto for other major payments. “People could be in a bind and they may want to pay their taxes for their homes using that asset and they would need to get it out and be able to pay their tax bill,” Reed said. “Who knows, so we’re going to be ready for that.”

Still, he noted it’s not likely to enter the mainstream for everyday payments anytime soon. “I don’t know that we’ll have people wanting to pay for Coca-Cola at the convenience store with their crypto wallet, but who knows.”

From paper to digital money uses, the Deluxe foray into crypto is another move the company is making to be prepared for a host of payment methods consumers are tapping, beyond the checks. 

“Deluxe understands the ecosystem we’re in,” Reed said in a follow-up statement by email through a spokesperson. “We’re talking with our (merchant) customers to determine if they want to accept crypto at their point of sale. We’re also looking at blockchain, to use the distributed ledger to help facilitate real-time payments, specifically where data payment is required, such as with an invoice.”

The company also noted it’s still determining the best way to implement the crypto addition. “The use cases for crypto are still being validated and we expect to have a crypto payment acceptance option in market next year,” Reed said in the statement.

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