Dwolla Review

Overall Rating Breakdown
Sales & Marketing Tactics
Costs & Contract Terms
Complaints & Service
BBB Rating

Overall Rating

A+ Credit Card Processor Rating

Jump to: Marketing | Contract | Complaints | BBB


Dwolla Logo

Dwolla Logo

Dwolla (dwolla.com) is a Des Moines, Iowa-based startup that is on a mission to radically change the electronic payments industry. The company was founded in 2008 on the premise of bypassing credit card Interchange fees (aka: swipe fees) and providing a low-cost payment service to businesses and consumers. Dwolla has created a proprietary payment network similar to that of VISA and MasterCard, and Dwolla’s network does not charge a percentage fee for the transaction like a traditional merchant account does (costs will be covered below). Instead, the company eliminates credit card use altogether by linking consumers’ Dwolla accounts with their checking accounts. The service may sound similar to PayPal, and in some ways it is, but Dwolla is approaching the concept from a very different angle.

Although Dwolla’s payment concept is not exactly a new one, its marketing and business strategy is completely unique. With help from a few banking and financial institution investors, Dwolla has created a payment network that eliminates all of the common fees that merchants incur from accepting card payments. Additionally, the company’s network eliminates the common transfer delays and fraud that plagues similar networks such as the ACH network that most banks utilize. Essentially, Dwolla is a global system for instant cash transfers.

Dwolla can be used for payments between individuals, businesses, or both, but the focus of this review will be the consumer-to-merchant acceptance side. Merchants can accept payments the same way individuals can pay each other, or they can use features that are better suited for their needs. These include website integration and plug-ins for shopping carts as well as tools that can be used to accept payments at the merchant’s location. The company has made major headway in the payments market and has reported that it is processing $30 to $50 million in transactions every month.

Dwolla Video Introduction

Dwolla Sales & Marketing Tactics | A+

Key Points – Sales & Marketing 
Uses independent resellers? No
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? Yes

Dwolla primarily markets itself via its website and uses no deceptive advertising or marketing tactics that are apparent to this reviewer. There are also no complaints regarding the company’s sales tactics to be found on this or other consumer protection websites, indicating that there are no issues with hidden fees or rate increases.

Dwolla Marketing Example

Dwolla Costs & Contract Terms | A+

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
All transactions: $0 or $0.25
Termination fee: None
PCI compliance fee: None
Equipment lease: None

Dwolla probably has the most attractive pricing of any electronic payment service on the market. The company charges no fees for transactions under $10 and only 25 cents per transaction for any amount over $10. There are no additional fees whatsoever (including no PCI Compliance fees) and no service agreement or cancellation fees. Dwolla’s pricing makes it especially cost effective for merchants who deal in low dollar sales as well as merchants that typically have high dollar sales.

Dwolla Complaints and Service | A+

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 20
Live customer support? No
Most common complaint: Transfer time

Dwolla has only about 20 complaints filed in the usual online forums, including Ripoff Report and the comments section of this review; however, the content of these complaints appears to describe isolated incidents and simple merchant misunderstandings surrounding the $3.00 monthly fee for Dwolla Instant (an opt-in service that offers up to $500 in instantly transferrable cash). This $3.00 fee is clearly disclosed on the Dwolla website and will not be considered deceptive for the purposes of this review. The company provides email support and help articles published on its website.

Dwolla BBB Report | A- (CPO Adjusted)

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 9
Billing/collection: 2
Advertising/sales: 2
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 0

As of this review, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is showing Dwolla as not “BBB Accredited” and is awarding the company an “A“ rating based on 13 complaints filed in the last 36 months. Of the complaints, nine are due to problems with service, two are related to billing and collection, and two have to do with advertising or sales issues. All but two of the complaints were resolved to the customers’ satisfaction. In light of these figures, we have slightly adjusted the BBB’s grade to an “A-.”

Bottom Line

Dwolla is making waves in the credit card processing industry. The company offers a low-cost, low-risk payment alternative for merchants. The only drawback to the service is that both the merchant and customer need to have Dwolla accounts. Therefore, the service is best used as a supplement to a traditional credit card processing service. The service is especially useful for business-to-business payments and rent payments.

This review was originally published on 2/8/12 and was last updated on 12/5/14.

Leave your review of Dwolla in the comments section below:

Dwolla Review

Rated 4.75 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-12-05 15:29:52

Dwolla (dwolla.com) probably has the most attractive pricing of any electronic payment service on the market. In fact, the company’s fees make it especially cost effective for merchants who deal in very low amount dollar sales as well as merchants that have high dollar sales… Learn more in this Dwolla review.

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About the author

Phillip Parker

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry.

Phillip can help you find an ethical and honest processor that will offer you great rates. Click here to request a free provider consultation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.cardpaymentoptions.com/money-transfer/dwolla/


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  1. W H

    The problem started when i started to fund my account. After wasting my time with requesting driver license, bank statements and lots of time waiting security team suspended my account.

    I have not done any transactions with the account yet.

    The reason stated is that I tried to fund my account with large fund. I made their job easier and i cancel the transfer of fund since they could not come up with a legally acceptable way for their behavior.

    My impression is : it is kids operation, they are not ready for doing real business unless for kids.

    clumsy,small minded,useless and unreliable.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

  2. Ray Frankenberger

    Dwolla has refused to give my money that was placed in there care by online poker winnings.
    They received 3 winnings from the poker site that I play at. The first 2 disappeared and the 3rd they blatantly refused to send to me. At my request they sent the money back to the poker site ( that claims to be their partner )
    for me to get it from them. They marked the returned money forfeited so that I cannot get my winnings now.


    They have lied to me and stolen money from my account.

    DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

  3. greg

    Been trying to open an account 4a week.finally did I think. Troubles with password and pin would not accept finally did.was told to verify e- mail I did was told they were sending verification and to click on link been waiting 4over 6 hours.never received.had cash winnings on lucktastic scratch game it was not much.but will not pay me my winnings.bunch of f-ing scam artists.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

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