A New Player in Small Business Online Banking. What The Intuit/Bottomline Deal Really Means

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19 March 2012
Jacob Jegher
On March 5th, Bottomline Technologies and Intuit announced an interesting deal. There are two components to the deal:
  • Bottomline acquires Intuit Financial Services commercial banking business for $20 million
  • The two firms have formed a partnership and will work together "through cross promotions, referrals and joint sales efforts to deliver innovative solutions for financial institutions of all sizes."

Several Celent clients have contacted us to gain a better understanding of this deal and what it means for the market. I interpret this in a very straightforward manner:

  • Bottomline has lacked a small business offering and now they have one. This now allows them to attack an additional segment of the business market. It also allows them to move downstream to work with smaller financial institutions and their small business clients
  • Intuit is a small business powerhouse, and although they sold off their "commercial banking" business I have no doubt they will continue to tackle the small business market. What's interesting here is that although the assets they sold have been labelled "commercial" and have some commercial capabilities, they are in fact being used by plenty of small businesses. Celent has reviewed Intuit's solution as a small business solution, based on the size and nature of their current bank customers. It will be interesting to see how Intuit's consumer online banking solution will evolve in order to serve micro and small businesses. I see Intuit paying extra attention to the small business market moving forward, so even though they sold off some assets this is still a player to watch.


  • Very interesting covnersation thread so far. I've been an Intuit/DI client for about ten years (both on the credit union and bank side) and continue to be impressed by their demonstrated investment of R&D dollars toward fintech innovation for financial institutions (and direct to consumer/business markets through their other solutions). The company's evolving strategy around the online and mobile channels has generally been spot on, though not as quick to market as some may like. Much of the feedback you have provided so far focuses on mobile being the most important area for development. While I generally agree about this being a key channel due to the evolution of payments, the device the end user uses to perform banking functions will become less relevant as HTML5/CSS3 and more flexible application technology provides for more immediate recognition of browser/screen resolution and adapts accordingly. As several people have mentioned, the ultimate user experience should be the same regardless of device, and it simply isn't today. Focusing on one channel, mobile, without fixing' inconsistencies in user experience in other platforms leaves the user scratching their head. Why can't I use FinanceWorks and Mint on my iPad (oh right, it's using Flash)? Why can't I view my checks and statements or chat with CSRs using the iPhone app or a browser based application? Why doesn't mobile banking let me transfer money between my banks through my online banking's Pop money feature? Those sort of inconsistencies can slow the path of adoption across channels. If we want to ensure ongoing adoption, we need to focus just as much on functional consistency and user experience. Apple is building NFC into it's phones, tablets (and if rumors are correct, even Macs) because they know function ubiquity is going to be important we should build applications in the same way. I look forward to seeing this discussion (and conference panels) evolve to talk about other areas for mobile as well, like social media integration, expanded SMS functionality, data share/export between users and across Intuit solutions (Mint to FinanceWorks), business payments and cross marketing (expanding Purchase Rewards to proximity offers, NFC payments/transfers/MFA, even text marketing for business (think I saw an article about Intuit's tests in India). The next several years in fintech is going to be fascinating as big companies scramble toward banking 2.0 and a deeper level of engagement banking that focuses on customer delight. We're glad to be a part of the covnersation and innovation. 1 likes

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