October 15, 2014
The Nimbl app allows a user to request up to $200. On completing the request, a runner is dispatched who delivers the requested amount within 15 to 30 minutes. No wonder this service is dubbed as Uber for cash. When the runner delivers the cash and authenticates the recipient, the recipient then receives a payment request. The customer can then make that payment via Venmo, PayPal, Google Wallet or Square Cash.
The company has a flat fee of $5 as delivery charges but is currently offering the service for free to new users. The Nimbl app is available only for iOS users right now, with Android and browser based versions to arrive later. The delivery service was launched in San Francisco and New York area.
It should be noted that usage of cash is decreasing, especially among young, tech-savvy customers. But the company believes that cash is still used widely for low value transactions. Nimbl is hoping to gain revenues by promoting the cash-only service. The success of this business would depend not only on customer demand but also more on whether the company can make enough money in meeting that demand.
The ideation behind this kind of service is not that bad. The cost of using an ATM that is not owned by your own bank is $3 to $4 anyways. Moreover, this service could clearly help in scenarios where the payment card that you are carrying might not be adequate and you are in need of some quick cash. The service has more opportunities in suburban areas where an ATM is hard to find.
The business is in an early phase and there will indeed be speculations around its profitability. Considering the cost of wages for those those actually running to deliver the cash, it is hard to determine whether the company will attain enough margins. One should also not ignore the scenarios where even the delivery agent might get robbed. This could raise questions about the service assurance and moreover, jeopardize the security of those who making the delivery.
Nimbl is hoping to gain traction by increasing the velocity of the deliveries in suitable time periods. It will also use some locations as 'pit stops for delivery people in order to refill the cash bags. This would eventually lead to a delivery person not carrying excessively large amounts of cash at a time.