Why Intuit is spending $360 mn to acquire Check Inc.

Intuit Inc. confirmed its plans yesterday, to acquire Check for $360 million as per a recent press release on Check’s website.


Check is the latest tech startup to be acquired by Intuit as it plans to expand its suite of tools for individuals and small businesses through acquisitions. Check provides a mobile app that lets its customers track and pay for all of their bills right from their phone. More than 10 million people use Check's smartphone app to track and pay bills. Check doesn’t charge its customers who link their bank account with Check to fund bill payments, but it does charge fees for making payments with a credit card.

Check also makes money from in-app advertisements that offer promotions for credit cards or insurance. The company collects a per-transaction fee from billers like wireless carrier Alltel Corp. Check also charges consumers services such as same-day delivery of late payments. Check expects its revenue to be more than $20 million this year. It was less than $15 million last year.

“This acquisition will accelerate Intuit’s ability to offer bill pay across personal finance and small business products,” according to Barry Saik, Intuit senior vice president. It will also “create opportunities to retain, attract and serve additional customers.”

“Consumers increasingly want mobile apps that allow them to take action with their money and help them accomplish every day financial tasks, such as bill pay and household budgeting,” as was cited in the statements from Intuit Inc.

There can be various reasons that Intuit has in mind behind the acquisition:

  • Intuit can pair Check’s mobile service with Quicken, its desktop finance management software, and, its online checkbook portal. This would largely make up for the lack in capacity to address active financial needs such as bill payment.
  • Intuit can capture Check’s sizable customer base and consumer payments capability in order to streamline interactions between consumers and small businesses. Intuit also uses services such as QuickBooks and Intuit Payroll to perform such tasks.
  • The company soon found that many of its users were deploying multiplying financial apps and so it shifted its attention to offering bill-paying services. Check’s app now can centrally manage multiple bank accounts and credit card services.
  • Intuit could now encourage customers to use Check's app on their smartphones and pay their bills through it. Thus, Intuit's customers will be able to gather bill details, track their transactions and make scheduled payments.
  • Check is one of the few bill-tracking services that allow customers to pay for all of their bills without leaving the app.
  • Check also assures a recurring revenue stream to complement the money the company makes from advertiser promotions.

Check could go well beyond bill payments, its CEO Guy Goldstein said in an interview earlier this year. “The phone is going to be your wallet, and we want to be one of the big companies to emerge out of it,” he said. “We have a big ambition to be the wallet of the future.”

Check could also potentially turn out to be an app that shoppers would use to pay for goods and services while in physical retail stores. “Yes, point of sale is also interesting to us,” the CEO said at the time. “We want to be a complete wallet.” Intuit doesn’t confirm these plans for now, but wants to use the acquisition for development in advanced Web data collection tools and a patented payments technology.

The Check deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.


Ray has keen interest in the area of devices, OS and wireless technologies. He is a Mobile Technology enthusiast and believes that Mobility is going to completely change the way we do Payments and Commerce. He wishes to share this belief with the world by providing such content through LetsTalkPayments. Ray has done his engineering as well as MBA.

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