October 23, 2020

Introducing eCash: Deposit Cash with the Ease of a Barcode

Today, we’re excited to announce eCash mobile cash deposits, the newest way for customers to deposit funds into their bank account without the need of a routing subnet (account/routing number). Now anyone with an eCash barcode generated in seconds on their mobile device can seamlessly convert their cash into credit in their bank account.

According to a 2019 Federal Reserve report, 16% of adults in the U.S. were underbanked, while 6% were unbanked, a total of 63 million people. The unbanked have no access to basic financial services like a bank account, and the underbanked have limited access to basic services. These 63 million people rely on cash and alternative financial services and it’s imperative they have the ability to easily move cash and manage their finances.

We are continuing to build products that support our mission to democratize access to financial services, thus improving the lives of those 63 million un/underbanked Americans. Earlier this year we started working on an integration that would make it easier for customers to deposit cash into their bank accounts. The goal was to provide a quick and convenient way to support mobile cash deposits via barcode, allowing customers to deposit cash on-hand into their bank account.

With eCash mobile cash deposits, customers request a barcode that is generated on their mobile device. The unique barcode enables them to make a cash deposit to their bank account at the register of thousands of participating retailers, including 7-Eleven, CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart. Note: a minimum of $20 is required when depositing funds via eCash.

Why Build It?

Before eCash, customers were only able to fund their accounts virtually either through interchange, ACH, wires, or account and routing numbers or physically through remote deposit capture (RDC) of a check. Now, eCash provides the flexibility to deposit cash into a supported bank account from thousands of different retail locations.

With eCash, Neobanks and closed wallet products have another way to help those otherwise underserved by legacy financial institutions by providing a safe way to deposit cash at locations across the country without needing a card.

Under the Hood

An eCash barcode is an external gateway into a user’s account in the same way that an account and routing number is a gateway to a checking account. This gateway enables Synapse’s partner, Green Dot, to permit their retail network to accept cash from a customer. The cashier scans an eCash barcode, and the proceeds (after applicable fees) are reflected as a credit (deposit) in the customer’s bank account.

For developers, integration with eCash is a simple POST call on /nodes/<nodeid>/barcode</nodeid> with the payload:

 "amount" : {
   "amount" : 100,
   "currency" : "USD"
 "retailer_id" : 2481

Example Response:

  "_id": "5f11f095373b92fecffaada1",
  "barcode": "629964901060000288300000000000",
  "barcode_base64": "iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAhQAAAEYCAIAAAC...."

With this response, developers can either decode the barcode_base64 value to generate an image for their application or end users can use the barcode number at the register to deposit cash into their Synapse account.

What’s Next

We’re excited about developing and implementing more ways for consumers to access their accounts. With eCash, we’ve made depositing funds more accessible and look forward to expanding the service across the country as more retailers adopt this new and innovative offering.

In the near-future we will make moving funds even easier with the addition of cardless ATM locations. These cardless ATMs will give consumers access to their funds from their smartphone.