Intuit Seeks Bigger Piece Of Online Banking Through Digital Insight Purchase

Intuit is looking to convince banks to offer services beyond traditional online checking, savings, and bill payment.

Intuit believes in the software-as-a-service model enough that it's paying $1.35 billion in cash for the opportunity to sell the capability of its popular financial software as a service added on to banks' Web sites.

Intuit last week said it's buying Digital Insight, which provides services to about 1,760 mostly midsize banks and has $214 million in annual revenue. Intuit had $2.3 billion in sales its most-recent fiscal year. Seven million small businesses use Intuit's QuickBooks software, and 15 million consumers use its Quicken product.

Today, banks primarily offer Web services that move conventional banking tasks online--write checks, make deposits, pay bills. Intuit will try to sell functionality of its QuickBooks record-keeping software as a service through banks, letting small businesses create, send, and get paid for invoices, all online at a bank's site. With millions of QuickBooks customers, Intuit can make a good case to banks that it understands small businesses' needs.

For consumers, no banks offer financial management services similar to the software from Intuit or its competitors such as Microsoft, says JupiterResearch analyst Asaf Buchner. Only about 45% of small-bank customers use online banking services, Buchner adds.

Intuit learned with its tax return business how quickly packaged software can move to a Web service. Last year for the first time, more people used the online version of its TurboTax service than the desktop version.

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