Aug 282014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Electronic billing is becoming so common that it may totally replace paper bills in the future and customers may receive electronic versions of their bills on their electronic mail. The latter is happening in our times, but the former has not been stopped yet, perhaps due to adaptability issues.

Due to the rise in such services, companies have come up with solutions for other businesses to offer electronic bill presentment to their customers, allowing them to pay online, without having to even leave their homes. CenPOS is one such company that offers an EBPP solution (Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment) for businesses that issue bills to their customers.

EBPPThis is coupled with recurring billing solutions to allow the business to charge the customer periodically and automatically. The solution is aimed at going paperless and saving costs on printing and postage. It also reduces processing time and ensures customer loyalty due to the facility provided. Businesses can also add discounts to bills and add expiry dates to invoices.

SMS alerts can also be registered for being informed about the status of payment. These are coupled with high security and robust reporting tools to help the business analyze and take decisions. This solution works seamlessly with other CenPOS solutions.

Customers can enjoy the fast, reliable and secure bill payment service that is easy to use. They don’t need to login or register to make the payment, because it is frictionless. They can pay using a debit card, credit card or ACH or even tokenization and get notified with confirmation by SMS. They can also review bills across all CenPOS merchants in one place, saving them time and making it easier to track bills and manage finances. With recurring billing, businesses can also offer instalment schemes without any difficulty.

To get details on implementation and setup, businesses can contact CenPOS by email or they can call them at 1877 630 7960.

1 vote, 1.00 avg. rating (43% score)
Aug 232014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Mobile money operator, Telenor, which runs the mobile money transfer and service called Easypaisa also offers bill payment through the same product. It is a hassle free and secure way to pay all utility bills including electricity, gas, telephone, water, and internet bills. Bills can be paid at any of the Easypaisa shops, Telenor Sales & Service Centers, Tameer Microfinance Bank Branches, Telenor Franchises and others.

Users can pay at any time and from anywhere and complete security is guaranteed. The network of supported payment locations enables the users to pay from anywhere. Easypaisa is available 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, so they are easily accessible.

EasypaisaAll transactions happen in the real time and instant notification is sent to the user on payment of a bill. The service supports around 25 utility billers across Pakistan and more billers will hopefully be added with time. No additional charges are applicable for paying bills through Easypaisa shops. However, paying bills from the Easypaisa Mobile Account has a fee applicable.

The system is automated and secure, coupled with automatic and instant payment. Anyone can pay a bill by visiting an Easypaisa outlet, but payment from an Easypaisa Mobile Account is only allowed for the subscribers.

In order to pay a bill at an Easypaisa outlet, users need to bring the bill and the amount in cash at the outlet on any working day between 9 AM and 5 PM, provide their mobile number for notifications and collect the stamped bill which carries the transaction ID and the agent ID. With Easypaisa Mobile Account, users can pay bills on the go, at any time and from anywhere.

To pay a bill using a mobile phone, Easypaisa Mobile Account subscribers need to dial *786# and select “Pay Bill” before selecting the bill category and the biller. The customer number printed on the bill has to be entered then, to get the bill details. In order to confirm, the PIN has to be entered and the payment is released. An SMS is immediately received with the confirmation, amount, fee charged and the Easypaisa Account balance.

The service is good for avoiding queues and enabling on the go payments, but a lot can be done to improve and innovate in this area.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Aug 202014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

GreenPost, Your Digital Postman; how does the name sound? It is easy to guess that the phrase is for a company that works on paperless mail management, and in our context, paperless bill management. Such services are mostly found restricted to the US, because they were started there and the owners of the company wait for it to be established before it can be taken outside. So how long would it take to reach Asia in such a way? Very long!

Instead of waiting for that to happen, Asian citizens can use this service from Green Post to manage their bills online and pay them. The company focuses on paperless life and kn saving trees from being cut. The service is available in about 10 Asian countries including India, Singapore, Malaysia, the UAE and even Australia. The company has won several awards for their solutions and works hard to improve further.

GreenPostGreenPost automatically retrieves the bills and stores them in the free account created by the user, so that they can start setting alerts and making payments. Like other bill management services, this service, too helps the users track bills and avoid missing a due date, thus avoiding extra fees on delayed payments. They say that they store all bills in the archives, so no more forgetting, losing a bill or misplacing it. All solutions offered by the company can be accessed with a single login.

Green Post currently supports top billers in all of the supported countries. The list can be accessed here. All transactions happen on a secure network, so the users don’t have to worry about security of their data.

GreenPost mobile apps are available for iOS and Android phones for easy access from anywhere and at any time. They can be downloaded from the respective app stores.

The service is free for users while companies or billers are charged a small fee for presenting their bills and getting paid through GreenPost. This does not make much difference to them on cost, because the money used for printing bills can be used to avail this service. Due to its innovative and nature-friendly feature, it is like to be adopted by the people, if they get convinced about the security.

The service is available for payment processors as well. They can use GreenPost to offer bill pay solutions through their payment gateways.

 

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Aug 152014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Utah based, Zions Bank has over 600 branches and 500 ATMs in 10 Western states of the United States. They offer bill pay to their customers who enroll for the service. They are launching a new and improved bill pay service very soon, to simplify online bill payment for account holders and to simplify their finances.

Zions is a full service bank that offers all the products and services a typical bank does. They were launched in 1873 and have been developing since then, to reach over 600 offices in 10 states. They have been service the communities of the west for over 140 years. Because of this heritage and the community-focused mindset, their tagline reads “We Haven’t Forgotten Who Keeps Us in Business”.

Zions BankWith the online bill pay service, customers can pay mortgage, installment loan, credit card, utility and other types of bills. In fact, they can pay anyone in the US and can receive ebills from select billers. The service can be used at any time of the day. The service is free of cost for the first 25 bills paid every month, after which, a fee of $0.50 applicable for every bill. Charges for business bill pay are same as personal bill pay; but the charges on banking accounts maybe applicable depending upon the type of account chosen.

Court ordered payments and payments to Internal Revenue System are not supported by this service. For these payments, the best choice would be Official Payments. Users can enroll for the service by logging into their online banking accounts and completing the enrolment procedure. Zions guarantee payment delivery on time, provided it was requested at least 5 days prior to the due date. In case there is a delay on Zions’ part, they reimburse the late fee up to $50.

They have provided a bill payment demo on their website, but the link is for only the first slide. I have managed to gather the links to other slides as well; so, the users can access the demo from the following links: Slide 1, Slide 2, Slide 3, Slide 4, Slide 5, Slide 6, Slide 7. The new bill payment interface is coming soon, which is expected to be better and with better features. All existing users, along with their payee details and scheduled payments, will be moved to the new system; new users will be able to use it once it is launched. They can however enroll for the current bill pay interface, until the new one is launched.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Aug 092014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Managing bills is a task that most of us don’t like, considering the number of bills we get and the difficulty in preserving them. Storing them in a dedicated drawer is a good idea and prevents losing important bills. Whenever needed, a bill can be taken and paid. What if the key of the drawer was given to trusted person to collect our bills and place them in the drawer for us to use them whenever we want?

This concept has been taken online by a US based company, Finovera, which is an online bill management company. They do not support bill payment at present, but have said that they would launch it with the next versions of the solution. Users can store any bill or even personal documents safely online, with access anywhere in the world.

FinoveraFinovera allows US residents to download and access bills and store them in their account. This feature can be accessed anywhere in the world, but only US providers are supported. Non-US users can still use the service for offline bill management and they can also use the Digital File Cabinet, where they can store their documents.

Both online and offline users can track their bills and setup alerts for due bills, in order to avoid missing a due date. For every biller or provider added, Finovera asks for the user account credentials with the concerned provider, to securely connect and retrieve bills and statements. The credentials can be saved in the users’ Finovera accounts to enable auto login and to avoid entering the passwords repeatedly.

Finovera supports thousands of providers and works hard to add more to the list. So in case users don’t find their providers, they can request for support. Most providers continue to send paper bills after signing up for the ebills, except those that require paper bills to be stopped before switching over to ebills and if paper bills were voluntarily asked to be stopped. In addition to bill management, users can also manage their money with Finovera.

The most important point of concern here is the security of the Finovera account. The fact that all the credentials are saved in this account makes it even more worrisome. But Finovera makes it clear that their systems are protected with bank level security and the accounts of the users are safe with them. They also advise that users should never share their passwords with anyone and should not use Finovera from a public computer.

Finovera can also be used on a smartphone and a tablet. Currently, they only have an iOS app, but they will be launching their Android app by the end of 2014. The ability to link accounts instantly and the fact that the service is absolutely free are just great. Users who are interested can sign up from here.

1 vote, 4.00 avg. rating (73% score)
Aug 022014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Paying bills on time is something most people are cautious about, due to the late fees applicable if due dates are missed. They carefully save money for due bills in order to avoid running out of budget. What if some money could be saved and in fact, returned to us for using a particular bill payment service? The famous card company, Discover has a bill payment service with 1% cash back offer.

While paying the bills, if some amount can be saved, it is a good option. Supposing the bills paid amount to $2000 in the year, the cash back bonus will be $20. More, Motiva and Open Road card members earn 0.25% cash back Bonus on the first $3000 paid and 1% for amount after $3000.

DiscoverThe cash back bonus can be redeemed for cash as direct deposit into a bank account of choice or as credit in the Discover credit card account. The bonus can also be used to pay online, credited to partner gift cards or discover gift cards or donated to charitable organizations.

Discover supports many billers in many industries including insurance, cable/satellite TV, security, internet and wireless. They also provide contact details for each biller, in case customers need to contact them for any reason. For paying a bill, customers need the paper bill or e-bill and the Discover card. The biller has to be searched for and selected and automatic bill payments registered online or by phone with the billers.

Bills can also be paid manually by logging into the Account Center. Unregistered users should first register for starting to pay bills with Discover. Up to two online payments are allowed using different bank accounts. The maximum number of bank accounts that can be connected with Discover is 9.

The interesting part of Discover is that even if one pays the bill on the due date, before 5 PM Eastern Time, the payment is delivered on the same day. But late fees may be applicable in case the payment was made after the time. For those who do not want to opt for same day payments, scheduling has to be done in advance to avoid missing the due date; this is to avoid delays on part of other parties involved in the process, such as banks.

The bill pay service is free of cost for all Discover card holders. Apart from online payments, customers can opt to pay from Western Union and few other retail outlets, or pay by check by sending the check to Discover. Online transactions with Discover are safe, as the users are protected with the $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Jul 272014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Altoona First Bank, a community bank based in Pennsylvania offers online banking with bill pay option to customers. They are present physically in 5 places in Pennsylvania and offer bank accounts to residents of the state. They consider themselves the real community bank, which works for the benefit of the customers and not the stockholders, because they don’t have any stockholders. They have been serving the community of central Pennsylvania since 1927.

Because they don’t have stockholders, the point of focus is needs of the customer; after all, customer is the king in any business, and this is even truer when the business’ primary stakeholder is the customer. They also support small businesses by offering various services including payment processing solutions and business checking accounts.

Altoona BankThe bill pay service is free to use for all internet banking customers and can be used to pay any person, bank or company. The service aims to promote reduced usage of paper, like most online bill pay services. Customers can setup recurring payments and can schedule one time automatic payments in advance. They can also setup due date reminders to avoid missing a deadline and to avoid late fees. All customers also get dedicated support line to ensure easy availability of help, when they need it.

Payments are sent to the billers electronically (to over 70% of the billers) or by paper check. The e-payments are received by the biller in 2-3 business days. Automatic payments should be scheduled accordingly. Same day payments are also available, and for this, payments have to be instructed before 3 PM, Eastern Time and a fee is applicable for this.

Residents of Central Pennsylvania can try the service by accessing the demo and decide whether it is better for them. Presence of so many services can make the decision difficult, but the service offered by Altoona is good enough. The best part of the service is that it can be used to pay anyone and not just a company in Pennsylvania, which is otherwise not possible with most banks that are present in specific states. However, the condition of ‘anyone’ includes anyone currently having an address within continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Having said this, one muse note that this service cannot be used to pay alimony, child support, liens, taxes, or other governmental fees or court ordered payments.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Jul 182014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

American Express offers bill pay services in many countries that it operates in. I had discussed about the service in the US in my previous article, which was an automatic payment service for recurring household bills. In this article, I will discuss the service available in Saudi Arabia.

In one of my previous articles, I had discussed about SADAD, the online bill payment system in Saudi Arabia. The system is widely used by almost every resident of the Kingdom and is easily accessible from the ATMs of almost every bank and online. American Express also allows the residents of KSA to pay bills through SADAD. The channels that can be used include ATMs of any bank, internet, telephone banking and branch visits.

American ExpressTo pay bills in person, the bank Amex has partnered with is Saudi Investment Bank. Payers can visit any branch of the bank and pay in cash or check. Checks must be payable to “Amex (Saudi Arabia) Ltd. – American Express [SADAD Number]“. Alternatively, the card holder can pay a bill through SARIE (Saudi Arabian Riyal Interbank Express) bank transfer.

American Express also offers the automatic payment service in Saudi Arabia, which they offer in the US, that we have discussed previously. For availing this service, the card holder is supposed to call Amex customer service number: 8001242229.

Amazingly, bills can also be paid from outside Saudi Arabia by depositing the funds in USD into the American Express’ bank account with JP Mogran Chase Bank in New York. The beneficiary bank is The Saudi Investment Bank and the beneficiary name is Amex (Saudi Arabia) Ltd. The details for this can be obtained from the customer service team or from here.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Jul 182014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Among the credit card providers that offer bill pay service, American Express is an excellent choice. They provide an easy, convenient and time saving service to enable the card holders to manage recurring household bills. The holder of an American Express card has to register their card with participating merchants to avail this service.

Once registered, all bills are paid on time, automatically, without any additional cost to the card holder. In order to use the service, card holders need to look for the biller on Amex website and go to the former’s website (or access the service from biller’s website). When they access the biller’s website, they are provided with instructions to pay the bills; these may differ for each biller. After setting up automatic payments, all the payments can be tracked on American Express Account Statements.

Amex Automatic Bill PayIf the biller a card holder is looking for can’t be found on Amex website, the billers can be directly asked if they accept American Express Automatic Bill Payment as an option. Having registered for the service, it may take up to three billing cycles for charges to appear on the American Express Card Account Statement.

This link can be used to locate the billers and see if the service provider the card holder uses is supported. If a particular biller is not found, they should be contacted directly to enquire. Most billers send the paper bills marked “Paid” or “Do Not Pay” to indicate that the bill will be automatically paid. Alternatively, payers can use online bill presentment offered by the billers, if it is available.

An advantage of this service is that there is no fee associated with bill payments, which is not true with most third party bill payment services. In addition, card holders can enroll in a reward program and get rewards for using the bill payment service. By using this service, American Express card holders can save time, postage, late fees and bill payment fees.

1 vote, 3.00 avg. rating (63% score)
Jul 142014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Residents of the United States have loads of options to choose from, when they intend to pay their bills online. Most banks have begun to offer bill pay service to keep up with the demands of the customers and avoid losing them to banks that provide these services. In addition, many third party companies have been coming up with innovative concepts in bill payment.

People who hold MasterCard in the US can pay bills with their card, just by logging on to their website and filling the bill information. They provide the ability to search for billers by category and further narrow down by limiting them to a particular ZIP Code. The biller directory helps the payer find companies that accept MasterCard for bill payment. Billers can also be saved to setup reminders and pay bills in one click. Users are not required to login to make one time payments.

MasterCardBillers from a number of categories are supported including auto loans, cable TV, court fines, entertainment, ISPs, tolls, tax payments, utilities and insurance. From managing personal finances to running small businesses, payers get flexibility and control over the way they manage and pay bills. The fee charged may start at $3.

The service is simple to use and also have automatic payment scheduling option, which makes it a great bill pay service, on par with many leading services. Many billers also allow payers to schedule the date when the card is charged and to set a maximum limit to the amount they are authorized to bill them. In addition, the service also allows the payers to find contact information of the billers, so that they can contact them whenever they want to.

MasterCard offers the bill pay service in a few other countries as well. For instance, in India, they offer the bill pay service at MasterCardBillPay.in, where, customers are allowed to pay bills without registering or logging in. Registered users can setup reminders.

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