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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Jul 082014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Chase, a subsidiary of JP Morgan also offers bill payment services to customers. Almost any bill can be paid with this service without any hassle, over the internet. It involves adding a payee and scheduling payments for one time or recurring periods. This takes only a minute and payments happen on secure online gateway.

Bill payment can also be made on the go with Chase Mobile app. Most payments are delivered within two business days. The service is ideal for rent and mortgage, utilities, credit cards and car payments, although most other bills can also be paid. They provide a guarantee that the payments will be delivered on time, provided the customer schedules the payments beforehand and Chase receives the payment before the cutoff time. In case payment is not delivered on time, Chase would cover 100% of the fees resulting from the delay.

Chase MobileHowever, for using bill payment, a customer needs to have a checking account with Chase, an online banking account that allows them to do all banking transactions; this includes bill payment as well. To open an account, customers can follow this link. Customers who already have an account can enroll for the bill pay service or login from here.

In order to pay bills, customers have to login to the online banking account, scroll to the Payments and Transfers tab and add a payee. After confirming, the payee is added to the account. A bill has to be added then, the payment has to be scheduled. In the same way, recurring payments can also be setup.

The bill pay demo can be accessed here in order to experience the service before trying it. The service is user-friendly and easy to use; a good option for customers of Chase, who have an online banking account with them. The drawback, however, is that it is dependent on this fact and is not available for non-account holders. They present various benefits of having a Chase online banking account, but it is upon individuals to evaluate it before choosing to open one.

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Jun 292014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Singapore is a rapidly developing country with a lot of multinational companies having offices there. Investments from foreigners are also easy there, which makes the development rate higher. Paying bills is also easy with electronic payment in place. DBS Bank, a Singapore based bank offers bill pay service with their online banking. The bank has its operations in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia as well. They have over 250 branches in 17 markets.

In Singapore, DBS Bank has partnered with over 150 corporations for enabling customer to pay bills online. All of the billers are supported for payment by internet banking and phone banking and some of them by personal banking. Some of them are also supported for payment by ATM as well. The list of supported billers can be accessed here. If customers don’t find their biller in the list of supported companies, they can request the bank to add these billers to the list.

iBanking DBSCustomers can pay bills for utilities, telecommunication services, taxes and much more, all from their online banking account. Payment can also be made through participating organizations at anytime and anywhere through the on-the-go banking. For promoting this service, DBS Bank is offering 2 Mini Cooper cars and S$30000 in prizes the users of online bill payment could win.

The customer has control over how much has to be paid and when, they can pay at anytime from anywhere. The service is offered free of cost, which is amazing. The service is also available through POS Bank, which was merged with DBS Bank earlier in 1998.

In order to make the payments, one has to have an account with DBS Bank or POS Bank and has to apply for internet banking. Once they have applied and have got an iBanking Account, they can login and click on “Payments”. Then they need to select “Bill Payment: Manage Billing Arrangements”, add a biller and provide the customer reference number to fetch the bill information. At the bank branches, customers need to fill the Bill Payment Arrangement form and submit it over the counter to avail theservice.

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Jun 222014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Alabama is a US state which has many counties. There is a bank which serves the people of these counties, called Bank Independent. Started in 1947, the bank works hard for the welfare of the residents of Alabama. Currently, the bank is present has 27 offices in 6 counties across North West Alabama.

Services they offer include personal banking, business banking, and loans & mortgages. As part of personal banking and business banking, Bank Independent also offers bill pay services. For using both, users need to have either savings or checking accounts with the bank.

Bank IndependentRegistration can be done online through online banking in both cases. The service is offered free of cost for personal account holders and has a wide scope, which means that individuals can pay anyone including other individuals they owe money to, just with an email address. Business customers are charged a certain fee for the service.

The service has some good features including historical bill viewing for the past 18 months, scheduling multiple payments at once, viewing list of pending bills and so on. Scheduling can be done for one-time, occasional and recurring bills. Anyone in the US can be paid, as long as they have a US mailing address. Payments to a government agency or court-ordered obligation, and payments to an address outside the US are not allowed with this service.

In order to ensure payments are made on time, the user is advised to specify the due date while adding a bill, so that it is paid on that day. They also offer electronic bill presentment service for delivery on ebills. In addition a limit of $2500 per bill is applicable for online payment. For larger amounts, they send checks to the biller. For getting a predetermined limit over $2500, the interested customers should contact the customer service at Bank Independent.

Payments scheduled through mobile banking are processed immediately. Payment date can not be setup using mobile banking and recurring payments can’t be setup as well. Interested account holders at Bank Independent can make use of this service from the bank’s website.

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Jun 192014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Residents of Ireland can pay bills online with MyBills, which supports 114 billers across Ireland, which include utilities, financial corporations, charities, mobile operators, etc.

Their one-off payment feature is unique, which is not available with most bill payment services. It allows users to pay a bill without registering for an account with MyBills. In order to pay a bill, the customer account number and a debit card are required. Registered users can setup bills for payments and select the payment method. They can also setup automatic recurring payments and schedule them. In addition, they can view historic payments and review paid bills.

MyBills

MyBills

MyBills is a service provided by An Post and is not charged any fee. Users can set up maximim 2 cards on their account to pay bills from them. They can request for more cards by contacting the Help deslk. Users can also pay a part of the amount and pay the remaining amount later; each biller has a maximum and minimum amounts payable, though.

Once the payment is made, it can not be cancelled, the users should carefully enter the account number and decide whether they want to pay or not. MyBills does not support credit card payments, so users should pay bills using a debit card or a bank account.

This form can be used for registering with MyBills and for starting to pay bills.

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Jun 152014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Other than online bill payment, many countries have outlets that facilitate bill payment for most companies including utilities and other privet billers. Easy Bill is such a company that has a chain of outlets across the country for acting as one-stop-shop for bill payments, mobile phone and TV service top up, air ticket booking, train and bus ticket booking. It is a part of The Hero Group.

All a customer needs to do is walk into any of the Easy Bill outlets nearby and present the paper bill to the representative who enquires for the bill through the customer account number, amount and other details and submits it to the biller to instantly receive confirmation. The customer is then given the acknowledgement of the payment.

Easy Bill IndiaEasy Bill has over 10000 outlets spread across India, including pharmacies, grocery stores, mobile phone stores and other convenient locations which customers visit frequently. They are present in 100 Indian cities and have plans to expand to 250 cities in the near future. Bills that are supported include utility bills, mobile phone and telephone bills, insurance and so on. They have also partnered with major airlines, Indian Railway, major entertainment and sports channels and several bus operators in India.

Charges and billers supported may be different for each city. The support for each city can be checked from here. They also have a store locator on their website, but unfortunately, it is not working. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon, but if it isn’t, a store can be located by speaking with their customer service agents at the toll free number: 1800 11 7575.

They have a good range of services offered and they are working on more services including movie tickets. Something they could start is online services where they can offer all the services currently offered, online. Most of these services are accessible online, individually from their respective websites. But if Easy Bill can offer online payment services for all of these, it will be great.

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Jun 072014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Today, many leading banks of the world work with billing companies to enable account holders to pay bills from their account, anywhere they are; that is through online banking. Almost every country has some online bill payment service or another. First Caribbean International Bank has an online bill payment service included as a feature in their online banking service; they call it Bill Balance

First Caribbean International Bank has partnered with various billers in Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and few other countries in the Caribbean. The list of supported billers keeps changing and can be checked from here. Users can pay bills without the need for any printed document in hand.

FCIBIn order to begin using the service, users need to login to internet banking and click on “Register a Bill” under Bill Payments. A participating biller has to be chosen and details pertaining to the bills have to be populated, after which, details have to be confirmed and submitted for registration. Once the biller has been added, bills are fetched automatically. All the user has to do is click on “Pay Bill” under Bill Payment and select the biller for paying the bill. Few billers also send e-bills which can be viewed online.

Alerts can also be setup in order to avoid missing a due date. In addition, automatic payment is also available. Limits can be set for maximum amount that can be paid automatically and which bill is paid automatically, provided a biller provides bill balances. Bill balances and alerts can also be viewed and managed from the online banking interface. Notifications are available for notifying about a bill paid, automatic payment made, bill balances available to view online, a bill exceeding automatic payment limit, due bills not paid and failure of payment.

Bill Balance is offered to all First Caribbean International Bank’s online banking customers, free of cost. Customers can pay bills from their saving or checking accounts.

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