Jan 302014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Venturing into bill payment services is one way for money transfer companies to diversify. Most companies are probably forced to keep up with the technology in order to keep their customers feeling that they are ahead of others. Customers are the primary focus for every business because the businesses exists because of them.

Many money transfer companies have introduced bill payment and have launched mobile apps. A few have launched mobile wallets for mobile money transfer, and a few have also introduced prepaid cards of their own.

MoneyGram, which is among the leading money payment services, also has a bill payment service. Like money transfer, they have bill payment service at any agent location or online. Apart from these, payments can also be made with cash at Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, Albertsons and Advance America. The number of retail locations for cash payment is over 35,000.

MoneyGram Bill PayA wide range of bills are accepted for payment by MoneyGram which include auto loans, rent, cable, phone, insurance and credit cards. Their fee starts at $1.49 and they offer same day, next day and 2-3 day services. Of course, they charge higher for same day payments; this can be used in order to avoid penalties for late payments. Notification for payment is received within 10 minutes for same day payments and accordingly for next day and 2-3 day payments.

Payments at an agent location requires that the customer gives the receive code for that biller and their account number. Card swipe facility is also available at select locations.

Bill Payment can also be made online at any time on MoneyGram website. Not all billers are available for online payment. The customer has to visit this link and enter the biller’s receive code and their account number. Payment is done using credit/debit cards. MoneyGram also offers bill payment solutions to businesses, which includes both in-person and online payments.

Just like their money transfer services, their bill payment service is convenient and accurate and their customer service is also quite good. So next time you look for options to pay your bills conveniently, you could consider MoneyGram as one.

Jan 272014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Bill payment services have been in a race to make the lives of their users easier and convenient. There is one company which offers highly convenient bill payment service which is preferred by many Americans; it is Manilla.

Manilla focuses on paperless bill management. They intend to eliminate paper bills and to help migrate bill delivery and payment over to the online, paperless platform. Few companies have started online bill delivery and payment service. Manilla being one of them has been adopted by many Americans.

Manilla Bills Calendar

Manilla Bills Calendar

Migration of bill delivery and payment will take time as a few people still prefer paper bills which they receive by mail. However, even these people can use online payment services for payment and for storing their bills online. Perhaps with time, they will be used to e-bills and paper bills will be eliminated. They say that after having received so many bills, paying bills online or by mobile phone is often a separate transaction which is inconvenient.

Manilla addresses just that concern. With Manilla, anyone can sign up and have all their bills organized and stored in one place. Paid bills are kept in the archive to be accessed anytime and deleted as needed, and new bills are added when they are received by email. They also have a reminder feature which lets the user know when bills are due so that payment can be made on time. Reminders are received when they are due in order to avoid fines; they can be received by email or SMS as the user chooses and whenever the user logs in, all due bills are shown, apart from the dedicated reminders dashboard. Manilla also helps the user manage expenses and avoid overspending.

Bills can also be shared with family and friends in order to manage expenses together with shared account summaries and details. Nearly 3500 national and regional billers have already been added to the biller list. But if one does not find their biller they can always add custom accounts that Manilla doesn’t support, so much so that an account for babysitter, dog walker, etc. can be set up for payment. In addition to bill payment, Manilla is offering $5 for every referral users make.

Manilla has 4 types of accounts which can be accessed and managed from the online account manager. Household accounts for managing all household bill payments including phone, utility, internet, etc., Financial accounts for credit cards and other financial services, Subscriptions for magazines, newspapers, etc., and Loyalty Programs with various service providers. They have also partnered with AOL for the AOL Bill Manager.

Manilla mobile apps are available for download on Android, iOS and Kindle Fire. There is another company called Doxo which offers similar services. I have discussed about it in my previous post.

Jan 222014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Doxo, a US based online bill payment company aims at connecting service providers and the customers in order to make bill payment paper-free. This would enable companies to save a lot in printing and postage.

Doxo has software which they call digital filing cabinet, which enables the users to manage their bills in one place, in one cabinet. As the world goes mobile, bill payment is also finding its place therein, leading to convenience and ease. Doxo first launched their iOS app when it began in 2011 and they launched their Android app in 2012.

Doxo Bill PaymentThe service which enables receipt and payment of bills with one account and password from a mobile app is called doxoPAY. Instead of logging on to different websites for paying bills for different service providers, having to remember the credentials for each of these websites, one account can help enable the users to manage their bills from their digital filing cabinet and to pay their bills.

Since they began, they have been working on to expand the list of supported service providers. To date, they have added nearly 30000 companies to the list. This includes public utilities, phone carriers, insurance, internet, etc. Typically, bill payment involves receipt of the bill, reading it and then making the payment. Doxo’s bill payment solution has the pay option embedded in the bill itself.

Bills can be uploaded to the digital cabinet for storing them, by taking their snaps and can be backed up to cloud storage providers like Dropbox and Google Drive. Unlimited amount of documents can be received from service providers, while there is a limitation of 500MB per month for uploads. The app can also be used for organizing email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL. Doxo also offers services to businesses which would enable them to provide a digital filing cabinet to their customers.

Total users of Doxo exceed 1 million across US and they expect 50% visits via mobile phones in 2014. Doxo is new in the market and has a long way to go. With more service providers added, usage will also increase and due to the convenience of the customers and cost savings, companies may also get added to Doxo’s list of supported service providers, which will ensure further improvements and growth.

Jan 192014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

The market leader in international money transfer also offers a bill payment service. It was known for speedy money transfers, but they also offer bill payment services. It is Western Union Money Transfer. They offer speedy bill payment service and provide several payment options for convenience of the users.

They provide three options for their customers to pay bills. Customers can either pay online with a credit card or a debit card, they can pay bills in person at any of the agent locations or they can pay by phone.

Western Union Bill PayUsers based in the US can use their US bank issued debit/credit cards for paying bills online. They can pay for their credit cards, car, rent, utilities and much more. For paying bills online, one has to register with WU for an account and then choose the biller for paying through a bank card. A MTCN is then generated and confirmation and proof of payment are received by email in minutes. It should be noted that credit card payments lead to extra charges towards cash advance, charged to the credit card issuer. International payment option is also available for payments in any of the 140+ currencies WU accepts. A user is authenticated and verified before he/she is allowed to pay online. Upon approval, the user can use online foreign exchange service (Online FX) provided by WU. But here, the receiver’s bank account details are required to be provided.

For payments in person, the payer has to walk in to any of the Western Union agent locations, fill the form (Pay a Bill section of the form), and hand over the bill payment and applicable transaction fee to the agent. Payment can also be made with US bank issued PIN-based debit cards at select locations.

For payments by phone, the users have to call 1-800-634-3422 from their home phone and follow the instructions. Pay phones cannot be used, home phones are necessary for verification purpose. For payment, biller’s account number and destination code are needed, which can be obtained from the company to be paid.

Western Union also has a mobile based service called Western Union Speedpay for bill payment. Billers can send electronic bills to customers directly on their smartphones or tablets and the customers can pay these bills on their mobile devices with a single click. E-Bills are sent as encrypted attachments on email-capable mobile devices or tablets. This service is available for Android, Blackberry and iOS.

Western Union expanded into bill payments and mobile apps, in order to get the best out of technology and innovations and serve their customers better, in order to stay on top in the competition.

Jan 162014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Financial Software and Systems (FSS), a leading global payments solutions company offers various financial products in the areas of electronic payment and financial transaction processing. The company is headquartered in India and has operations in Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Singapore and the United States of America.

Over 100 companies in the world use FSS products and services. In India, 30 banks use their products for processing millions of transactions every day. One of their products is called “FSS Bill Pay”, which is a comprehensive multi-channel bill payment solution. Payments are accepted online, on just entering the bill details without having to present the bill as the bill dues and other details are fetched from the service providers. They provide a fast and secure way for bill payment over ATMs, kiosks, mobile and internet payment gateway channels.

FSS MobileFSS offers their payment platform to financial institutions including banks and they also have a revenue sharing scheme. They also ensure better returns to the institutions.

FSS also has a mobile payment solution which enables bill payment from a mobile phone. They say that this service works everywhere. Anywhere a person goes in the world, payments can be made through it. All one needs to do is register their phone for FSS Mobile Pay and take their phone anywhere they go, globally. Payments happen instantly for user-convenience and to match the customer demands. So, this acts as a mobile wallet with which you can pay anyone located anywhere. Of course, there is a charge for each payment you make.

FSS Mobile Pay allows users to make payments, track their payments, get notifications, and it also keeps the transaction secure, easy, convenient and affordable. They also have the capability to integrate large businesses into their scope and range. A user can register through mobile phones, ATMs, phone banking, online or by visiting a branch for their financial institution.

FSS does not offer stand-alone apps or products to end users. They offer products and services to financial institutions who offer them to their customers; the institution’s payment solutions are powered by FSS.

Jan 092014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Isn’t it a good idea to have a payment account valid in 173 countries in 47 currencies? Pay for a deal, pay for shopping, pay your staff, whatever. This is possible with a service already available in the market.

EcoPayz, one of the most established payment solutions in the world has two products called ecoAccount and ecoCard, which enable instant payments across the globe in 173 countries in 47 currencies. “Eco” stands for economical and environmental/ecological and “Payz” stands for their specialization in making/accepting payments.

ecoPayzEcoCard is a special payment card which works without a bank account or a check. It is managed through the ecoPayz account. The card can be loaded anytime from the online account and used anywhere in the world, where MasterCard is accepted. A user can get 3 ecoCards on one account, one in $ (USD), one in £ (GBP) and one in € (EUR).For online shopping, they also have a one-use virtual ecoCard, which can be obtained for the transaction and expires after the transaction is complete. This is also available for phone-based payments.

Users of ecoAccount can make payments to businesses and individuals, businesses can pay salaries to their employees and can also pay to other businesses as required. Additionally, ecoAccount enables businesses to assign expense accounts and payment cards to staff at no extra cost, with real time allocation, expense tracking and monitoring. This saves the companies’ time and cost and also enables the employees to instantly access funds necessary for business expenses.

EcoAccount is available for businesses as well as individuals. Individuals, apart from shopping with ecoCards and ecoAccount, can also send and withdraw money from their ecoAccount.

The ecoAccount is of two types for businesses:

  1. ecoPayz Business Account
  2. ecoPayz Merchant Account

Merchants can offer ecoPayz as a way for customers to pay when they check out after having completed their shopping. In other words, merchants can accept payments globally with ecoPayz Merchant Account. It also offers marketing tools and fraud and security tools including “customer due diligence”.

So, ecoPayz is available to anyone among individuals or businesses, with a lot of flexibility to use the accounts and cards and do a lot more than just make or accept a payment.

Jan 072014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

There are several apps in the market for bill payment on mobile phones. In this article, I will discuss about a product called Evolve Money, which gives you the option to pay online or from their mobile app.

Evolve Money offers free bill payment and same day bill payment for $1.50. This service does not necessitate a user to have a bank account or a credit/debit card; instead cash has to be added to the Evolve Money account using reload packs or prepaid cards called RELoadit and Evolve Pay Bucks PINs. These packs can be purchased at many leading retail locations for a price between $3.00 and $3.95. If a user does not want to have an account with Evolve Money, he/she can make a payment using debit/credit cards as a guest.

Evolve MoneyEvolve Money is considered as a fast, affordable and secure way to pay bills form one place and an alternative to bank bill payment services. The number of options it has makes it a flexible solution and the ability to add cash to the account makes the transactions even faster compared to credit/debit cards and bank accounts.

This service accepts over 10000 bills including bills for utilities, wireless, cable, insurance, mortgage, etc.; paid all at once or one at a time, as the user wants to. Of course, the bills have to be saved first, in order to make at-a-time payments for succeeding periods. All bills are paid free of charge, but if one wants to make same day payment in order to avoid expensive late fees, a nominal $1.50 is charged; otherwise, a bill is paid in 2-3 days. When the payment is delivered, the payer is notified.

To use this service, all one needs is a username and a password for logging into Evolve Money app/website. The money is safe as Evolve Money is protected by bank-level security. The Evolve Money website is accessible from all mobile phones and computers and the Evolve Money app is available for Android, iOS and Widows Phone platforms.

Jan 012014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

In my last article I wrote about Mobile Photo Bill Bay, launched by Mitek Systems. There is another company which says “tell your bills to say cheese”. It is Allied Payment Network, which launched an app called PicturePayto pay bills in seconds.

The technology is similar, so how could both of these companies work in the same market with the same technology without patenting it? I found that the photo bill pay technology has been patented by Mitek Systems and the app PicturePayis powered by Mitek.

PicturePay(TM)

Allied Payment Network has allied with Malauzai Software for the SmartApp, on which this service runs. Coupled with Allied Payment Network’s advanced payments processing capabilities, PicturePaydoes a great job in helping pay bills in seconds. All one has to do is point to the bill, click a picture, enter the amount and pay. This service is available for direct customers, as well as financial institutions including banks and credit unions, who can adopt this app into their financial framework.

Allied Payment Network is doing all it can for the success of this product and it has received tremendous response. It has partnered with ACI Worldwide, a leading international provider of electronic bill payment and banking systems, to offer same-day bill payment service. Payments on PicturePaytypically take 1-3 days after submission, but with the introduction of same-day bill payment, it can be done on the same day; of course, at a premium. Customers whose bills are due and they want to avoid fines can use this service. For those who can wait a day can opt for next-day bill payment service.

Allied Payment Network announced that PicturePayis available to any financial institution as a standalone app. According to a press release, there has been a 17% month over month increase in PicturePay end users and 13% monthly growth in the number of bills processed by PicturePay. Allied Payment Network also announced a reseller partnership with Access Softek, which will ensure introduction of PicturePay to more than 350 banks and credit unions across the US. 15 financial institutions have already adopted PicturePay including Texas-based First Financial Bank, which is first in the list.

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