May 292014

By Mohammed Waseem

It is critical for banks to offer secure and easy to use online banking service. These services include bill pay as well. They usually look for leading developers for developing their apps. There are many companies that offer good bill pay solutions for banks and financial institutions. Among them is Clear2Pay, which is a payment solution provider based in Belgium. They offer solutions to banks and financial institutions, including solutions for domestic and international payments.

Clear2Pay offers a good EBPP (Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment) solution for banks and other institutions looking to rapidly integrate their online banking system with EBPP services. They claim to offer their customer, control over their EBPP structure, significant cost savings and ownership of online customer interaction. The solution is designed to address the needs of the payer, the biller and the bank.

Clear2PayThe solution is compatible on different delivery channel interfaces including PC, mobile, ATM and Kiosk. The service can be used to pay anyone, including individuals. Multiple processing options are also supported. The payer can enroll for electronic bill presentment and manage payment options such as scheduling, setting up automatic payments, viewing history, review pending payments and access services on mobile phones. The biller can upload bills and send them to respective users. They can also view payment activity and generate reports.

The optimal bill pay route is decided based on a certain criteria such as cost, speed, method of presentment (electronic or paper bills), customer type, matching rules, etc. The routing solution was developed by Clear2Pay in the Open Payment Framework, which is a library of component building blocks from which payments solutions can be derived.

Clear2Pay has a number of clients already using their solution. These clients include Wells Fargo, Credit Agricole, United Arab Bank, Bank of East Asia, Commonwealth Bank, and Banco De Chile. The company considers itself to be a payments modernizer that actively supports financial institutions globally to meet their payments unification goals across the entire value chain.

May 242014

By Mohammed Waseem

Bill payment in Switzerland is still in its early stage. Online bill payment has a long way to go, having people to trust it. Swiss locals visit banks and post offices to get their bills paid. In this article, I will discuss different ways they use to pay bills.

Every bill in Switzerland comes with an orange slip (or red slip in some cases) that is meant to be presented while paying the bill. This is predominantly meant for face to face / over the counter bill pay. Swiss locals prefer to pay cash due to convenience and security concerns about technological innovations. There are however a few people who have switched to online bill pay and few others use ATMs to pay bills.

Orange Slip

Orange Slip

While paying a bill, the orange slip has to be presented at a bank’s or a post office’s counter. A part of the slip is returned to acknowledge the payment. This has to be preserved until the biller has confirmed that they have received the payment. This is because many people have complained that companies have been bringing up year old bills claiming that they have never been paid. Banks charge a fee for paying bills and post offices may pass the fee to the biller. Payment has to be in cash, bills cannot be paid by check in Switzerland.

Other than over the counter payments, Swiss bills can be paid online, by Snail Mail or through Multimat machines. Online payments maybe done through internet banking by visiting one of the banks’ websites and logging into the online banking site; online payments are free of charge. The reference number from the orange slip has to be entered for making the payment. Snail mail is the traditional method of sending receipts to banks which in turn pay the bills on behalf of the account holder from their account. Most banks also have Multimat machines that can be used to pay bills at the bank branches or at the ATMs. The slip has to be inserted into the machine after inserting the bank’s card. The slip is then displayed on the screen; payment has to be confirmed to complete the transaction.

Online payment can also be done using a mobile phone by scanning the reference number on the orange slip with a smartphone app provided by the bank. Alternatively, billers’ websites can also be visited for paying individual bills. Some banks also offer ‘direct debit’ option for few types of bills. Online bill pay is best is every part of the world, provided the same level of security exists. If banks succeed in making their customers trust online payment, this can improve bill payment in Switzerland dramatically.

May 222014

By Mohammed Waseem

Credit Unions in the US offer financial services to their members. They operate for the welfare of the members. The services they offer are of a large variety. A few of them also offer online bill payment services. Among them is Golden 1 Credit Union, that offers a good bill pay service to its members. It is based in California and is the 6th largest credit union in the US and 2nd largest in the state of California, with around 82 branches across the state.

Like what it is meant to do, Golden 1 works to offer best possible service to their members and also makes sure that the bill payment service works on par with or better than other similar services offered by other companies/organizations. They offer an easy, three-step procedure to pay a bill, which include choosing the bill, entering the information and entering the amount. With all of this, they aim to make things easy for the members.

Golden 1Members can pay any bill and make payments to anyone in the US at any time. This includes one-time payment, recurring payment and automatic payment. Alerts are sent for all due bills and users can receive ebills as well. History can be viewed for up to 2 years, which is quite good. In addition, anyone with a US address can be paid with this service; so all bills can be paid and managed from one place.

Another good feature they offer is money transfer in partnership with Popmoney, which is a part of Fiserv. I have written about this service here. Members can easily transfer money to/pay any person in the US with this service.

Golden 1 has services which make it similar to bill pay solutions offered by leading companies. In addition, they guarantee speedy delivery. Members can also access bill pay on mobile phones through the Golden 1 app and can view bills and pay them; they can also use Popmoney and can view history of bills paid.

Those who do not use the mobile app can still use the service on their phone by accessing the Golden 1 Mobile site. In addition, Text Banking is also supported. Members of Golden 1 have a very good option, which eliminates their need to look for any other bill pay service; but of course, the limitation is that it is available only to its the members.

May 122014

By Mohammed Waseem

Bank of America has been known for its part in leading innovations in the recent past. They also have their own bill pay service, which many users are quite satisfied with. This service is offered along with online banking for Bank of America customers.

Many users say that their service is highly user-friendly and they also have an excellent customer service team which addresses right issues at right time. Their feature which enables combination of personal and business bills and the ability to view all Bank of America accounts on one page is something which users like a lot. Some users also say that there is minimal need to contact customer service and when they are contacted, they come with a right solution.

Bank of America Bill Pay Screen

Bank of America Bill Pay Screen

However, some users are not happy with their service; they say that Wells Fargo’s Bill Pay service is much better. They say that the only good thing about it is that it is simple and easy to use. In addition, people also complained that adding a biller takes many days due to the approval system, which is not true in case of many bill pay services.

With this service, users can either pay a company or an individual in a few simple steps. Payments can be one time or recurring, which can be scheduled for delivery on a specified date. They however suggest that a payment should be scheduled at least 5 business days ahead of the due date in order to avoid contingencies. Users can also add accounts from other financial institutions to pay bills from; this is an amazing feature which is normally offered only with a few bill pay services from non banks.

Users can also receive bills online and they are notified when a bill arrives. Ebills can be requested to be received on online banking mailbox or any email address chosen by the user. These bills can also be printed for physical records. In addition, users can setup email alerts for due bills. There is no limit to the number of bills that can be paid and no fee is charged for using the service.

It seems to be a good service, though there are better services from third parties. Customers of Bank of America should try it before choosing a different service

May 092014

By Mohammed Waseem

Bangladesh is the country which has the highest density of population in the world. Bill Payment has traditionally been done by visiting the biller, which is true for most developing countries. Thanks to the advancement of technology, online bill payment has been introduced in Bangladesh for secure payment, any time and anywhere.

Load Bill, a website where the residents of Bangladesh can make online bill payment to utilities and other billers aims to make the lives of the residents easier by eliminating their visits to billers’ offices and by helping them manage their expenses. The website also supports online checkout where, a customer shopping online has to click on the “Load Bill” button to use the service.

Online Bill PayThey offer several methods of payment to ensure flexibility. They also offer features such as automatic payment, payment scheduling and periodic reports. They guarantee timely delivery of the payment and notify the user about the status of the payment. Users can also buy credit for their mobile phones on their website.

In order to reach remote places where internet can not reach, they have hired agents and work hard to add more agents. These agents help the residents have their bills paid from one place. More information can be obtained from their website; residents of Bangladesh can begin using their services by registering for an account.

May 062014

By Mohammed Waseem

UK based PaySwyft allows customers to pay bills in under one minute on their website. They work on paperless solutions to decrease the use of paper and contribute to the green environment. The paperless solution helps in reducing manpower, storage, paper and postage costs. In addition, it is highly efficient and cost-effective.

PaySwyft is an electronic bill presentment and payment provider that allows customers to view and pay bills at any time anywhere. Any company can use PaySwyft to issue bills or invoices to their customers and offers them a variety of payment options including cash, debit cards and credit cards. The solution is free to use for customers. Once a user registers, he/she can receive bills online, schedule payments, pay bills, pay by cash at over 22000 PayPoint outlets across the UK, setup alerts and reminders and store bills online to access them at anytime, anywhere.

PaySwyftAuto reminders help the users to avoid missing a payment, thus avoiding late fees. Companies may offer early payment discount or other offers to PaySwyft customers, which the users can benefit from. They also offer a service called Dynamic Debit, which includes recurring bill pay facility and setting automatic payment for amounts below a certain user-defined limit.

Any company can become a part of PaySwyft, present bills and invoices and accept payments by cash or cards. There is no setup costs involved; they have to pay as they go. Transaction fee for bill presentment is £0.25 – £0.50 and for payment processing, it is £0.06 – £0.36.

An amazing feature of PaySwyft is that if a user chooses not to register, he/she can still pay a bill. All the user has to do is go to the PaySwyft website, enter the bill details, choose payment method and confirm the payment. This service is called Instant Payment and can be used by anyone in the UK to pay a bill without registering on PaySwyft website. Users who want to register for an account can use this link to do so.

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