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.

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.

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.

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.

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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