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.
The 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.