Dec 082014
 

Smartphones have become powerful devices that enable users to do more and more with them. Each day, new abilities are heard of and each day, expectations of the users increase. In the bill payments space, a strong player can make use of this opportunity and grab the market. TIO MobilePay is striving to make this true with the launch of their mobile bill pay app.

The app is available on Android and iOS devices and has a simple and easy to use interface. It is a one-of-its-kind app in the United States that allows users to make expedited, same day and last minute payments using credit cards to thousands of billers. According to them, users can pay any bill with this app at affordable rates.

TIO MobilePayReminders can be set up, which prompt the app to send reminder emails, right on the phone. The app has bank level security and is bank independent. It has personal finance management tools as well. Over 6000 billers across the US are supported, which covers most billers in the country. Unlimited number of billers can be added and multiple bills can be paid with the app.

It is so easy to pay a bill with TIO MobilePay; it is a 3 step process, which involves selecting a bill, entering the amount and verifying/finalizing the payment. At present, payment methods supported are Visa and MasterCard debit/credit cards. There are plans to include PayPal, direct debit and many more methods. Bills paid are processed in real time and information is stored securely.

Payment history is stored in the app, as well as in the user’s email, helping them manage their money efficiently. Prices are between $2.99 and $3.99 for regular payments, that take anywhere between 1 and 4 business days to complete. For same day payments, prices are between $5.99 and $6.99. Users who want to try this service can download the app from Google Play or iPhone App Store.

Aug 232014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Mobile money operator, Telenor, which runs the mobile money transfer and service called Easypaisa also offers bill payment through the same product. It is a hassle free and secure way to pay all utility bills including electricity, gas, telephone, water, and internet bills. Bills can be paid at any of the Easypaisa shops, Telenor Sales & Service Centers, Tameer Microfinance Bank Branches, Telenor Franchises and others.

Users can pay at any time and from anywhere and complete security is guaranteed. The network of supported payment locations enables the users to pay from anywhere. Easypaisa is available 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, so they are easily accessible.

EasypaisaAll transactions happen in the real time and instant notification is sent to the user on payment of a bill. The service supports around 25 utility billers across Pakistan and more billers will hopefully be added with time. No additional charges are applicable for paying bills through Easypaisa shops. However, paying bills from the Easypaisa Mobile Account has a fee applicable.

The system is automated and secure, coupled with automatic and instant payment. Anyone can pay a bill by visiting an Easypaisa outlet, but payment from an Easypaisa Mobile Account is only allowed for the subscribers.

In order to pay a bill at an Easypaisa outlet, users need to bring the bill and the amount in cash at the outlet on any working day between 9 AM and 5 PM, provide their mobile number for notifications and collect the stamped bill which carries the transaction ID and the agent ID. With Easypaisa Mobile Account, users can pay bills on the go, at any time and from anywhere.

To pay a bill using a mobile phone, Easypaisa Mobile Account subscribers need to dial *786# and select “Pay Bill” before selecting the bill category and the biller. The customer number printed on the bill has to be entered then, to get the bill details. In order to confirm, the PIN has to be entered and the payment is released. An SMS is immediately received with the confirmation, amount, fee charged and the Easypaisa Account balance.

The service is good for avoiding queues and enabling on the go payments, but a lot can be done to improve and innovate in this area.

Feb 052014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Bill payment has become very easy with the introduction of mobile payment systems. Many companies launched apps for smartphones, which enable bill payment and management right from the mobile device or tablet. Mobilligy, a mobile app for various platforms offers services ranging from bill management, reminders to paying the bills.

The app is available for Android, iOS, Windows and Kindle Fire. The service is available for free at no monthly charge. One can make payments and control bills from anywhere with payment options such as debit cards, credit cards and bank accounts. The process of bill payment once a biller is setup and a payment option is linked is so simple that it just takes a swipe and the payment happens.

Mobilligy Bill PayMobilligy’s interface shows which bills are due in the coming days and reminds the user before the due date, helping them avoid late fines. The app also has a bill calendar which shows upcoming bills. Automatic payment can also be setup for payment through the app. You can add your credit card, utility, auto loans, mortgage, etc. to the app and setup monthly payments. All you have to do is download the Mobilligy app and add all the billers. All due bills and recent payments made are found by Mobilligy and added to the app, users can then make payments. New billers would be added if a significant number of users demand for it.

With Mobilligy app, you can view upcoming bills, view notifications, view and add billers, view and setup payment accounts, view reminders, invite friends to use Mobilligy and read news from Mobilligy. The app can also be PIN protected to avoid unauthorized use. Mobilligy can be used from more than one devices and the app allows management of devices used to access the service.

So, with Mobilligy Bill Pay, you will never miss a payment and will avoid paying late fees at no extra cost. And according to them, the app has bank level security which is much better than other bill payment apps.

The app is good and secure, free and convenient but the downside is that it is that the app’s interface is less user-friendly which needs some attention from the developers.

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 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.

Dec 212013
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Mitek Systems in association with US Bank has come up with an innovative way of paying bills. In this, the account holder can add a payee to their account and make payments directly from their phone; and all of this by taking a picture of the paper bill or statement.

All an account holder has to do is open the app on phone and take the picture of the bill. A list is displayed to select the correct payee from. After the payee has been added, payment can be made for the bill in question and recurring payment can also be setup for a particular payee. In other words, bill payment can be setup by merely one snap of the paper bill. Of course, one requires a camera-enabled smartphone or tablet for using this service. This app also corrects image distortion automatically, reads relevant data and auto populates all needed information.

Mobile Photo Bill Pay: Image Courtesy - US Bank

According to the forecast reported by US Bancorp, Mobile Photo Bill Pay will reach 33% adoption among US consumers by 2018, resulting in migration of 1.4 billion bills to mobile channel.

Forrester Research reports that it takes less than150 seconds to setup a payee and pay the bill. Forrester Research also suggests that this service will help banks gain loyal customers as they will avoid switching banks, because they will not have a reason to do so with this innovative service and they wouldn’t want to go through the hassle of unwinding online bill pay and establish payees all over again with another bank. So here, customers get a convenient way to enrol a payee while the bank gets more and more digital bill payers.

This app can be used for adding a new payee, setting up recurring bill payments, one-time non-recurring bill payments and for making expedited bill payments. This eliminates the need for manually entering data, drawing checks, or logging on to a computer.

This is an innovative and convenient service which saves a lot of time from the customers’ viewpoint. There have been apps in the past to scan papers and images with a mobile phone and extract text in order to copy and paste it elsewhere as required. There have also been barcode scanning apps for a long time. This app from Mitek – Mobile Photo Bill Pay runs on similar technology which extracts text from paper bills and scans for relevant information. But the difference is that all the fields are auto-populated on the app without having to manually copy or paste and the data is secure. So, this makes this app more convenient and user friendly. All the user has to do is review the populated information and approve it, in order to go ahead with the payment which is done within minutes.

According to The Financial Brand, Mobile Photo Bill Pay was initially piloted at US Bank, but Mitek is in discussion with several other banks for adoption of this app into their process. As Forrester Research suggest, this is both a next generation mobile banking feature, as well as a step forward in banks’ efforts to enhance digital banking experience.

Dec 162013
 

Have you heard about free mobile credit? Recharging your mobile phone has become easy with online payments using your bank accounts or your credit/debit cards. But what if you shopped online and earned points from these transactions, to be used for sending credit to your phone? And what if you paid for the recharge and were given discount of an equivalent amount while shopping elsewhere?

All of this is possible and in fact, has been implemented by some companies. One of them provides points for shopping through them and another provides discount coupons for retail outlets or fast food joints and much more.

The first one is RewardBase, which operates in over 120 countries. They have tied up with various websites and provide points for specific tasks including online shopping through their website. Then these points can be used for sending credit to mobile phones without having to pay for it. You complete some tasks through www.rewardbase.com and get Reward Points (RP) to recharge your mobile phone with.

Mobile Recharge

So how do they make money? It is by the referrals they make. They refer the customer to the available offers with their clients. This may include shopping, playing a game, taking part in contests or surveys, watching videos, etc. And in the end, you get free credit to your phone. As they claim on their website: “RewardBase thinks mobile recharge should be free. You complete simple member tasks and we reward you with Reward Points which you can trade for free recharge credit”

There is another interesting company which is not like RewardBase which operates in so many countries, but I like their idea. It is FreeCharge.com owned by an Indian company called Accelyst Solutions Pvt. Ltd. It operates only in India and is growing. They provide an instant credit after payment for the recharge amount with a debit/credit card. Before the payment, the customer is asked to choose discount coupons for an equivalent amount from among the list displayed, consisting of coupons for retail outlets, eating joints, etc. They do charge a nominal, rather quite insignificant amount for delivery of the coupons to the customer’s postal address.

Along with this, they have tied up with various companies who provide promotional codes on purchase of their products, which can be used during payment on www.freecharge.com for additional discounts. So they all make money from each other.

Perhaps they are inspired by the work of Chris Anderson called “Free” in which, he discusses how everything can be free.

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