Aug 102016
 
EZ Pass lane

I live in the Central Valley of California now and we have no toll roads or bridges; but when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had to pay a toll every time I crossed the Bay Bridge or San Mateo Bridge. If you’re familiar with toll booths, sixteen U.S. states have several lanes where you can pay cash, and a few lanes where you can speed right through, paying with something called EZ Pass.

EZ Pass uses the same technology in all states where it operates. You sign up and they give you an RFID transponder that you keep in your car, ideally mounting it above the dash or inside the windshield. It comes preloaded with funds. You can buy it at various pharmacies and grocery stores. Then, when you pass through the toll booth in an EZ Pass lane, you don’t even have to slow down. The transponder sends a signal to the toll booth and the toll payment is deducted automatically from your account.

You can also link your credit card to your EZ Pass account so that when your account drops below a preset amount – typically $20 – it automatically gets replenished from your credit card.

Third Party Payment Services for EZ Pass

There are also online payments services and online bank accounts where you sign up, create an account, and can pay your EZ Pass tolls from there. In Maryland, for example, thousands of drivers use an online service called Doxo to pay their EZ Pass.

It’s important to be aware with such services that there can be a delay between the time you make the payment, and the time it goes through to EZ Pass. This delay can be as long as several days. If you go through the toll, then add money to pay for it through a third party service it will be too late, and you’ll get fined.

Then why use such services? Many people like them because they allow you to pay online (rather than going to a retail location) and to track all your bills in one place. Just be careful to have funds deposited at least a week in advance before trying to use these online bill pay services for EZ Pass tolls.

Aug 202014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

GreenPost, Your Digital Postman; how does the name sound? It is easy to guess that the phrase is for a company that works on paperless mail management, and in our context, paperless bill management. Such services are mostly found restricted to the US, because they were started there and the owners of the company wait for it to be established before it can be taken outside. So how long would it take to reach Asia in such a way? Very long!

Instead of waiting for that to happen, Asian citizens can use this service from Green Post to manage their bills online and pay them. The company focuses on paperless life and kn saving trees from being cut. The service is available in about 10 Asian countries including India, Singapore, Malaysia, the UAE and even Australia. The company has won several awards for their solutions and works hard to improve further.

GreenPostGreenPost automatically retrieves the bills and stores them in the free account created by the user, so that they can start setting alerts and making payments. Like other bill management services, this service, too helps the users track bills and avoid missing a due date, thus avoiding extra fees on delayed payments. They say that they store all bills in the archives, so no more forgetting, losing a bill or misplacing it. All solutions offered by the company can be accessed with a single login.

Green Post currently supports top billers in all of the supported countries. The list can be accessed here. All transactions happen on a secure network, so the users don’t have to worry about security of their data.

GreenPost mobile apps are available for iOS and Android phones for easy access from anywhere and at any time. They can be downloaded from the respective app stores.

The service is free for users while companies or billers are charged a small fee for presenting their bills and getting paid through GreenPost. This does not make much difference to them on cost, because the money used for printing bills can be used to avail this service. Due to its innovative and nature-friendly feature, it is like to be adopted by the people, if they get convinced about the security.

The service is available for payment processors as well. They can use GreenPost to offer bill pay solutions through their payment gateways.

 

Aug 092014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Managing bills is a task that most of us don’t like, considering the number of bills we get and the difficulty in preserving them. Storing them in a dedicated drawer is a good idea and prevents losing important bills. Whenever needed, a bill can be taken and paid. What if the key of the drawer was given to trusted person to collect our bills and place them in the drawer for us to use them whenever we want?

This concept has been taken online by a US based company, Finovera, which is an online bill management company. They do not support bill payment at present, but have said that they would launch it with the next versions of the solution. Users can store any bill or even personal documents safely online, with access anywhere in the world.

FinoveraFinovera allows US residents to download and access bills and store them in their account. This feature can be accessed anywhere in the world, but only US providers are supported. Non-US users can still use the service for offline bill management and they can also use the Digital File Cabinet, where they can store their documents.

Both online and offline users can track their bills and setup alerts for due bills, in order to avoid missing a due date. For every biller or provider added, Finovera asks for the user account credentials with the concerned provider, to securely connect and retrieve bills and statements. The credentials can be saved in the users’ Finovera accounts to enable auto login and to avoid entering the passwords repeatedly.

Finovera supports thousands of providers and works hard to add more to the list. So in case users don’t find their providers, they can request for support. Most providers continue to send paper bills after signing up for the ebills, except those that require paper bills to be stopped before switching over to ebills and if paper bills were voluntarily asked to be stopped. In addition to bill management, users can also manage their money with Finovera.

The most important point of concern here is the security of the Finovera account. The fact that all the credentials are saved in this account makes it even more worrisome. But Finovera makes it clear that their systems are protected with bank level security and the accounts of the users are safe with them. They also advise that users should never share their passwords with anyone and should not use Finovera from a public computer.

Finovera can also be used on a smartphone and a tablet. Currently, they only have an iOS app, but they will be launching their Android app by the end of 2014. The ability to link accounts instantly and the fact that the service is absolutely free are just great. Users who are interested can sign up from here.

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