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.

Nov 192014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

In India, online bill pay still has a long way to go; not many people use the service, they either visit the service provider directly or visit a place where they can pay all bills. In few cities in India, there are citizen service centers, which accept all utility bills and few other bills as well. For example, in Bangalore, there is Bangalore One, a one-stop bill pay location for all household bills.

There are few similar organizations that enable bill payments at their premises, but online payment is very rare in the Indian society. Perhaps they will take time to adopt the electronic payment option or they haven’t managed to trust the electronic security.

OxigenAmong a very few online bill pay services is Oxicash (Oxigen Bill Pay), that is trying to revolutionize payments in India. They have an e-wallet product that enables money transfer as well. With Oxicash, users can pay many bills online. They use BillDesk’s framework to make this happen; they have a page of their own on BillDesk’s domain.

Bill payments include utility bills, fixed line and mobile bills, subscriptions and donations. The bill pay page can be accessed here. Donations are accepted for major NGOs including CRY, SAVE, PETA, Childline, WISE and Cancer Patients’ Association. Subscription payments are available for Reader’s Digest and India Today, while Insurance Premiums are accepted for ICICI PruLife and PNB Metlife.

Utility payments include electricity, gas and telephone bills and has very limited list of billers including Reliance Energy, BSES (Delhi), Mahanagar Gas (Mumbai), Airtel, MTNL, etc.

This facility is available, however, only to Oxigen Wallet users; a new wallet account can be opened from here. Immediate bill payments or same day payments are not supported; time taken is between 3 and 4 business days, so the payment should be scheduled accordingly.

Oct 202014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

With the advancement of technology in the bill payment space, developing nations have begun joining the race in the introduction of bill payment technology. India is a developing country, where this is true. The central bank of India, RBI (reserve Bank of India) has plans to centralize bill pay solutions.

The payment process in bill pay would be instituted through a Government Internal Revenue Order (GIRO) based system and all the bills would be payable online. The bills include utility bills, academic fees, insurance premiums and all types of bills. And the payment is made directly to the billers. Typically, users need to either make individual accounts for different billers or set up various methods of payment. Here, one account is all it takes to complete the payment to all the relevant billers.

People Waiting in a Queue to Pay BillsThis makes the process easy and convenient for the billers, as well as the users, reducing the number of accounts they have to manage. To make this project true, RBI is setting up Bharat Bill Payment Services, a nonprofit organization that would list all the billers in one place and enable users to pay all the bills from anywhere in the country. This way, the said entity would have connectivity to all the billers in the country. For the fact that it is an initiative of the central bank of the country, this becomes easier.

Bills can either be paid online or by visiting one of the operating units established under Bharat Bill Payment Services. One aim of the establishment of this service is paperless and hassle-free billing solutions.

It is expected that this service will make the lives of Indians convenient and the use of paper will also reduce, where bills are concerned. This is even truer due to the involvement of the central bank. Apart from avoiding long queues, users can manage their bills from one place. RBI is aiming to create a single window for payment of all bills.

Sep 182014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

When people travel overseas to work and make money in order to support their families, they are often unaware of bills their families bear. Bill payment is usually a local issue and most solutions are designed to let users pay their bills locally or in many cases, nationally as well. International bill pay is a rare service which not all service providers offer.

Money Move IT is a New Zealand based company that offers just that. Along with international money transfer services, they also offer bill payment service to the senders based in many countries, not just New Zealand. I wrote about their money transfer service, now let us have a look at their bill pay service in this post.

Money Move ITIf the sender knows the bank details of the biller in home country, they can pay the bills just like making a regular transfer. But in case the details are not known, then the biller needs to be pre-registered with Money Move IT to receive international funds towards local services. Senders just need to search for the company name and select an appropriate one, before providing the customer account number and sending enough money to cover the bills.

Currently, companies that pre-register with Money Move IT include utilities and schools, but they will be expanding this network soon. The senders can also request the company to sign up to receive the payments by directly contacting them using the ’Tell a Friend’ form or by providing their details to Money Move IT using the contact us form.

With this, senders can support their families better by paying their bills electronically and freeing them from the task of having their bills paid. In addition, automatic payments can also be setup for such bill payment. To use this service, one has to sign up for an account with Money Move IT, which enables them to send and receive money.

Sep 162014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

There are many bill payment services that offer same day service as well, along with the usual bill pay that takes between 2 and 5 days. Same day bill pay is an add-on service offered by the service providers including banks and other organizations. Let’s now talk about an organization that specializes in same day payments.

MUFG Union Bank, a full service bank with branches all over the US offers same day payment service and specializes in it. In fact, the website to access this service is www.samedaypay.com/samedaypay. The service is powered by BankServ, an expert in electronic payments; they offer various solutions that automate payments.

SameDayPayWith this service, payment can be sent to the biller on the same day, provided the payment is initiated by 2:00 PM Pacific Time. Transactions are completed using ACH transfers and not using checks. Most supported billers accept echecks and credit card payments, and echeck payments can be made using any checking or savings account. Credit cards supported include AMEX, Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

Most billers receive the payment within 24 hours of the initiation of the transaction, and the payer receives a confirmation, but it may take up to 48 hours for their account to be debited. A bill can be scheduled up to 30 days in advance if the user is paying with echecks, and such payments can be cancelled at any time before 4:00 PM Pacific Time of the scheduled payment date.

The service is great because it is designed for payments being made at the last minute on or near the due date. Some billers may charge for the service, but SameDayPay does not charge any fee, except in case of a returned payment. This demo can be accessed to learn more about how the service works. Users can register online to start paying bills and have the payment delivered on the same day.

I could not find information on the supported billers, so the users are advised to register only after having enquired enough about the same.

Aug 282014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Electronic billing is becoming so common that it may totally replace paper bills in the future and customers may receive electronic versions of their bills on their electronic mail. The latter is happening in our times, but the former has not been stopped yet, perhaps due to adaptability issues.

Due to the rise in such services, companies have come up with solutions for other businesses to offer electronic bill presentment to their customers, allowing them to pay online, without having to even leave their homes. CenPOS is one such company that offers an EBPP solution (Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment) for businesses that issue bills to their customers.

EBPPThis is coupled with recurring billing solutions to allow the business to charge the customer periodically and automatically. The solution is aimed at going paperless and saving costs on printing and postage. It also reduces processing time and ensures customer loyalty due to the facility provided. Businesses can also add discounts to bills and add expiry dates to invoices.

SMS alerts can also be registered for being informed about the status of payment. These are coupled with high security and robust reporting tools to help the business analyze and take decisions. This solution works seamlessly with other CenPOS solutions.

Customers can enjoy the fast, reliable and secure bill payment service that is easy to use. They don’t need to login or register to make the payment, because it is frictionless. They can pay using a debit card, credit card or ACH or even tokenization and get notified with confirmation by SMS. They can also review bills across all CenPOS merchants in one place, saving them time and making it easier to track bills and manage finances. With recurring billing, businesses can also offer instalment schemes without any difficulty.

To get details on implementation and setup, businesses can contact CenPOS by email or they can call them at 1877 630 7960.

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 022014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Paying bills on time is something most people are cautious about, due to the late fees applicable if due dates are missed. They carefully save money for due bills in order to avoid running out of budget. What if some money could be saved and in fact, returned to us for using a particular bill payment service? The famous card company, Discover has a bill payment service with 1% cash back offer.

While paying the bills, if some amount can be saved, it is a good option. Supposing the bills paid amount to $2000 in the year, the cash back bonus will be $20. More, Motiva and Open Road card members earn 0.25% cash back Bonus on the first $3000 paid and 1% for amount after $3000.

DiscoverThe cash back bonus can be redeemed for cash as direct deposit into a bank account of choice or as credit in the Discover credit card account. The bonus can also be used to pay online, credited to partner gift cards or discover gift cards or donated to charitable organizations.

Discover supports many billers in many industries including insurance, cable/satellite TV, security, internet and wireless. They also provide contact details for each biller, in case customers need to contact them for any reason. For paying a bill, customers need the paper bill or e-bill and the Discover card. The biller has to be searched for and selected and automatic bill payments registered online or by phone with the billers.

Bills can also be paid manually by logging into the Account Center. Unregistered users should first register for starting to pay bills with Discover. Up to two online payments are allowed using different bank accounts. The maximum number of bank accounts that can be connected with Discover is 9.

The interesting part of Discover is that even if one pays the bill on the due date, before 5 PM Eastern Time, the payment is delivered on the same day. But late fees may be applicable in case the payment was made after the time. For those who do not want to opt for same day payments, scheduling has to be done in advance to avoid missing the due date; this is to avoid delays on part of other parties involved in the process, such as banks.

The bill pay service is free of cost for all Discover card holders. Apart from online payments, customers can opt to pay from Western Union and few other retail outlets, or pay by check by sending the check to Discover. Online transactions with Discover are safe, as the users are protected with the $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee.

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.

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