Oct 182014

By Mohammed Waseem

In my last post about bill pay service offered by IndusInd Bank of India, I had mentioned that they have partnered with BillDesk to offer bill pay service through online banking system. They offer solutions for businesses to offer a comprehensive bill presentment, payment and management solutions. But that is only one of the solutions they offer.

They offer bill pay solutions to individuals as well. Anyone in India can register for the service and they can start using it. This is the link to begin the registration process. Their website is a simple one, but is secure and convenient to use. They support many billers in 23 major Indian cities. They define billers as those companies that issue ebills and accept payments online.

BillDeskApart from these, there are payees, which are defined by them as those companies that do not issue ebills, but accept payments through BillDesk. An example for the latter is insurance premium payment. The biller list and the payee list can be referred to, to find out which of the companies are supported and which of the companies issue bills online.

To use the service, one has to login and add the required billers to pay the bills to. Once billers and payees have been added, payment instructions have to be provided, after which the bill is processed and the payer receives a confirmation. To try the service and know better, how things work, readers are advised to access this demo.

The benefits that BillDesk promises to offer include convenience, flexibility, effective tracking and savings in terms of time and money. Interestingly, the service is available free of cost for individuals. They make money from bill presentment and bill management solutions offered to businesses.

Sep 052014

By Mohammed Waseem

In Australia, most people use a bill payment solution called BPAY via financial institutions across the country. BPAY offers fast, secure and convenient bill payments through over 157 Australian financial institutions including banks and credit unions covering over 90% of the market. They support over 44000 bills for 22000 billers and 22000 sub-billers and process over 30 million bills worth more than $23 billion, each week.

The company is owned fully by Cardlink services Ltd., which is jointly owned by ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation. 92% of the transactions are processed online or on mobile phones.

ebppWith BPAY, users can get all their bills delivered right to their online banking account or their mobile banking account. This can be opted in addition to the usual paper bills normally received. It ensures anytime access and on time payments, apart from better control. More than 2.1 million Australians already use BPAY to receive bills and statements online.

Once registered, users can pay bills securely from anywhere they have access to the banking services. To get started, they need to contact their financial institution and get connected. They need to find the biller code and the BPAY logo to continue payment. After this, they can login and make the payment or schedule it for a later date.

With a mobile banking app, users can pay a bill by just scanning a QR code with their mobile phones. This ensures reduced human error as information is auto-populated after successful scan. With BPAY, users can view bills, store them and pay them either immediately or at a later date.

BPAY is not available to use directly. Instead its offered through another company, so the interested users should contact their respective billers to start using the service.

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.

Mar 022014

By Mohammed Waseem

Financial corporations offering services which banks offer is not something new, but when they begin competing with the banks, that becomes interesting. Fidelity Investments, an American multinational financial corporation offers this interesting cash management service which can be used for savings, investments, etc.

One of the accounts available for customers is the Fidelity Cash Management Account. No fee is charged for maintaining this account, nor is there a minimum balance requirement. Account holders are also offered debit cards and other innovative services such as mobile check deposit. Users can scan and deposit checks using their iPhones, iPads or Android devices. Additionally, users can manage their cash from one secure place and access electronic fund transfers and automatic investments. Users can also create their own alerts with the Cash Manager tool.

Fidelity Cash Management AccountOne of the services available for this account is Bill Pay, which is a free online service which lets the users manage bills from anywhere and pay them on time.

The bill pay option is also available on mobile devices on the Fidelity Mobile apps, available for Android and iOS. The service allows the users to receive and pay electronic bills from the participating billers. One time payments can be made and automatic payment can also be setup for recurring bills. Reminders for due bills can also be setup in order to avoid missing the due date.

No fee is charged for using this service, because it is a part of other wider services, which are the Cash Management Account and the Brokerage Account. In order to use bill payment, users have to sign up for an account with Fidelity Investments at their website by choosing ‘Open an Account’ from the upper right hand corner of the page and then choosing the appropriate option. Signup process is just a few easy steps, after which Bill Pay service has to be added from the ‘Manage Account Features’ option within Customer Service page.

Bill Pay is also available for other Fidelity accounts such as the Health Saving Accounts to manage qualified medical expenses and the 529 College Savings Accounts to manage college savings and paying college or other tuition fees.

Feb 202014

By Mohammed Waseem

Many people consider it a pain to receive bills by mail and then pay each bill either over the counter or through their bank or on the websites of the service providers separately. In order to cater to this pain point, many companies introduced online bill pay for most service providers, all through one website. One company which offers a great bill management and payment service is PayTrust, which has been rated 10 on 10 in 2014 Bill Payment Services Comparison by TopTenReviews.

Payments for bills can be done on PayTrust website by signing up for an account. This service means that none of the users’ bills is sent to their mail. PayTrust completely eliminates paper bills, as all bills are received by PayTrust, scanned and displayed online in the user’s account. If the service PayTrust Bill Payproviders have electronic bill option, the e-bills are received directly on the PayTrust account. There is a monthly charge of $9.95 per month, after the first month of free usage. This charge is for 25 transactions every month, after which, every additional transaction is charged at $0.65, for which, receiving a bill and paying it are considered different transactions.

Bills can be paid manually, and automatic payment can be setup as well. Apart from this, payment for a bill can be made in full or in partial, as the user wants to. Up to 10 bank accounts can be added for paying through them. Payments cannot be made with credit cards.

If the service provider has not sent a bill or it has not been received by PayTrust, the user is notified. The user is also notified upon the arrival of a bill and when a bill becomes due. Amount is deducted from the user’s bank account, only when the payment is complete. The user is also sent a monthly summary of bills due and paid. Records are kept for 1 year for the users to refer to the bills whenever they want; this record is saved onto a CD and sent to the users for them to keep it safe and refer when the data has been deleted from their PayTrust account.

PayTrust is among the most trusted bill payment services for reasons such as its presence for over 10 years, great customer support, delivery of what is promised and the seriousness displayed concerning their customers.

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