Oct 182014

By Mohammed Waseem

Residents of India have many options to pay bills on time. Most of them resort to visiting one-stop bill pay destinations to pay their bills. Here, they again have to wait it queues at wait for their turns. The load is however reduced by the number of clerks processing the bills. Recently, new solutions have been introduced to make bill pay easier and convenient.

Online bill pay has been introduced by banks to enable account holders to pay bills conveniently. We will discuss the best of them which are preferred by Indians. IndusInd Bank is among the leading banks in the country and has tied up with billers in major cities to process their bills for their customers, who happen to be account holders at the bank.

IndusNetUsers can pay most bills including telephone, electricity, mobile phone, television and others. Presently, billers in 23 cities in India are supported. All supported billers, by name, can be accessed here. The service is available for free for IndusNet users, which is the online banking service offered by the bank. For on-time payments, users must schedule them at least 2 days before the due date.

IndusInd Bank is offering this service in association with Bill Desk, about which, we will discuss in the next article. Like any other bill pay service offered by banks, this service also requires that the users be their customers. They just add a feature to their already existing online banking service, to enable customers to pay bills and make their lives easier.

Users can register for an IndusNet Account by using the links here; they can also access the online demo to know more about IndusNet.

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.

Mar 052014

By Mohammed Waseem

We know many bill pay services offered by banks and other leading companies. The tech giant Microsoft also has a bill pay service under the brand name MSN. It is not directly offered by them, but by CheckFree Services Corporation which lets users to pay through MSN Money and thus, the service is called MSN Bill Pay.

Users can pay anyone in the United States that they would normally pay by check or automatic debit, even if they do not receive bills from the payee. MSN Bill Pay allows receipt of some bills online and payment can be made for all bills. The bills can be viewed online at the Payment Center, which is where bills are paid from. Automatic payments can be setup for recurring bills and one time payments can also be made.

MSN Bill PayUsers can review bills for a period of 24 months and can also transfer money from one payment account to another. Payment accounts include checking account and money market account. Savings account can be used for transfers if the option is available. A user can use multiple accounts for paying bills.

In order to pay, users need to add payees, after which the bills for those payees are added to the account. Users can pay as many as 30 bills at the same time from the Payment Center. Notifications can be setup for bills due, in order to avoid missing a due date. On entering the amount, an earlier date biller receives the payment is displayed, which can be changed to schedule a payment at a later date and for some billers, expedited payment is also supported for overnight check delivery.

Their website does not have the fee details for the service, but it is not a free service like many others. However, I found that they charge $5.95 per 15 transactions and $0.50 for every additional transaction or $2.95 per 5 transactions a month and $1.50 for every additional transaction.

They rank 2nd in the top ten reviews with a rating of 9.43 on 10. According to them, MSN Bill Pay is very versatile and is a good way to make sure all your bills are paid on time.

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 252014

By Mohammed Waseem

With more and more companies coming up with bill payment services, Americans have a wide range of options to choose from. In order to have the competitive advantage, every company tries to do things differently or innovates. One of the options Americans have for bill payment is Quicken Bill Pay, which is an online bill pay service that works with Quicken Personal Finance Software (a desktop software for personal finance management), although the service can work independent of the software. The bill payment services they offer are provided by Metavante Payment Services.

With Quicken, users can receive, view and pay bills online. They can receive email notifications when the bills arrive, view the bills with complete details and pay the bills. The payment details are automatically transferred to the user’s Quicken personal finance software if they use one.

Quicken Bill PayAutomatic payment can also be setup for bills such as utilities, even up to one year in advance. They charge a monthly fee of $9.95 per month, after 1 free month. They guarantee that bills will be paid on time, failing which, they would offer $50 for each bill paid late. Payments can be made from up to 10 different bank accounts. The fee includes 20 payments per month, after which, $2.49 is charged for each additional 5 payments.

Quicken Bill Pay does not have the feature which notifies the user for upcoming bills, so it is upon them to keep checking periodically in order to avoid missing a due date. In order to pay bills, a user has to create an account with Quicken, login to the online account, add a payee, and schedule a payment up to one year in advance and setup automatic payments for applicable bills. Other than this, users can also transfer money to anyone in the US at any time.

Users can pay the bills either from within the Quicken personal finance software or online on their website. Many payments can be scheduled in as few as 2 business days, which gives the users greater flexibility in paying their bills. Though 10 accounts can be used to make payment from, it may be difficult to keep track of the money.

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.

Feb 092014

By Mohammed Waseem

Residents of Canada now have a service which will make their life easier. And this time, it is not a random company, but a corporation which has a strong network and great customer service; it is Canada Post Corporation which is offering a bill management and payment service: epost.

For those individuals who like to keep moving along with the technology and want to make their lives simpler, save a lot of time and effort, Canada Post Corporation launched the epost service, which is meant to be a free digital mailbox for receiving and storing bills online instead of receiving paper bills at home by mail.

electronic postThe service presently supports over 100 billers/mailers including utility services, cable, phone, rent, taxes and much more. The service has over 7.5 million subscribers offering over 250 bills and statements from the mailers. Once a user signs up for an account at no cost, she has to find mailers and add the bills and statements, after which they can be viewed online, accessed from anywhere, and paid using a Visa card, pre-authorized debit and by linking a bank account with epost. Payments can be made using online banking websites or through epost website by credit cards or by electronic fund transfer. Once payment option has been selected, it takes just a few clicks to complete payment every time a bill arrives.

Reminders can be set for scheduling payments in order to avoid late fees. The service also enables viewing the payments calendar showing which bill is due in the coming month and the total amount owing, in order to enable better financial planning ahead. The calendar is found on every page for quick and convenient access. The layout is user-friendly and well organized, providing the users with organized filing cabinets with color coded folders accessible directly from the inbox. New folders can also be added to the cabinet with ease and bills can be sorted and printed. Every user is provided space to store bills and statements for up to 7 years. The reason is that Canada Revenue Agency recommends storage of the documents for six years. So, this would clear the paper bill clutter from your home and will free you of the responsibility of storing these documents.

The corporation has also partnered with a few banks in Canada which enables users to access epost from their bank. The list of banks and the names of the services are listed here. Apart from storing bills and statements, the service also allows users to store other important documents such as wills, insurance documents, photos, certificates, etc. in the online vault. There is also a newsstand powered by Zinio, which enables access to popular magazines and newspapers.

In order to attract the residents, they are offering a chance to win monthly prizes of $1000 to subscribers who have added at least two bills or statements to their epost account.

Jan 302014

By Mohammed Waseem

Venturing into bill payment services is one way for money transfer companies to diversify. Most companies are probably forced to keep up with the technology in order to keep their customers feeling that they are ahead of others. Customers are the primary focus for every business because the businesses exists because of them.

Many money transfer companies have introduced bill payment and have launched mobile apps. A few have launched mobile wallets for mobile money transfer, and a few have also introduced prepaid cards of their own.

MoneyGram, which is among the leading money payment services, also has a bill payment service. Like money transfer, they have bill payment service at any agent location or online. Apart from these, payments can also be made with cash at Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, Albertsons and Advance America. The number of retail locations for cash payment is over 35,000.

MoneyGram Bill PayA wide range of bills are accepted for payment by MoneyGram which include auto loans, rent, cable, phone, insurance and credit cards. Their fee starts at $1.49 and they offer same day, next day and 2-3 day services. Of course, they charge higher for same day payments; this can be used in order to avoid penalties for late payments. Notification for payment is received within 10 minutes for same day payments and accordingly for next day and 2-3 day payments.

Payments at an agent location requires that the customer gives the receive code for that biller and their account number. Card swipe facility is also available at select locations.

Bill Payment can also be made online at any time on MoneyGram website. Not all billers are available for online payment. The customer has to visit this link and enter the biller’s receive code and their account number. Payment is done using credit/debit cards. MoneyGram also offers bill payment solutions to businesses, which includes both in-person and online payments.

Just like their money transfer services, their bill payment service is convenient and accurate and their customer service is also quite good. So next time you look for options to pay your bills conveniently, you could consider MoneyGram as one.

Jan 272014

By Mohammed Waseem

Bill payment services have been in a race to make the lives of their users easier and convenient. There is one company which offers highly convenient bill payment service which is preferred by many Americans; it is Manilla.

Manilla focuses on paperless bill management. They intend to eliminate paper bills and to help migrate bill delivery and payment over to the online, paperless platform. Few companies have started online bill delivery and payment service. Manilla being one of them has been adopted by many Americans.

Manilla Bills Calendar

Manilla Bills Calendar

Migration of bill delivery and payment will take time as a few people still prefer paper bills which they receive by mail. However, even these people can use online payment services for payment and for storing their bills online. Perhaps with time, they will be used to e-bills and paper bills will be eliminated. They say that after having received so many bills, paying bills online or by mobile phone is often a separate transaction which is inconvenient.

Manilla addresses just that concern. With Manilla, anyone can sign up and have all their bills organized and stored in one place. Paid bills are kept in the archive to be accessed anytime and deleted as needed, and new bills are added when they are received by email. They also have a reminder feature which lets the user know when bills are due so that payment can be made on time. Reminders are received when they are due in order to avoid fines; they can be received by email or SMS as the user chooses and whenever the user logs in, all due bills are shown, apart from the dedicated reminders dashboard. Manilla also helps the user manage expenses and avoid overspending.

Bills can also be shared with family and friends in order to manage expenses together with shared account summaries and details. Nearly 3500 national and regional billers have already been added to the biller list. But if one does not find their biller they can always add custom accounts that Manilla doesn’t support, so much so that an account for babysitter, dog walker, etc. can be set up for payment. In addition to bill payment, Manilla is offering $5 for every referral users make.

Manilla has 4 types of accounts which can be accessed and managed from the online account manager. Household accounts for managing all household bill payments including phone, utility, internet, etc., Financial accounts for credit cards and other financial services, Subscriptions for magazines, newspapers, etc., and Loyalty Programs with various service providers. They have also partnered with AOL for the AOL Bill Manager.

Manilla mobile apps are available for download on Android, iOS and Kindle Fire. There is another company called Doxo which offers similar services. I have discussed about it in my previous post.

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.

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