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Salesforce Industries Summit

Online Payment Service Aims to Streamline Bill Paying Process

By Mary Hillebrand
Jul 19, 1999 12:00 AM PT

Does spending less time worrying about bills translate to more time to spend on spending? PayMyBills.com hopes so, as it introduces its new service to take the worry out of monthly bill payments. PayMyBills.com has launched a new online personal bill management service, allowing consumers to securely view and pay all their bills via the Internet.

Online Payment Service Aims to Streamline Bill Paying Process

The service essentially concentrates all of a person's bill-related tasks with one company that uses computers to keep track of the bills and pay them. The service hinges on the consumer's willingness to trust the Internet, and a relatively unknown third party, with personal information describing the consumer's consumption habits. As overall Internet privacy and secure transactions continue to top the average computer user's list of online concerns, it remains to be seen how quickly a service like PayMyBills.com will catch on.

How It Works

PayMyBills.com requires consumers to take a first step that may not be easy to undo: The users must instruct their creditors and service providers to start sending their bills to PayMyBills.com instead of to a user's home or office. Given the time it takes to get the typical local utility company to change billing information, this step may not be quickly reversible if the customer decides to drop the PayMyBills program.

When PayMyBills.com receives the bills, it will notify the customers via e-mail. Customers then log on to their account at PayMyBills.com, view the bills and issue instructions on when and how much to pay. PayMyBills.com then debits the appropriate amount of money from the customer's bank account to make the payments. Customers can also automate payments, eliminating the need to look at a particular bill each month and authorize payment.

Security Questions Answered

PayMyBills.com provides SafeWeb Remote Banking Insurance from Travelers Property Casualty Co. to its online customers. The insurance will offer protection against unauthorized online transactions and is included at no additional charge with every PayMyBills.com subscription. Each customer is protected up to $100,000 per loss.

The PayMyBills service is $9.95 per month for up to 15 payment transactions. Additional transactions are 50 cents each. Despite these fees, the company is touting PayMyBills.com as both a money-saver and a time-saver. PayMyBills.com takes care of all payments electronically, ending the customer's need to worry about stamps, envelopes, paper checks and late fees. The service cuts a household's time spent on bills from three hours per month to a few minutes. It also means customers do not have to file bill stubs anymore, since PayMyBills.com will store electronic copies for up to eight years.

Random Acts of Kindness

In case making the average consumer's life easier is not enough kindness, PayMyBills.com is turning its new service into a Good Samaritan enterprise too. Under a program called "Pennies From Heaven," the company will randomly select customers each month to have one of their bills paid for them. PayMyBills.com will notify the customer via e-mail that the bill has arrived but has also been paid. The Pasadena, California, company is a private, venture capital-backed company with idealab! and idealab Capital Partners behind it.


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