There are lots of options when it comes to choosing an online bill pay service provider. However, one thing we can say with certainty is that not all online bill pay systems are created alike. Most banks (at least the large ones) provide online bill pay for free because research has shown that banking customers who use online bill pay don't switch banks very often, and they tend to buy more banking services than do customers who don't use online bill pay. Inside the corporate offices of the banks, they refer to online bill pay as being a "sticky application". "Sticky" in terms of meaning that it helps them keep their online bill pay users as long term bank customers.
We think it's useful for you to understand what you are getting into when you sign up to pay your bills online. That's why we provide reviews of online bill pay providers like MyCheckFree.com, Bank of America Bill Pay, and Billeo.
Electronic billing enables billers to create and distribute digital bills to their customers instead of printing and mailing out paper bills. The obvious advantage of e-bill from a biller perspective is related to cost, especially as postal delivery fees continue to rise.
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The majority of major banks and financial institutions in the United States today offer bill pay services to their customers. Most banks choose to out-source their bill pay applications to 3rd party providers.
These 3rd party providers establish and maintain electronic connections to the major billers in the country, and utilize the ACH system to deliver the payer’s money to the recipient biller. While many billers will accept credit cards for bill payments on their own web sites, these same billers are less likely to accept credit cards when bills are paid through banking web sites. This is primarily due to the fact that ACH payments are very inexpensive to the biller, whereas credit card payments can be comparatively quite expensive due to the associated credit card interchange costs.
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Google launched an online retail payment offering in June, 2007, targeted at Google AdWords customers. Prior to launch, there was much industry buzz around Google entering the payment marketplace, and a belief that Google was going after PayPal’s core business of enabling payments for online auctions.
In fact, their motivation seems different than what was first suspected. What Google really seems to be up to is selling more advertising to its AdWords clients.
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PayPal used to be simply a payment settlement option for Ebay online auctions. Now, though, it's evolved well beyond that point - these days, more and more small business merchants are using PayPal to accept credit cards from PayPal’s vast network of subscribers. After reading the overview, you can get more specifics on what is involved in signing up for a PayPal account and using it for auction buying and selling at PayPal for Auctions.
more on How PayPal works
Credit card associations create and enforce member governing rules, provide and manage authorization and settlement networks, monitor fraud and enable effective fraud controls, and mass market the card association brand.
These credit card associations can be either closed loop networks or open loop networks. In an open loop card network, the association depends upon financial institutions for the card issuing role and the merchant acquiring role. VISA and MasterCard are open loop associations, and their cards are branded by the issuing financial institution, who then markets the card to the consumer (CitiBank VISA, Chase Freedom MasterCard).
more on how credit and debit cards work
A financial institution service offering that is growing in popularity and adoption is called remote deposit capture, or RDC. Remote deposit capture enables a small business to attach a relatively inexpensive check scanning device to a personal computer and to use the scanner to make electronic deposits of checks and money orders to their bank. Remote deposit capture is intended to save the small business manager frequent trips to the bank and to save the bank time and money in terms of the effort involved to process and credit deposits.
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Automatic debit, or auto debit, is a payment method where the paying entity authorizes the biller to automatically withdraw funds from their checking account or credit card account on some regular basis.
The pre-authorization process usually involves having the payer fill out and mail in a paper form indicating their desire to allow the auto debit by the biller, and the biller typically will require that the payer attach a voided check to the authorization form. The voided check is used to verify that the person requesting the auto debit is the actual holder of the account, and it’s also used to avoid keying errors that can be encountered when the payer manually enters the check information from the MICR line.
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