January 16, 2008

Financial News from NRF - Bill Pay Walk-In Services

Let's try and sort this one out -- Fiserv is now offering CheckFreePay Walk-In Bill Payment Service via Ready Credit Corporation. This is on ReadySTATION kiosk in the Supervalu network and they utilize the NCR EasyPoint. The kiosks currently allow users to buy prepaid MasterCard-branded "ReadyCards" now.

And worth noting the coincident development with TIO Networks and their deal with IPP to process walk-in kiosk billpay at IPP walk-in locations. The service will not use kiosks or clerk-assisted devices which could cut costs and increase transaction volume (always a good thing).


Ready Credit And CheckFree Get Set to Offer Kiosk-Based Bill Pay

(January 15, 2008) Kiosk-based electronic bill payments got another boost this week when processor Fiserv Inc.’s CheckFreePay walk-in bill-pay unit announced a deal with Ready Credit Corp. that will make bill-pay services available to consumers using cash at Ready Credit’s 55 ReadyStation self-service kiosks by early spring.

The kiosks, which already allow consumers to buy prepaid, MasterCard-branded ReadyCards, are deployed in SuperValu Inc. grocery stores, Dollar Tree Stores Inc. locations in Atlanta and Houston, Save-A-Lot grocery stores in Milwaukee, and some convenience stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and El Paso, Texas. The bill-pay service is aimed mostly at cash-reliant consumers who don’t have traditional bank accounts and will help generate foot traffic for the host retailers, Michelle Schuleman, vice president of marketing at Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Ready Credit, said in a release.

More consumers are getting comfortable with payment technology but may still want to use a walk-in bill-pay service to pay telephone, utility, or other bills without interacting with a clerk, according to Paul Harrison, senior vice president and general manager of CheckFreePay. “Having the capability for someone to pay their bill is really just another extension of what CheckFreePay does in their biller unit,” Harrison tells Digital Transactions News. CheckFreePay has a network of 11,000 agents that offer walk-in bill-payment services.

The ReadyStation service currently has two pricing points—standard processing in three business days for $1.50, and next-business-day posting for $2.50. Expedited, or same-day posting, will be added later, according to Harrison. CheckFreePay will facilitate that service by using the direct connections it has with 140 authorized billers. The company has hundreds of so-called non-contracted billers to which it transmits payments, but it wouldn’t disclose the exact number.

Harrison also says the service has a “unique capability” of enabling users to pay U.S. Visa and MasterCard issuers by simply typing their card number into the kiosk rather than trying to find the issuer’s name by sorting through a listing of thousands of banks and credit unions. The ReadyStations run on NCR Corp.’s EasyPoint Xpress kiosk platform and use CheckFreePay Link software to transmit encrypted payment information.

CheckFreePay and Ready Credit announced the initiative Monday at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York City. The deal represents first major bill-pay initiative by Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv since the bank processor bought CheckFreePay’s parent company, Atlanta-based CheckFree Corp., early last month. “We think this is a good start,” says Harrison. But he adds while he has nothing to report at the moment, he says the Ready Credit contract is non-exclusive, which means CheckFreePay could seek similar deals with other kiosk deployers.

Monday’s announcement also represents the second major development in the walk-in kiosk bill-pay market in less than two months. TIO Networks Corp. recently struck a deal with IPP of America Inc. to process bill payments at IPP walk-in locations. For the first time, TIO will be handling transactions on its network without the need to install kiosks or clerk-assisted devices, a move the company says cuts its costs and could greatly boost its transaction volume (Digital Transactions News, Dec. 4 and Nov. 29, 2007).

Posted by staff at January 16, 2008 07:25 AM