Western Union Financial Services, Inc . today announced that it now offers an e-Billing option through an agreement with Striata, a provider of integrated electronic payment and bill presentment solutions. The e-Billing option eliminates steps previously used when paying a bill online and reduces the time consumers spend paying their bills.
Using a convenient process that takes less than two minutes, consumers can receive their bill via e-mail and can make a payment directly from the e-mailed bill, without having to register and log in to a Web site or pay postage charges. Payments can be made at any time, even at the last minute. The biller receives confirmation that the bill was delivered to the consumer and is informed when the bill is opened and when it is paid.
This solution gives billers an alternative to current online bill-pay methods and significantly reduces costs associated with printing and posting monthly, quarterly and annual bills as well as improves the management of payments, customer service and efficiency. This option provides billers with an e-mail bill presentment alternative to help build adoption of online bill payment.
"We have received many requests from billers, particularly those in the utilities industry, to offer an e-Billing option that is quick and convenient for consumers and easy to implement," said Royal Cole, senior vice president, Western Union Payment Services. "Teaming with Striata allows Western Union to offer instant bill presentment and payment with significant cost savings to billers, while providing consumers with greater choice and convenience when paying their bills."
"By providing billers with technology to improve efficiencies, Striata has established itself as a leader in innovation in the electronic billing industry," said Garin Toren, chief operating officer, Striata. "Working with another leader in innovation such as Western Union, Striata can continue to offer billers an instant ROI by reducing billing costs by up to 80 percent, greatly enhancing customer convenience and service, and providing a dynamic, personalized and flexible marketing channel."
About Western Union and First Data
How it works:
- Billers will collect consumer's e-mail information at every customer touch point such as signing up for new service, change of address, a call into customer service or through the biller's Web site.
- In the next billing cycle, the biller delivers a replica of the consumer's current paper bill to the consumer via a secure e-mail.
- To ensure their security, consumers will be asked to answer a question that they already know the answer to, such as their zip code or home phone number. Entering this information opens the bill in the consumer's e-mail inbox.
- In the payment section of the e-mail, the consumer will complete a few short payment fields. With the click of a button, the information is sent directly to a secure server.
- The entire process of viewing and paying the eBill takes the consumer less than two minutes. Payment receipt is instant and confirmed via e-mail. After the consumer enters payment information once, they can make subsequent payments with just a click.
- Once the biller has confirmation that the consumer is opening and using the e-mail bill, the biller has two options:
- Opt-in: Ask the consumer if the paper bill can be turned off.
- Opt-out: Turn of the paper bill automatically after a certain period of time and give the consumer the option to turn it back on if they desire to do so.
First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide. Serving 4.6 million merchant locations, 1,500 financial institutions and millions of consumers, First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses around the world to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. The company's portfolio of services and solutions includes credit, debit, private-label, gift and other prepaid card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; money transfer services; money orders; fraud protection and authentication solutions; check guarantee and verification services through TeleCheck; as well as Internet commerce and mobile solutions. Western Union, together with Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, make up one of the world's largest money transfer networks with more than 271,000 Agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories. The company's STAR Network offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at 1.9 million ATM and retail locations. For more information, visit www.firstdata.com.