All Bills, All the Time, On Line

Friday Sep 1st 2000 by SmallBusinessComputing Staff
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What if they threw a financial revolution and nobody came? There's no point in paying some of your bills on line when most of the world isn't ready to receive them. Now a few companies are offering to take care of it all ­ whether a bill arrives electronically from Mega Phone Co. or via snail mail from the local print shop.

by Jamie McAfee

What if they threw a financial revolution and nobody came? There's no point in paying some of your bills on line when most of the world isn't ready to receive them. Now a few companies are offering to take care of it all ­ whether a bill arrives electronically from Mega Phone Co. or via snail mail from the local print shop.

These companies, including startups Paytrust.com and Cyberbills, will arrange with all of a customer's billers to have invoices delivered in any available format. If it's a paper bill, then the service will sort, open, and scan it into an electronic format. If it comes electronically, the information is simply posted on a password-protected, encrypted Web site, and the customer can see how much is due and when.

"You go there, log in and all your bills are summarized in a very nice matrix by line item," says Bob Murphy, vice president of marketing for Cyberbills. The service pays the bill once it receives customer authorization. "The customer decides if they're going to pay it, how much they're going to pay, and when they would like it paid," says Paytrust CEO, Ed McLaughlin.

Outsourcing bills may sound appealing, but security concerns loom large when it comes to anything money related. According to the services, businesses needn't worry. Employees are rigorously screened and bonded. "Our processing center is run by ex-lock box managers, so we have folks who are used to handling money and important documents," McLaughlin says.

But of course, there's always the chance that something could go awry. Cyberbills guarantees a quick fix and compensation if a mistake occurs under its watch. Paytrust offers Travelers Safe Web Insurance, which insures each account up to $100,000 if there's ever an incident.

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