BNY Mellon and Citi make bill paying easier

To ease customer bill payments, BNY Mellon and Citi have collaborated with telecoms firm Verizon to send request-for-payment messages to consumers who bank with Citi.

When using BNY Mellon's new Real-Time E-Bills and Payments functionality, Verizon customers with Citibank accounts can pay their bills immediately at any time, enjoying greater control over their finances and helping to avoid overdraft fees.

Additionally, Verizon customers who bank at Citi can use Citibank Online to schedule the payment to be made at a specified date and time in the future, such as on their next recurring pay day or as an on-demand payout from a platform supporting a supplementary income stream, such as a ride-hailing or food delivery app.

Verizon's use of BNY Mellon's Real-Time E-Bills and Payments functionality presents a “major enhancement” over setting up standing payment instructions across the ACH network, said the partners, as automated payments can encounter insufficient fund balances, generating overdraft fees and other expenses - “adding undue frustration to consumers and creating exception scenarios for billers”.

Unlike an ACH transaction or a paper check, Real-Time E-Bills and Payments are immediate and fully controlled by the consumer, who can authorise and schedule each payment to who they want to pay, when they want.

The secure payment also provides the consumer with full transparency, including the ability to receive an instant acknowledgement confirming that a monthly obligation has been satisfied.

This eliminates uncertainty around when funds will be debited from a consumer's account and avoids the interchange fees charged for credit and debit card payments.

While real-time payments were previously available for bank-to-bank transactions for large organisations, this is the first “at-scale use” of the technology in production with retail customers, the partners added.

“While setting up automatic bill payments is convenient for many customers, living with weekly budgets or irregular income streams can be a challenge,” said Kate Luft, head of retail US segments and products at Citi.

“This new system gives people greater control to pay the bills they want to pay precisely and when they want to pay them. We look forward to expanding this programme.”

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