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Ask HN: Validate my bill collection system idea
4 points by yashchandra on June 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments
So I have this idea based on my own pain points. Basically, we all have to pay bills including utility, insurance, mortgage, car payments etc. Some companies have their own online payment website where consumers create their details, bank information etc and then through ACH or credit card, payments are deducted. For example, I pay my comcast bill through their website, PSEG (utility) through their own website etc. What if there is a single website which does the following: 1. Business (such as utility,cable etc.) can sign-up. They get a specific domain like mybusinessname.thebillingwebsite.com 2. Business can then just enter their customer information 3. The customers automatically receive a unique URL where they can go and input their details including payment preference (say pay by bank or credit card). They can see the balances etc and payment history. easy to export/report etc. 3. The website collects the payment from the consumers (through Stipe etc. or its own bank account?)

Comments/criticism/ideas welcome. 4. The website then transfers the amounts to the business'es bank account on a monthly basis etc.

Problems solved by this idea; - small businesses do not need to build their own payment collection website. In fact, if they depend on their customers sending them checks etc, no need for that - Consumers who are paying bills can find an easy integrated platform and manage their bills in one place (if most businesses sign up for this)

Interesting idea. This would definitely ease the burden on consumers once you got many of the major companies that everyone pays bills to onboard. The only problem I think you might have is something similar to what Mint.com and other similar sites have had to overcome, which is getting companies and consumers to trust you with their sensitive information. You would have to offer a distinct value to the companies to get them onboard, otherwise why would they use your site instead of what they've already spent money on to get their own site up and running? If you can clarify that value proposition for them, I think it's a viable idea.

Thanks for your feedback. Yes the challenges is getting businesses to trust this platform, being PCI compliant etc. But as a consumer, I would love something like this. I am sometimes surprised at the horrible bill payment systems that some of these guys have. For example, I once bought diamond ring for my wife (fiance at that time:) and used some special offer through a bank with 0% interest etc. Their bill payment system: only a phone call and paper statements. This was 2010. Just to check my balance, I had to call them everytime. Only way I know that they got my payment was to check my bank account and the check cashing.

Very true. Best of luck.

I would definitely be interested in this as a consumer, as the typical Utility's payment site is painful.

If you push forward on this, please include the abliity to pay my town which handles water and trash, and I think that is quite common (at least in the US). Perhaps it would be best to offer small cities an easy way to get setup on your site. Also, my town likes to include adverts for local upcoming events (10k runs, street fairs, etc), so maybe include the ability for cities to show this kind of info easily.


Interesting perspective. what about smaller companies who may not have such a deeply embedded legacy system?

Great idea, and there are lots of people working on this. Our startup is working on this on a larger scale, and there's a great looking French company https://greenbureau.fr/ that's doing much of what you're talking about.

Tough as hell to get to scale, brilliant once it's scaled.

Thanks for sharing this.

I'm making my version of this now and hopefully launching soon to some feedback, feel free to email me questions thoughts etc.

check it out here: http://cloudbill.com

In the UK the banks have instituted Direct Debit, where the gas company gets me to agree electronically and then they submit a request to my bank monthly for a variable amount -it works smoothly and pretty much every business uses it for recurring charges. It's ubiquitous. No idea why the us banks have never done it. You might want to look at why.

How about using your banks bill pay service for FREE. All I have to do is enter the account information of business, credit card or utility bills. Then just enter the amount and click pay. It is single point to pay any number of bills.

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