Manilla, which allows consumers to manage bills and subscriptions from an online hub, has an indirect connection to the payments world, but its most recent financial-institution partnership strengthens its relevance to the industry.
Most recently, Alliance Data became a Manilla partner, joining earlier companies like Citigroup and Fifth Third Bancorp in using Manilla’s service to interact with the consumers they bill.
Consumers who use Manilla can see all their due bills, travel reward programs and financial institution information at one site. Where Manilla differs from personal financial management sites is its focus on bill reminders and magazine renewals, whereas PFM sites are typically focused on reducing debt and building savings.
Manilla offers financial companies and other clients the ability to display digital ads on the e-statements consumers view at the site. Manilla, which is backed by the publisher Hearst Corp., also earns a fee when consumers switch off paper bills with a Manilla client.
Alliance Data, which offers private-label and co-brand credit card programs, says Manilla can improve the micro-targeting of its clients’ marketing to cardholders.
The partnership with Manilla fits Alliance Data’s strategy of “being where the cardholder’s shopping,” says Brian Billingsley, Alliance Data’s director of strategic business development.
“Not 100% of our cardholders want to come to our biller-direct site every time,” says Billingsley. “The product Manilla brings to the table extends our clients’ brands to the Web, offers a lot of value, allowing them to see all their rewards and credit cards, insurance, etc. in one spot.”
Alliance Data has seen an uptick in cardholders’ visits and engagement since working with Manilla, Billingsley says, though he would not provide specific numbers.
Manilla says 30% of user visits to a Manilla partner-branded page result in click-through to the partner site and 62% of Manilla users find it easier to visit a partner site after joining Manilla.
At Manilla, the goal is to increase cardholders’ engagement with the brand or financial institution, thereby increasing the frequency of their visits to the site, says Jim Schinella, chief operating officer of Manilla.
By contrast, consumers who sign up to pay bills at a bank site tend to set up bills for autopay, he says.
Schinella says his company is not just an aggregator of accounts.
“Aggregation services, by and large, what they tend to do is to monetize the audience that they aggregate and the way they do that is they sell advertising, which results in a lot of churn, a lot of switching,” he says. “We’re not aggregating to get them into a different payment product. What we’re about is, ‘How do we get the customer to engage with the bank?’ ”