MasterCard Worldwide June 8 announced the launch of a free online bill-pay service prepaid debit card issuers and program managers may offer to their cardholders. The card company is partnering with Aliawire Inc., a payment processor that has developed an electronic bill-payment product specifically designed for prepaid cardholders.

The service, called PayVox, enables prepaid cardholders to pay billers in the same fashion as online-banking users. Cardholders access the bill-pay service through a website the issuer or prepaid card provider operates. Consumers may use the service to schedule and track payments and set reminders for upcoming due dates to help avoid late payments.

Cardholders also have the option to pay by phone using a voice system that recognizes English and Spanish.

PayVox “makes the prepaid card a more useful tool for the underbanked consumers who use it as their primary card,” Hoss Mohsenzadeh, Aliaswire CEO, tells PaymentsSource.

MasterCard officials were unavailable for comment.

Cardholders using PayVox have access to more than 6,000 billers, including utility and mobile-phone companies. The system also allows same-day payment for a fee determined by the individual biller, according to Mohsenzadeh.

Some 40% to 60% of users pay bills online, while the remaining prefer to pay by phone, according to Aliaswire’s own internal research. “It really varies by the age demographic using the service,” Mohsenzadeh says.

Several financial institutions, including Pasadena, Calif.-based East West Bancorp, have offered access to the PayVox system to their customers.

 

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